Bass Pro Shops

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Bass Pro Shops
Bass Pro Shops
Founded1972; 49 years ago (1972)
FounderJohnny Morris
Number of locations
177 (including 82 Cabela's)
Key people
Johnny Morris Founder and CEO
ProductsHunting, fishing, and outdoor merchandise
RevenueUS$ 6.5 billion (2019)[1]
Number of employees
ParentGreat Outdoors Group, LLC
Great American Outdoors Group, LLC
White River Marine Group

Bass Pro Shops is an American privately held retailer of hunting, fishing, camping and other related outdoor recreation merchandise. With headquarters in Springfield, Missouri, Bass Pro Shops employs a workforce of about 40,000.[2]

Bass Pro Shops supports and sells merchandise for the National Audubon Society.


Bass Pro Shops at the Memphis Pyramid
An exterior view of Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World at Promenade Shops at Orchard Valley, California

Bass Pro Shops started in 1972 when Johnny Morris started selling fishing tackle out of his dad's Brown Derby Liquor Store in Springfield, Missouri.[3] His father, John A. Morris, was a World War II veteran and often took the family hunting and fishing.[4] Johnny Morris has said his parents, Genny Morris and John A. Morris, taught him to love fishing, hunting and the outdoors.[4] After opening the first Bass Pro Shops location, Johnny Morris was inspired to rent a U-Haul trailer, travel across the country and fill it with fishing tackle.[5] After this, the first Bass Pro Shops catalog was created in 1974.[5] In 1978, he introduced Tracker Boats, the first boat, motor and trailer package designed exclusively for anglers.[6]

The company's marine manufacturing division, White River Marine Group, includes several marine and off-road brands that manufacture fishing and recreational boats.[7] White River Marine manufactures and distributes boats and off-road vehicles under the brand names Ranger, Nitro, Triton, Tahoe, Tracker, Sun Tracker, Tracker Off-Road, Regency, Mako, and Ascend.[7] In May 2021, the company acquired the Hatteras Boat company based in New Bern, North Carolina.[7]

In 1981, nearly 10 years after he originally opened Bass Pro Shops in the back of a Brown Derby liquor store, Morris opened a Bass Pro Shops outdoor store in Springfield.[8] Bass Pro Shops opened Big Cedar Lodge on Table Rock Lake in Missouri’s Ozark Mountains in 1988; along with the lodge, the resort includes five golf courses, the Top of the Rock Ozarks Heritage Preserve, in addition to the Lost Canyon Cave, the Ancient Ozarks Natural History Museum, and Dogwood Canyon Nature Park, a 10,000-acre wilderness refuge dedicated to conservation, preservation and education.[9][10]

In 2017, Morris opened the Wonders of Wildlife in Springfield, Missouri, which recreates a multitude of ecosystems and is considered the largest wildlife attraction in the world.[11] In the same year, Bass Pro Shops struck a deal to acquire Cabela's for about $4.5 billion.[12] Currently, the company operates 169 Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s stores combined.[13]

Discrimination lawsuit[edit]

In 2011, Bass Pro Shops was sued by The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for failure to hire Hispanic and Black applicants.[14][15][16] In court filings, Bass Pro Shops denied all of the allegations and in 2014, Bass Pro Shops appealed the lower court's ruling,[17][18][19] but was rejected by the court.[20] In 2016 Bass Pro Shops tried again and The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission asked the 5th circuit court to reject Bass Pro Shops' appeal on the grounds that Bass Pro Shops engaged in the practice of "reckless indifference" when it came to hiring practices of minorities.[21] In 2017, Bass Pro Shops settled its discrimination lawsuit with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for 10.5 million.[22][23][24] The court noted that any payments Bass Pro Shops made as part of the settlement "should not be construed as an admission of liability."[17] The EEOC and Bass Pro Shop agreed that there were no findings that Bass Pro Shops engaged in discrimination.[17] As part of the settlement, Bass Pro Shops agreed to strengthen its diversity hiring and recruiting practices[25] by posting job openings at schools with a significant minority population, participating in job fairs held in communities with large minority populations, posting job openings in publications that have been historically popular with black and Hispanic audiences, and develop a diversity and inclusion section of its website that lists job opportunities and discusses inclusion efforts.[26][27]


In September 2017, Bass Pro Shops paid $5.5 billion to acquire Cabela's.[28] The deal was financed via preferred equity financing from Goldman Sachs and Pamplona. Goldman Sachs contributed $1.8 billion towards financing and Pamplona contributed the remainder for a total commitment of $2.4 billion.[28]

In 2019, Bass Pro Shops sold eleven of the Cabela's stores to Sansome Pacific for $324.3 million UDS in a sale-leaseback scheme.[29][30][31] The acquisition of Cabela's resulted in 2,000 jobs lost in Sidney, Nebraska, Cabela's headquarters at the time of the acquisition.[32][33] Since the acquisition, three stores have closed and eight new stores have opened.[13] As part of Cabela's acquisition, Bass Pro Shops sold Cabela's World's Foremost Bank brand to Synovus and Capital One, a transfer of over $1 billion in assets.[34][35]

Operating divisions[edit]

Retail stores[edit]

Bass Pro Shops operates retail locations in the United States, as well as in Canada.[36] The largest flagship stores are known as Outdoor World stores.[36] The largest store currently is the Pyramid in Memphis, Tennessee.[11] Bass Pro Shops also hosts Outdoor Skills Workshops, teaching skills such as fly fishing, Dutch oven cooking, archery hunting with an archery range in the store, and GPS navigation.

Boat brands[edit]

Bass Pro Shops also owns White River Marine Group which manufactures and distributes boats under the brand names Ranger, Nitro, Triton, Tahoe, Tracker, Sun Tracker, Regency, Mako, and Ascend.

Hatteras Yachts Logo.

On May 20, 2021, the White River Marine Group purchased Hatteras Yachts, a company that builds boats starting at 45 feet and extending to 105 feet. [37]


Affiliation with NASCAR[edit]

Bass Pro Shops has been a longtime partner of Richard Childress Racing. During the 2019 season, they were part-time sponsors for NASCAR Cup Series drivers Martin Truex, Jr., Austin Dillon, and Ty Dillon, as well as hosting the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway. In previous seasons, they have also sponsored Dale Earnhardt, Tony Stewart, and Ryan Newman. In the Xfinity Series, Bass Pro Shops was the main sponsor for the No. 3 car driven by Ty Dillon. Also in the Truck Series, Bass Pro Shops sponsors the No. 32 truck driven by Ryan Truex.[38]

NRA National Sporting Arms Museum[edit]

The NRA National Sporting Arms Museum opened in the flagship store in Springfield, Missouri on August 2, 2013. It features sporting artifacts, including some historical firearms from the NRA Museum Collection. The museum will host firearms and artwork from the Remington Arms Company factory collection, including engraved Colt revolvers of the American frontier and firearms of U.S. Presidents.[39]


  1. ^ "#45 Bass Pro Shops". Forbes. Retrieved February 20, 2021.
  2. ^ Inc., Forbes (October 2021). "Bass Pro Shops". Forbes. Retrieved October 14, 2021.
  3. ^ Moise, Imani (October 3, 2016). "Meet the Billionaire Behind the New Bass Pro/Cabela's Empire". Wall Street Journal.
  4. ^ a b Masterson, Mike (April 3, 2016). "Johnny Morris: Angler visionary". Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.
  5. ^ a b "History of Bass Pro Shop". The Southern Illinoisan. Retrieved November 14, 2021.
  6. ^ Johnson, Wes (March 24, 2016). "Bass Pro Founder Johnny Morris receives Excellence in Business Award". Springfield News-Leader.
  7. ^ a b c "Major boat builder acquires iconic Hatteras brand, set to expand in NC". North State Journal. May 26, 2021.
  8. ^ Waszczuk, Savannah (November 1, 2014). "The Johnny Morris Story". 417 Magazine.
  9. ^ Olmsted, Larry (May 12, 2021). "World's Best Golf Courses, Resorts And Vacations, According To New Travel Rankings". Forbes.
  10. ^ Tramel, Jimmie (August 14, 2016). "Outdoors in the Ozarks: Bass Pro founder provides windows to nature". Tulsa World.
  11. ^ a b "Largest fish and wildlife attraction in the world opens in Springfield, Missouri". KSDK. Retrieved January 8, 2020.
  12. ^ Germano, Sara; Helliker, Kevin (October 4, 2016). "Bass Pro Shops to Acquire Cabela's". Wall Street Journal.
  13. ^ a b Urie, Daniel (December 30, 2020). "Parent company of Bass Pro and Cabela's plans to acquire Sportsman's Warehouse". The Patriot-News.
  14. ^ "Bass Pro Shops accused of discrimination, racial slurs". Reuters. September 22, 2011. Retrieved June 24, 2020.
  15. ^ Zimmerman, Ann (September 22, 2011). "U.S. Charges Bass Pro Shops With Racial Bias". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved June 24, 2020.
  16. ^ "Bass Pro Failed to Hire Blacks and Hispanics at its Stores Nationwide, EEOC Says in Suit | U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission". Retrieved June 24, 2020.
  17. ^ a b c "U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission vs. Bass Pro Outdoor World, LLC and Tracker Marine Retail, LLC" (PDF). United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas. July 25, 2017.
  18. ^ "Bass Pro Pushes For Quick Appeal In EEOC Race Bias Suit - Law360". Retrieved June 24, 2020.
  19. ^ Gounley, Thomas. "Four years after US alleged discriminatory hiring at Bass Pro, case plods on, closely watched". Springfield News-Leader. Retrieved June 24, 2020.
  20. ^ Langford, Cameron (July 31, 2014). "Bass Pro Shops Hiring Bias Case to Continue". Retrieved June 24, 2020.
  21. ^ "EEOC v. Bass Pro Outdoor World, LLC, No. 15-20078 (5th Cir. 2016)". Justia Law. Retrieved June 24, 2020.
  22. ^ Sixel, L. M. (July 24, 2017). "Bass Pro, EEOC reach $10.5 million settlement". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved June 24, 2020.
  23. ^ "Bass Pro Shops settles $10.5M race discrimination case". HR Dive. Retrieved June 24, 2020.
  24. ^ "Bass Pro Settles with EEOC for $10.5 Million on Racial Discrimination and Retaliation Claims | E & B". Retrieved June 24, 2020.
  25. ^ Mccue, Dan (July 26, 2017). "Bass Pro Shops to Pay $10.5 Million to Settle EEOC Lawsuit". Retrieved June 24, 2020.
  26. ^ SHRM-SCP, Lisa Nagele-Piazza, J. D. (August 10, 2017). "Bass Pro to Pay $10.5 Million to Settle Hiring Discrimination Claims". SHRM. Retrieved June 24, 2020.
  27. ^ "Bass Pro to Pay $10.5 Million To Settle EEOC Hiring Discrimination And Retaliation Suit | U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission". Retrieved June 24, 2020.
  28. ^ a b Debter, Lauren. "Outdoor Retailer Bass Pro Shops Is Buying Cabela's For $5.5 Billion". Forbes.
  29. ^ "Bass Pro Shops sells 11 Cabela's stores for $324.3 million". Outdoornews. June 7, 2019.
  30. ^ Wunderlich, Glen. "Bass Pro Shops Sells 11 Cabela's Stores for $324.3 Million -".
  31. ^ "Bass Pro Shops Sells 11 Cabela's Locations for $324M".
  32. ^ Couger, Charles & Pfeiffer, Alex. "The death of Sidney, Nebraska: How a hedge fund destroyed 'a good American town'". Fox News. Retrieved June 27, 2020.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  33. ^ Yowell, Paige. "Sidney faces challenge to replace 2,000 jobs, fill vacant homes after Bass Pro takeover of Cabela's". Omaha World-Herald. Retrieved June 27, 2020.
  34. ^ Arif, Rabia. "Synovus, Capital One to buy banking operations of Cabela's". S&P Global. Retrieved June 27, 2020.
  35. ^ Detrick, Hallie. "Bass Pro Just Completed a $4 Billion Deal to Buy Cabela's". Fortune. Retrieved June 27, 2020.
  36. ^ a b Field, Carla (April 17, 2014). "Bass Pro Shops announces new Upstate store". WYFF. Retrieved January 8, 2020.
  37. ^ "Johnny Morris Buys Hatteras Yachts | BoatTEST". Retrieved May 21, 2021.
  38. ^ "Ryan Truex Returns to Turner Scott Motorsports for NCWTS Race at Daytona". SpeedwayMedia. Turner Scott Motorsports. February 10, 2014. Retrieved February 10, 2014.
  39. ^ "NRA opens Midwest museum showing nearly 1,000 firearms". Reuters. Archived from the original on August 3, 2013. Retrieved August 3, 2013.

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