Indiana Boat, Sport, and Travel Show 2011 Review

Have you been looking for something to get you fired up for getting outdoors this year.  If so, I recommend the Indianapolis Boat, Sport and Travel Show. The Indianapolis Boat, Sport, and Travel show has always been a great time for me and my family. This year was no different, it was actually better than ever. The show was laid out different this year and it seemed to be expanded more than I have ever seen it in the past 10 years that I have been attending the show.

This year the show featured a lot of the same features as before, but it seemed that they changed up the layout off the booths and seminar arenas so that it was a bit easier to browse the show and check out all the great seminars they offer. There were new features like the expanded quiet sports section, the all-terrain vehicle section in tackle town, and the Indiana DNR booth was set up a lot different this year and they had a great bird of prey exhibit that featured a Bald Eagle, a Red Tailed Hawk and a Barn Owl. Those were just a few changes the show had made to make it a little better this year. I will get into more later in this review.

Deer, Turkey and Waterfowl Expo

The Deer, Turkey and Waterfowl Expo has always been one of my favorite areas of the show and we always enter there first to beat the crowds every year because it gets really busy and downright packed in there just a few hours after opening on Saturday, which is when we usually attend the show.

They did not change the Deer and Turkey expo much this year but the fairly new waterfowl area seemed to have a little more to it this year. We got in there about two hours early to take some video (which I will be posting on the site once I get it edited) of the quantity and vast variety of exhibitors at the show and I really got a chance then to take a look at who was all there. I found some new interesting products this year but that is another article all together. The show had a great turn out this year and I give it two big thumbs up, but it could be improved in one way. It really needs to be moved to a bigger area to allow for expansion of the show and to make it easier for visitors to browse the exhibitor’s booths. I believe for the past 10 years I have attended the size has been my only complaint about the show. It always has been a great show for hunters and I would recommend it to anyone, and I usually do, just get there early and plan on moving out when the crowds start picking up.

Boat Show

I only have one word for the boat show and that is “WOW”. When you walk into the boat pavilion there are boats as far as you can see, 5 acres to be exact. There are boats of every make and model and every style than you can imagine; they even have an antique boat motor display that is a big highlight to anyone interested in seeing how far technology has brought us.

My father went with me to the show this year like he does every year and he is into boating more than anyone I know so he spent most of his whole day in the boat pavilion all day just looking at new models and talking to boat dealers from all over Indiana. There are many great dealers there like Brownie’s Marine, Ted Aqua Marine, and Just add Water boats to name a few of them. We always like talking to these guys and seeing what the newest additions are.

If you are interested in buying or selling a boat I would definitely recommend going to the boat pavilion and checking it out. There are so many boats you might have to come back a second day just to check them all out. I truly believe you won’t be disappointed with what you find there.

TackleTown USA

If you’re itching for some fishing and you need something to get you by until it warms back up like me, or you’re looking for a place for the kids to have a good time casting a rod and catching trout, I recommend heading over to Tackle Town. There are so many things to check out; any fisherman or outdoorsman would find something there that interests them.

If you are like me, you probably enjoy checking out a brand new ATV or UTV. There were plenty of them to look at this year. The show added a new section in Tackle Town this year dedicate to 4 wheelers and UTVs. I even seen a 1000cc Can-Am four-wheeler there this year with about every feature you could think of. I believe before long ATV motors will be pushing more horsepower than a small truck.

If you have kids you should definitely take them over to tackle town and let them catch a trout or test there casting skills at the Kids Zone. I know my oldest daughter Addison would have loved it, but unfortunately this weekend my wife took the kids and went out of town to see family so she didn’t get to go this year. We will have plenty of fishing time this spring thought so she will be overloaded with fishing adventures.

Travel & Tourism

There was no shortage of tourism booths this year and I think there was something for everyone. There were exhibitors from all over the United States and Canada with a lot of great deals as well. It seems I would go from one booth convinced that was the place to go for my next fishing/hunting trip and then I would turn around and see something else that interested me, so I just grabbed up all the information I could (and believe me there was no shortage of information) so I could take it all home and discuss it with the family and debate over where we wanted to take our next trip.

Quiet Sports and Outdoor Living

If you enjoy non-motorized outdoor activities, then you need to head to the Quiet Sports & Outdoor Living Pavilion. It is THE place to be for the serious outdoor enthusiast that demands the highest quality in outdoor equipment and services.

There was no shortage of things to look at this year at the Quiet Sports Pavilion. It was expanded this year to bring you more to look at than ever. I have been going to the show for a long time now and was great to see that they expanded this section of the show.

One of the expanded features that caught my eye this year was the 180 ft. fly casting pond they added. They had some instructors from FlyMasters of Indianapolis there teaching people how to cast a fly line and get good placement with every cast. I didn’t get a chance to do it myself because of the line, but I did get to watch a few people trying it out and it looked like a great experience for someone who has never casted a fly line. Another new addition to the show this year was a kayak demonstration pool where you could test paddle a kayak around the pool.

RV Pavilion

If you are in the market for a new RV or camper there was no shortage of them at the show this year. I always enjoy looking at the luxuries of some of the more expensive RVs at the show as well as looking at some of the RVs and campers that are more around my price range. Even if you are not in the market for a new RV/camper you will surely have a great time checking all them out and with over 130,000 square ft. of space in the RV pavilion you will surely find something that really catches your eye.

Seminars

I sat through a couple of the seminars that the show hosted this year and the few that I attended were very informative. I believe the seminars are a valuable asset to the show and it seemed that they had more speakers than ever before.

The Deer, Turkey, and Waterfowl expo had 2 seminar stages and a dog demonstration area, and there was a seminar going every half hour so you could have spent all day just watching seminars in just the deer and turkey exp. I only had time for two of them throughout the day but I wish I could have sat through more of them. They were very informative and the speakers were very good and professional.

There was a stage in every pavilion this year so wherever you went you could sit in on some kind of seminar or show. I personally watched Hunting Public Land with Brandon Butler and Filming your hunt with Troy McCormick, both I thought were very educational and worth the time sitting there. It also offered a break from all the walking around you do at the show since there are so many things to se

The Indianapolis Boat, Sport, and Travel show is a great show for any outdoorsmen in Indiana and I would recommend it to anyone wanting to get out for a day or two. It’s a great family show or just a great show for you and your friends to check out.

I do believe that eventually they will have to expand into more buildings to accommodate the number of visitors and exhibitors that are there, my thoughts on this are the more the better. I believe next year I will be planning on going all three days of the first weekend of the show just so I have time to check out everything they have to offer.

 

Mike Whitaker

“Get Outside Indiana”