Fourth Wild Indiana Outdoor Expo sees Expansion

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Editors note: There has been considerable confusing regarding the WildIndiana (one word) brand and the Wild Indiana (two words) Outdoor Expo held in Kokomo in January. 

WildIndiana has been an established trademark for 15 years associated with this website and it’s related on-line and off-line products. The Wild Indiana Outdoor Expo is only a few years old and is not related in any way to or Signal 10 Media LLC.

However the world is a pretty large place and we know there is room for both to co-exist peacefully.  The Wild Indiana Outdoor Expo has developed a great reputation and we heartily encourage area residents to check out the show in January 13-14.

Even better, we like their choice of name….

There has been a long held belief those who possess a strong passion and respect for the outdoors are generally productive members in the communities they live. In Kokomo this is validated by those who devote countless hours and effort putting together one of the largest and most comprehensive outdoor shows in Indiana.

Before detailing this year’s greatly expanded program, thanks go to the board members who make this pleasurable community event possible. These include Angie and Aaron Hochstedler, Jim Parsons, Roby Ahnert, Dave Brammer, Jeff and Terri Rude, Henry Cavazos and Ty Kendall. Their only compensation is the satisfaction of helping provide a unique venue to be enjoyed by everyone.

Wild Indiana Outdoor Expo will take place January 13 and 14 at the spacious Kokomo Conference and Event Center. Doors open from 9AM to 8 PM Saturday and 9AM to 6 PM Sunday. Admission is $5.00, children under 12 free. Sponsors include Sherm’s Marine, WWKI, Erik’s, Financial Builders Credit Union, KECC, Brownies Marine, Kokomo Auto Museum, LaQuinta Inns, P. F Hendricks, North Central Outdoor Power, Hampton Inns and Greater Kokomo Convention and Visitors Bureau.

The show has now grown to include over 100 vendors filling the exhibit hall as well as the Kokomo Automotive Museum. A special Kids Zone has been added where children of all ages can take part in various activities including fishing for live rainbow trout. Representatives of the IDNR will be on hand as well as official deer scorers to measure your trophy buck.

From handmade bows to boats, kayaks to campers and everything in between, this year’s show promises to be the best ever.

Bass University Returns

Consider it an outdoor trifecta.  In addition to the many vendors, Wild Indiana will again host BASS University, the most comprehensive bass fishing program in the world. Classroom instruction will feature a dynamic lineup of new pros, fishing superstars and legends of the bass fishing world. BASS U is only offered at limited locations throughout the United States.

Participants can register for the two day event by going to The BASS University website and signing up. Cost for both days is $200 but tickets can also be purchased for individual days when selecting ticket options.

Six pros will host a total of 12 seminars presenting students with cutting edge fishing tactics, techniques and tackle. Because of the yearlong work by WI committee members Kokomo was fortunate in securing the biggest names in angling.

Mike “Ike” Iaconelli, one of the most intense and nationally recognized anglers will be in attendance January 13. In addition to his fishing accomplishments he is also a prominent TV personality. He is the only angler to have won the Bassmaster Classic, Bassmaster Angler of the Year and B.A.S.S National Championship.

Well known and sometimes humorous ambassador of our angling tradition Mark Zona will also be on hand to discuss his fishing strategies. His off the-wall-style has made him a fan favorite.

Hunter Education

An IDNR certified hunter education class will also be held during show. The free, 10 hour class is set for January 13 from 9A.M. to 3 P.M. and January 14 from noon to 4P.M.

Hunter Ed. is mandatory for anyone born after December 31, 1986 before purchasing a valid Indiana hunting license. The class will cover complete firearms safety, hunter ethics and responsibilities along with wildlife conservation. First aid, archery and tree stand safety will also be presented.

The IDNR Hunter Ed. is a one and done program. Once completed, graduates are certified for life. It is important to note that some other states require proof of successful completion of the hunter ed. program before purchasing a non-resident hunting license.

It’s been my experience the class is more suited for those above the age of 9. To receive a hunter ed. Certificate, students must score a minimum 70 percent correct on the 100-question final exam.

Students can register by going to the Indiana Department of Natural Resources website and clicking on the hunter ed. link. You can also contact Howard County Coordinator Denny Heaton at (765) 883-5033

The outdoor educational series will continue with presentations by highly respected and expert multi-paddler Garry Hill. He will enlighten those in attendance with a presentation on how to canoe and kayak while fishing local waters.

Professional crappie anglers Mike Bledsoe and Doug Sikora will take the stage and offer up techniques for catching slab sided crappies.

Show stopper Mark Booth and his birds of prey will also be on hand both days. His informative presentations are known throughout Indiana and captivate guests with his live birds of prey.

In case you are wondering how a small town like Kokomo can host such an all-inclusive outdoor show with some of our world’s top professionals. It was brought about through yearlong work by committee members who wanted to do their part showcasing everything outdoors and their community.

I want to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas.  See you at the show!




John Martino
Martino is a well-known outdoor writer throughout Indiana and has served as longtime outdoor columnist for the Kokomo Tribune newspaper. Martino has won numerous awards for both his writing and his service to youth, conservation and the community. He recently retired as Superintendent of Parks and Recreation for the City of Kokomo and now works as Ivy Tech Executive Director for Facilities for the Kokomo region.


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