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Michael Atwood, host of Across Indiana and producers Jim Simmons and Aric Hartvig

A funny thing happened to Michael Atwood on the way to Patoka Lake 20 years ago. He was making a documentary when he realized that the rural heritage and quirky characters he met deserved a spotlight all their own. That idea begat The Rural Route, which became the show we all know as Across Indiana.

"We had a tiny crew and one beat-up van that we had to share with every other department," Mike remembers. But the show also had a motto, "The People, the Places and the Passions of our Hoosier State," and what it lacked in hardware it made up for in heart, winning the Emmy in only its second year.

The awards – and the heartfelt, though often quirky, stories – have kept on coming.
And along the way, the show uncovered prehistoric geodes in Millport, donned bubble-wrap underwear in Indianapolis, ate brain sandwiches in Evansville, listened to wise "Porch Talks" in Danville, trailed a tribe of little people in Anderson, barrel-rolled with human cannonballs in Peru, sat down on the job with an outhouse collection in Huntington and – in the show’s most legendary segment – climbed the highest point in Indiana (which, by the way, is as flat as a pancake!).

Mike and company have been joined by a cast of characters, hobbyists, tall-tale-tellers, artists, poets, collectors, musicians, curators, oddballs, re-enactors, cooks, saints and sinners – all drawn from your friends, neighbors, and people just like you.