Yes, it’s true: during a visit to the Baltimore Boat Show this weekend we watched a man wrestling with a 200 pound alligator. You might wonder what an alligator was doing in the Baltimore convention center, and what wrestling it has to do with recreational boating. We certainly did. But when we heard the whooping and hollering from the far corner of the convention center and followed the ruckus, the reason became obvious: Swampmaster Jeff Quattrocchi and his “friend” had attracted a huge crowd, and his show was an instant hit.

alligator wrestling at baltimore boat show

You don't believe it? Just check out the arches and signs in the background - there really was a guy wrestling an alligator at the Baltimore Boat Show.

A couple hundred fellow boat show attendees (including me) watched as Swampmaster Jeff wrestled with his gator, performed some gasp-inducing gator-handling tricks, then produced a two year old baby gator (with its jaws banded closed) which kids could pet and hold. All in all, it was a fantastic show—and a great addition to the 250-plus boats on display.

What about the rest of the boat show? Hey people, we just got back from the Miami Boat Show and while some of us have a soft spot for Charm City (this is my home town, and I've been to virtually every Baltimore Boat show going back to the early 70s), it just can’t compare with the thousands of hulls on display farther south, just a few weeks ago. Still, it was nice to spot the presence of several hot new boats like Bayliner’s Element runabout and Boston Whalers’ award-winning Vantage 230 this far north.

And besides, there was one thing the Baltimore show had to offer which was MIA in Miami: an on-site grudge match with a real-live gator.