Indy Show for Planners and Dreamers

The wild men of WildIndiana at the 2017 Ford Indianapolis Boat, Sport and Travel Show. (L-R) Michael Parks, Trent Marsh, Scott Weaver, Alan Garbers, Chadd Wheat, Don Cranfill, Brent Wheat. Not pictured- Shirley Neal

Most hunters dream about making a trip to Africa – a safari to hunt any number of strange, large, even dangerous animals. Africa is rife with hunting lore. Adventure, danger and an abundance of exotic game and breathtaking landscapes provide much of the appeal, while storied historical accounts from fascinating figures like Ernest Hemmingway and Theodore Roosevelt compound the attraction.

Most adventurers won’t go simply because they believe they lack the resources to make such an experience happen. In reality, the cost of an African safari can compare quite favorably to many North American big game hunts. In some cases, a hunting trip to Africa can actually be a traveling hunter’s best value. A seven-day plains-game-hunt for several species, for example, is often more affordable than an outfitted brown bear hunt, sheep hunt, or even an elk hunt.

Even if this is out of your price range, it’s fun to daydream about it and you can add color to those daydreams for the cost of a trip to Indianapolis. Head for “the boat show.”

Sure there are boats at the show, but since 1953 Indianapolis’ Renfro family has been helping make great outdoors experiences happen for families at what is formally called the Indianapolis Boat, Sport and Travel Show and a “sideshow” type of event called the Deer, Turkey and Waterfowl Expo. The main show, now partially sponsored by Ford, has been running since 1953, the DTW Expo has been a featured part of the show for 21 years.

One of the largest shows of its kind, the well-orchestrated expo routinely draws visitors from five states, and is fueled by aggressive regional marketing, extensive history and experience and a stable of high-quality exhibitors and presenters. The event is always kept fresh by adding and changing certain features each year such as this year’s installment offering an increased focus on African hunting opportunities.

“As the travel portion of our show has grown, we have seen a rapid increase in the number of African safari operators exhibiting with us,” says Renfro Productions’ president Kevin Renfro. “In 2018, we will have nine African safari outfitters represented, and for the first time ever we will host presentations to educate show visitors on what they should know and be prepared for as they consider or plan their first safari. For many, Africa is a once-in-a lifetime-trip and a major investment, so we want to do our part to ensure our show visitors have the best possible information while providing a forum to have all of their questions answered by the very experts who offer these incredible experiences.”

Legendary hunter, archery champion and television personality, Bill Epeards, will host and present this interesting and interactive seminar series. Exhibiting safari operators will participate in each scheduled, daily seminar, while contributing their firsthand knowledge and expertise. Topics of discussion will vary and will largely be driven by questions from the audience, but are certain to cover primary issues surrounding travel to Africa, necessary gear and what to pack, understanding the essentials for a successful hunt, the logistics involved in getting your trophy home, as well as the ins and outs – including costs, accommodations and other details – of specific hunting packages offered. Of course, all attending African safari operators will be available to meet with show-goers one-on-one at their booths throughout all four days of the Expo.

The “boat show” (way more than just boats) is scheduled for February 16 to 25th. Check out dozens of places to go and things to do closer to home than Africa. Outfitters and attractions from the Midwest as well as from the rest of the country and Canada will be in Indy to show you what they have to offer. The Deer, Turkey and Waterfowl Expo (way more than just Africa) portion of the show will specifically be the last four days of the show, February 22 to 25.

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