World’s Fishing Fair contributes $1.5m to conservation causes
Crowds reported as ‘several hundred thousand strong’ attended this month’s World’s Fishing Fair – hailed as the biggest event in the history of angling, conservation and the great outdoors.
The fair was held to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Bass Pro Shops, in the retail chain’s home town of Springfield, Missouri.
And the highlight of the event was the presentation by Bass Pro Shops founder, Johnny Morris, of a $1.5 million donation to conservation causes. The donation represented 100% of all ticket sales to the fair and music concerts – doubling the initial pledge of 50% for all ticket sales.
“I have never felt more proud of our Bass Pro team, our vendors and our conservation partners,” said Morris (pictured above), widely acclaimed as America’s greatest conservationist. “Thanks to this collective effort, and with the support of our generous customers and the City of Springfield, we are able to make this donation to help further crucial conservation efforts for years to come.
“The fact that we were able to host this event and make this donation to help celebrate our 50th anniversary right here in Springfield makes us very proud and very happy!”
The occasion featured 500,000 square feet of tackle and equipment, an all-star line-up of bass fishing legends and current pros, and a cast of country music stars, along with NASCAR legends, outdoor personalities and conservation leaders.
The first World’s Fishing Fair in 1988 helped put Bass Pro Shops on the map. Seventy-four year-old Morris, who began his business in a spare room of his father’s liquor store, is now ranked 424th on the latest Forbes list of the world’s top 500 billionaires, with an estimated net worth of $6.5 billion.