Seth Feider, Minnesota Bassmaster Elite Series pro, sharing tips and techniques at last year's Wild Indiana Outdoor Expo.
Herald Photo/File
Seth Feider, Minnesota Bassmaster Elite Series pro, sharing tips and techniques at last year's Wild Indiana Outdoor Expo. Herald Photo/File

The Wild Indiana Outdoor Expo returns Jan. 13 and 14 at the Kokomo Event Center for the fourth year. 

Back again will be the popular Bass University and expanded Kid’s Zone.

“We’re wanting to get that next generation into the outdoors and away from the cell phones and video games and enjoy what God created. They’re the next generation to take care of these resources that we have. If they enjoy something, they’ll take care of it a little bit more,” said Aaron Hochstedler, Wild Indiana Outdoor committee member.

As the event gains in popularity, it continues to add more for guests to experience. For the second year, Bass University will be holding classes on Saturday and Sunday. To attend Bass University, registration and separate admission are required. 

“Bass University will have a classroom set up at the Event Center, separate from the show,” Hochstedler said. “They are about eight-hour classes, and they do hands-on and tips plus question and answer. It’s right around $100 a day. Last year, Bass University was here, and it was one of the biggest turnouts they had. They gladly jumped on board this year. They only hold about three events for Bass U. in the whole country, and we’re lucky enough to have one of them.”

For those not attending the classes, the fishing pros will do a meet and greet on the floor and a short talk on their area of expertise. Visitors can meet Mike Iaconelli, Scott Suggs, and Mark Zona on Saturday and John Crews, Randy Gaines, and Bill Lowen on Sunday.

“Usually, if you’re going to get this caliber of speakers, you have to go to Indianapolis and pay to park, entry fee at the door, too. We wanted to offer something. Everyone on our committee is a volunteer. We do this for the community,” said Hochstedler. “We’re wanting people to enjoy the outdoors like we love the outdoors. Everyone on the committee is a fisherman or a hunter. It’s just something that we like doing.”

At the popular Kid Zone, there will be two sections for fun. Tucked back in the Automotive Museum, there will be a trout pond manned by local high school fishing teams. Children can fish the trout pond for $3. A portion of the proceeds of the trout pond will be donated back to the fishing teams to help with their season. 

In the opposite corner of the pond, the Army is bringing their station that will have Xbox games and football and basketball games.

“For $5 you get to meet pros and hear them speak. Since part of the expo is being held in the Auto Museum, visitors will be able to tour part of it as well as part of the admission,” Hochstedler said. “Children 12 and under are free.”

Doors will open at 9 a.m. on Saturday and remain open until 8 p.m. They will reopen at 9 a.m. and close at 6 p.m. The event will feature vendors, speakers, and activities the whole family can enjoy.

The Wild Indiana Outdoor Expo is sponsored by Sherm’s Marine and WWKI. Additional sponsors making the event possible are Kokomo Event and Conference Center, Kokomo Automotive Museum, Greater Kokomo Visitor’s Bureau, Hampton Inn, La Quinta, B ‘n M Fishing, Eriks Chevrolet, Roby’s Bullseye, Hinkle Construction, Twin Ponds Tannery, P.F. Hendricks & Co., Browning’s Marine, Kahlo Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram, Ivy Tech, North Central Outdoor Power, and Howard County EMA. For more information, visit the Wild Indiana Expo Facebook page at facebook.com/wildindianaexpo.