Recent Second Half Expo Brings Resources Together For Seniors in Oklahoma

Story and photos by Van Mitchell, staff writer

Bob Loudermilk and his wife, Denise, moved from Wichita, Kan. to Edmond in 2016 so they could be closer to family in Oklahoma.
Loudermilk, who was previously in the trade-show business, sold his business before moving to the Sooner State. He soon began researching and exploring opportunities to work with the senior population in Oklahoma.
The end result was the creation of the Second Half Expo which just concluded their third annual event on Oct. 21, 2023 at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, 1700 NE 63rd St, Oklahoma City.
The 2024 Second Half Expo is scheduled for Oct. 19 at the same location.
The Expo is tailored to people who are in the “second half” of their lives who are looking to connect with the resources needed to live the way that they have always imagined. Up to 130 of Oklahoma’s businesses are present at each expo, providing education and demonstrations of the products and services that are available for the 50+ generation.
Loudermilk said each expo attracts up to 1,500 seniors, and that they plan to continue making each year bigger and better.
“We had to push on it three times because of Covid, the first one,” Loudermilk said. “It was a big success, lots of wonderful feedback. This year was another success we’re very grateful for.”
Loudermilk said he wanted to put his business background to use helping Oklahoma seniors.
“With my background in trade shows, I started looking at this 50+ demographic and retirees,” he said. “The deeper I went, the more I saw an opportunity, because we have 10,000 Baby Boomers turning 65 every day in America. And, that spells challenges for our retirement system economy, but it also really spells opportunity.”
Loudermilk touched base with people that serve the 50+ community for more input.
“I began to meet people that cater to or serve the 50+ community,” he said. “We started having little forums to talk about what can be done, what is needed in the community to serve the people above 50. We concluded that a quality, annual event for seniors was needed so I teamed up with a local radio host and magazine publisher, and together we launched the Expo.”
Loudermilk said each Expo is loaded with fun and activities, including free educational seminars, food samples, drawings for prizes and music from some of Oklahoma’s best talent.
Second Half Expo is supported by knowledgeable experts in their fields of health, business, motivation, senior living, retirement planning and more to help you discover what’s next for you.
“For too long, the concept of aging has a negative connotation in the minds of some,” Loudermilk said. “Our mission is to change that outdated mindset. We firmly believe the senior years can be lived with dignity and purpose with the right guidance and resources. We’re (Second Half Expo) here to support seniors and the adult children of seniors who are honoring and assisting their aging parents. The whole idea is to give people above 50 and their families an opportunity, in one day, to explore and visit with organizations that are resources for them, education for them, products, services.”
Loudermilk said the Expo attracts seniors that are retired, and are looking at what services are available to them, as well as younger seniors not ready to retire yet.
“The other demographic within this is the younger people above 50, and they’re very active,” he said. “Some of them want to start a business. They’re looking at opportunities to travel, and we cater to that as well.”
Loudermilk said the 2023 Expo had an added chapter.
“This year we added something new that we’d never done,” he said. “We started what we call Second Half Heroes as a part of the expo, where people can go to our website and nominate someone that is above the age of 65. We select and celebrate someone each year that we feel will be an inspiration to others. Our Second Half Heroes are doing things. They’re very active and they serve the community in a way that is noteworthy.”
This year’s selected Second Half Hero, Jim Stewart, age 71, was honored at the recent expo. He is a leader in the non-profit sector and a board member of a foster care non-profit.
Stewart spent 20 years serving in prison ministry and he recently started Heroes In Waiting (501c3), to provide solutions and hope for the bullying and mental health crises among youth.
His Heroes In Waiting non-profit was awarded a $500 donation from the Second Half Expo, to celebrate his selection as their inaugural Second Half Hero.
Loudermilk said more exciting changes are coming in 2024.
“We’re also doing some additional things leading up to the next expo,” he said. “We have what we call Coffee Talks. Those will be monthly starting in January where people can come and be a part of the 50+ community. There’s usually an inspirational and/or educational speaker along with a free continental breakfast and coffee.”
Loudermilk said the annual Expo includes an added bonus as participants can visit the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum at no extra charge on the day of the event.
“The other idea was to give the seniors an opportunity free that day, not only to attend the expo, but also to tour the museum,” he said. “Everybody that attends, they get a free ticket to the museum. The expo closes at 1 p.m. and then they can spend the rest of the day exploring the museum.”
Loudermilk said he didn’t know what to expect after putting on the initial Second Half Expo.
“I had no idea what to expect when we started. The first year was challenging and we had to postpone three times due to the pandemic. But our wonderful exhibitors stayed with us and fully supported our inaugural event, which was highly successful.”
Loudermilk credits God for giving him guidance for the Second Half Expo.
“I give the Lord credit for what He’s done through this,” Loudermilk said. “I’m extremely pleased with what He has brought about and the ongoing opportunities we have to encourage and serve our seniors in Oklahoma.”
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