Wintertime highlight: Annual show has something for everyone


By Brandon Butler

The Ford 63rd Annual Indianapolis Boat, Sport & Travel Show is set to open Friday and runs through Feb. 26.

The event, which is dubbed as the largest of its kind in the country, takes place at the Indiana State Fairgrounds. With more than 700,000 square feet of exhibits and special features in six giant buildings, the “Sport Show” is sure to have something for everyone who enjoys spending time outdoors.

Manufacturers, retailers and service providers from the fishing, hunting, camping and boating industries will be on hand to introduce visitors to countless products and services. Acres of indoor facilities will be covered by recreational vehicles and watercraft.

And the aisles will be packed with your kind of people — outdoor people.

Many of the same old longtime exhibitors, like Reelfoot Lake’s Blue Bank Resort and Kentucky Lake’s The Moors will be back, but don’t think this is going to be the same old Sport Show.

According to a news release, “With private, local, state, national and even international travel professionals representing exciting destinations in 25 states and three countries, no matter what kind of travel experience you’re looking for — from wilderness lodges, houseboats and hunting and fishing resorts to beaches to fairways — you’ll be sure to find exceptional adventures at great prices at the Travel and Tourism Pavilion.”

In addition to exhibitors, the Sport Show boasts an impressive lineup of industry professionals set to take the stage to share tips and techniques that can hopefully help you become a better hunter or angler. Fishing industry celebrities scheduled to speak throughout the week include Hank Parker (Feb. 20 and 21), Ted Takasaki, Jacob Wheeler, Joe Thomas and dozens more.

Diehard hunters and anglers will be excited to know Tackle Town and the Deer, Turkey, and Waterfowl Expo are back again to rescue us all from the doldrums of winter.

This year marks the 20th Annual Indiana Deer, Turkey, and Waterfowl Expo, set to take place the first weekend of the Sport Show, Feb. 17 and 19. Catering exclusively to hunters, the expo features outfitters, manufacturers, and retailers marketing and selling direct to consumers.

This year’s speakers include Winchester Deadly Passion’s Melissa Bachman, Turkey Man TV’s Eddie Salter, Fear No Evil’s Chris Brackett, Karin and David Holder of Raised Hunting, Field Hudnall of Field Proven Calls, master hunter Fred Abbas, legendary archer Byron Ferguson and many more.

New this year to the Ask The Pros is the theme “Family Hunting Traditions,” featuring panelists who either grew up learning from their parents or are now actively teaching the next generation the value of the hunting tradition.

Ever since I was too young to cross the road without holding Grandpa’s hand, I have loved and looked forward to attending sport shows. Indianapolis has grown to be my favorite.

Wherever I may be around the country, if I mention the Renfros and their Indianapolis Boat, Sport, and Travel Expo, people usually know what I’m talking about. I think that’s a testament to the quality of the experience were lucky to have right here in Indiana.

There is quite a bit more going on at the show than I had room to detail here, so for all the information you need to plan your trip to the Sport Show, including prices, dates, and seminar schedules, visit

See you down the trail.

Brandon Butler writes an outdoors column for The Tribune. Send comments to