This weekend, Kokomo will be the lucky home of Wild Indiana Outdoors, an expo designed to have something of interest to just about everyone — even if you’re interests include the great outdoors or not.
The two-day event will be 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 14, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 15, at the Kokomo Event & Conference Center, 1500 N. Reed Road. Admission is $5 at the door; children 10 and younger will be admitted free.
This year’s special guest speakers are nationally recognized professional tournament anglers Kevin VanDam and Mike Iaconelli. If you’re somehow not familiar, both have earned distinction among the world’s most well-known, prominent anglers. Your $5 admission will gain you access to the guest speakers as well as meet and greets with other professional anglers who are scheduled to appear at the event.
Also this year the annual event was able to snag a major win — it will host Bass University, the most comprehensive bass fishing program in the nation. Held only at limited locations throughout the United States, the program includes classroom instruction featuring a dynamic lineup of new pros, fishing superstars and legends of the bass fishing world. In addition to VanDam and Iaconelli, other professional bass anglers scheduled to be in attendance include Mike McClelland, Bryan Thrift, Seth Feider and Bill Lowan.
To register for the Bass Univeristy, visit www.thebassuniversity.com website. Six pros will host a total of 12 seminars presenting students with an education on cutting edge fishing techniques, tactics, and tackle.
A hunter education class certified by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources will also be offered during this year’s event. The 10-hour class is set for 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Jan. 14 and from noon to 4 p.m. Jan. 15.
Hunter education certification is mandatory for anyone born after Dec. 31, 1986, to purchase a valid Indiana hunting license. The class covers complete firearms safety, hunter ethics, wildlife identification and conservation, tree stand safety, archery and first aid, among other subjects. To sign up for this class, visit the IDNR web page at https://in.gov/dnr/ and click on the hunter and trapper education link on the Hunting and Trapping link.
Renowned raptor expert Mark Loring Booth, of Indianapolis, owner of Take Flight!, will bring his much-celebrated birds of prey program on both days. Expert paddler Garry Hill will talk about paddling and fishing the Wildcat Creek and other mid-central Indiana streams and rivers on Jan. 14. Nationally recognized crappie anglers Mike Bledsoe Doug Sikora will also take the stage on Jan. 15 and explain their secrets to catching slab-sided crappies.
Along with many hunting, fishing and camping specialists, exhibitors will be showing products and services for boating, bicycling, canoeing and kayaking, campfire cooking, skydiving and more. Other vendors include people who offer custom-made knives, fabricate fishing rods and artificial lures … “anything related to the outdoors.”
The Greater Kokomo Visitors Bureau is a sponsor of the event.