A Lifetime of Blessings – Lady Luck and Annie

The Great Spirit of fishing starts young, if you're a lucky little girl.

  • When do women outfish men?  Chilly air and morning fog make little difference.  
  • Is it luck when you catch a limit…and you are the only woman around?
  • When we talk to ourselves when fishing, are we talking to the fish too? A higher power?
  • Annie shares her experiences and connections on the water…and more. 

By Larry Whiteley

Annie with NASCAR legend Richard Petty.

It’s early morning on the river in Trout Park. The sun is beginning to peek through the forested hills. Annie is at the river’s edge, waiting with rod in hand. She is visiting with the men on both sides of her. It’s a cool morning. Annie is the only woman to brave the chill. The fishermen and one fisherwoman talk about the early spring weather and how they are glad that winter is over.

The rising sun reveals a beautiful fog rising from the water. The siren sounds to signal the anglers they can now start fishing. Annie’s lure is the first one to hit the water. In minutes, she is smiling and bringing a trout to her net. She puts it on a stringer and makes another cast. A few turns of the reel handle, and another trout takes her lure. This one is bigger and pulling line from her reel. It leaps from the water, and Annie shrieks with joy. After a few more jumps, she scoops it up with her net. She admires its beauty, puts it on the stringer and makes another cast. An hour later, she has her daily limit.

Annie knows how to catch big trout.

Several other fishermen who hadn’t been quite as successful came over to congratulate her. One of them asked what kind of lure she was using. She looked at him, smiled and said, “Honey, it’s not the lure that’s catching the fish. It’s this 75-year-old woman using it.” She laughed too, wished them luck and headed for her car. After she put her fish in the cooler, she looked up to the sky and thanked God for this particular time in the outdoors that He created. She also thanked Him for watching over her all these years.

Looking back at the river, she saw an eagle perched in a tree across from where she had been fishing. She remembered her favorite bible verse – “But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; they shall walk, and not faint.” She looked back at the eagle, smiled again and said to herself, “God sent an eagle to watch over me today!”

When she got home, she couldn’t get the eagle out of her mind, so she sat down to read about eagles. One of the things it said was that Native American Indians believe an eagle delivers their prayers to the Great Spirit. They hold an eagle feather aloft as a custom while saying a prayer. To them, the eagle meant strength, wisdom and courage. Annie has needed all those things throughout her life. A tear flowed down her cheek.

Annie was raised in the church and grew up loving the great outdoors. In San Mateo, California, she was born, where her dad worked for United Airlines. He was also an avid hunter and fisherman. Her mom liked to fish too and taught Annie that if you catch them, you clean them.

She loved it when they would travel north to see her grandparents in Ahwahnee, California. Her granddad was a friend of the famous photographer Ansel Adams, who rose to prominence as a photographer of the American West, notably Yosemite National Park, using his iconic black-and-white images to promote the conservation of wilderness areas.

L to R – Annie’s Dad, sister Suzi, Annie, Grandpa, and a bunch of trout.

Her granddad won awards for his photography. She remembers him having a darkroom in their house where he developed the pictures he took while out enjoying nature. Yosemite National Park was just 5 miles from Ahwahnee. The waterfalls, towering granite monoliths, deep valleys and ancient giant sequoias were a big part of her young life. Annie gives credit to her parents and grandparents for her love of the outdoors.

Annie was 9-years old when her dad was transferred by United Airlines to Kansas City, Missouri. Later they bought a home at Lake Waukomis, a town with a great fishing lake. That continued to fuel her love for fishing. One night she set some baited lines off a dock for catfish. She got up early the following day and found she had caught three nice catfish. She knew how to scale and clean other fish but had no idea how to clean a slimy ole’ catfish. So she took them into the bedroom where her dad was still asleep to ask him to help. “He sure wasn’t pleased about it,” said Annie.

They would travel down to Lebanon, Missouri, to visit her Grandma Effie on her mom’s side in the summers. Like most of her family, Grandma Effie was an outdoorsy person too. She took care of a 4-acre garden and still fished. During the depression, she did it to survive, but now she did it for fun and food.

Her Uncle Dale lived next to her grandma. He loved fly fishing and would take Annie along with him. After he caught a fish, he would hand Annie the rod and let her reel it in. “I never got into fly fishing like Uncle Dale,” says Annie. “I just thought, why would I want to cast five times to a fish when I could cast one time and catch it with a regular fishing rod and reel?”

When Annie graduated high school, her dad took her on a Canadian fishing trip with six other men. For seven days they caught and ate walleye. A few years later, her dad was transferred back to California with United Airlines. Her mom got sick, and her dad couldn’t take off work, so it was up to 18-year-old Annie to find them a place to live in San Mateo. She did.

Not long after that, Annie got married. She and her husband Bob lived in the state of Washington, and she traveled with him to Australia and other places. He passed away, but Annie won’t talk about that. After all those years, it still hurts too much. Annie says, “I was blessed with a strong father and a strong husband who said I could do anything, and through God, I can.”

Annie with fishing legend Jimmy Houston.

Annie eventually re-married to another man named Bob, who loved to fish as much as she did. They lived in Warsaw, Missouri, in a lakefront home on Lake of the Ozarks for 28 years. He had his own bass boat, and he got Annie an aluminum fishing boat with a bright yellow life jacket just for her. The yellow life jacket was so if he or neighbors came out looking for her (when she stayed out fishing too long), they could find her a lot easier. She still remembers the elk hunt he took her on and the beautiful Colorado Mountains.

She went fishing without him one day and caught a 13-pound hybrid bass. When she got it on the boat, she started crying. He asked her why she was crying. Through sniffles and tears, she said, “I always had this idea that if I ever caught a bass bigger than 5 or 6 pounds, God would take me home to heaven, so I am sitting here waiting to go.” Her husband said, “I guess God’s not done with you yet because you’re still here.”

After her second husband passed away, she never re-married. She moved to Blytheville, Arkansas and worked at a co-generation plant. When her dad passed away, she moved back to Springfield, Missouri, to take care of her mom. “With God, we can do anything,” says Annie. “He put us here to help one another.”

On May 11, 2011, nearby Joplin, Missouri, was hit by an F5 tornado. The town was devastated. Bass Pro Shops founder Johnny Morris started a fundraiser to benefit the disaster victims. They held an auction, and one of the items was a fishing trip with fishing legend Jimmy Houston on a private lake at his ranch in Oklahoma. Her bid won the trip for two. She invited the husband of a friend, who was always helping her, to go along. He was as excited as Annie. They caught well over 100 bass. “Jimmy and his wife Chris are wonderful people and could not have been more hospitable,” says Annie. “It was a sweltering day, and I got a little overheated. Chris went in and got her mamma’s fishing hat and put it on my head to shade me and cool me down. Jimmy and I still text back and forth all the time.”

Like Chris Houston, Annie has a special feeling for our Native Americans. She says her Grandma Effie always said they had Cherokee blood in them, but they have never been able to find absolute proof of that. That belief has been a big part of family stories for many years. A portion of the Cherokee Trail of Tears runs through her cousin’s property near Lebanon, Missouri. She has walked in the footsteps of the Cherokee on parts of the trail. She, like me, believes that this was their land, and we stole it from them. They were not the savages; the white man was. They were trying to protect their land and families.

Annie is a woman with a big heart.

Annie loves her fishing and says she will go anytime, anywhere. But, NASCAR racing comes in a close second. She got the racing bug watching dirt track races near her lake home in Missouri. She was at the race track when Dale Earnhardt died in a crash. She was always a fan of Rusty Wallace because he is a Missouri boy. She has met Tony Stewart several times and also met Richard Petty. I am not sure that I have ever seen her not wearing the Martin Truex Jr. jacket he autographed for her.

She also has agape or unconditional love for her two dogs that rule her life. Sammy is a Shitzu Poodle that adopted Annie in a Walmart parking lot. Callie is a 6-year-old Bushon that was someone’s throwaway dog. Her compassion, though, is not just for her dogs. She also once took a lady into her home that was a throwaway and needed Annie. We will never know how many other people Annie has helped.

Not one to sit around unless it is by a peaceful river, Annie is not accepting growing old. In less than a year, she has walked over 3,006,000 steps enjoying nature. Like she tells people, “You have to stay active mind and body. If not, you rot. You got to enjoy what God gives you. The fresh air in the outdoors has helped keep me well.”

At one time, Annie said she had completed her bucket list with all the places she had been and things she had done. She changed her mind and decided she still wanted to go fishing in Alaska and travel to Florida to walk on a beach looking for seashells.

A few weeks ago, Annie told a few friends sitting at a table in her church that she was leaving to go to Florida the next day. She needed a few days by herself. She was going to check another thing on her bucket list and walk a certain beach on her birthday looking for seashells. One of the men at the table stood up and walked over to Annie. He told her that was the same beach his wife loved to visit. He also said to her that was where he, their kids, and grandkids had gone to leave some of her ashes. He told Annie to say hi to her while she was there. As she stood there crying, Annie told him she would. She also told him she would bring him back a sea shell from that beach. 

Over the trip, one of her friends texted her several times to check on her. She had gotten there safely and enjoyed herself but was not finding any seashells. With only a half-day left before heading home, she ate lunch at a seafood restaurant. A woman came up to her, and they started talking. In their conversation, Annie told her she couldn’t find any seashells and the story of why she wanted to find one to take back home for her friend. The woman smiled and told her to go to a certain place on the beach, and she would see what she was looking for.

Annie finished her lunch and headed to where the lady had told her. She walked and walked. A little ocean kelp weed had washed up on the beach, but that was it. She still couldn’t find any seashells. She was about to give up and get ready to head back home when something caught her eye in the kelp. It was a kelp seed pod shaped like a heart. Annie picked it up and stood there crying, looking up to heaven. She talked to the man’s wife. Annie told her what a good man he was and that he and her family missed her. Then she said that she was taking this special heart-shaped seed pod back to him from her. Annie had found what she was looking for where the woman in the restaurant told her she would.

As Annie started to walk away, she looked down and saw something else in the kelp. She thought it was some kid’s ball they had lost, but it was another seed pod. To Annie, it was a sign that God wanted her to keep on rollin’ and had a lot more living to do. She got into her car and headed home. 

The Sunday after getting back, she got to church and went directly to her table of friends. The man stood to welcome her. Annie tried to tell him her amazing story without crying but couldn’t. Tears flowed down her cheeks, and tears came to the man’s eyes when she told him what had happened. Then she put the heart-shaped seed pod in his hand, and he hugged her. 

Those blessed to know Annie and call her a friend will tell you that Annie has a heart as big as the outdoors she loves. As the Cherokee people would say, ageyn gvdodi equa adanvdo which means, “Annie is a “woman with a big heart.”

 

Ranger Cup University – Opportunity for Collegiate Anglers

By Greg Duncan

Collegiate bass anglers will have more opportunity to cash in on tournament success in 2020 thanks to the continued support of Ranger Cup University. The contingency program, designed by Ranger Boats exclusively for college anglers, is free of charge and open to any college angler, regardless of the brand of boat they own.

To remain qualified in the program, anglers need only adhere to simple clothing and logo requirements while fishing select ACA-affiliated events. Additionally, Ranger has once again partnered with Gemini Custom Apparel, the industry’s leading tournament apparel provider, who will offer custom jersey pricing for as low as $48 for Ranger Cup University anglers.

For the 2020 season, each qualified event will feature a cash prize paid to the Ranger Cup University-qualified team/angler with the highest place of finish. A $1,000 cash prize will be paid at each of the select events below:

Texas Lunker Challenge presented by Mossy Oak Elements (Feb. 23, Sam Rayburn Reservoir)

Bass Pro Shops Big Bass Bash presented by Berkley (Mar. 14-15, Kentucky Lake)

ACA Summer Slam (Jun. 11-12, Lake Murray)

AFTCO Collegiate Bass Open (Oct. 10-11, Lake Dardanelle)

In addition to payouts at the above events, a $2,000 cash prize will be awarded to the highest finishing Ranger Cup-qualified team/angler at the BoatUS Collegiate Bass Fishing Championship, taking place May 21-22 on Pickwick Lake.

Along with the cash prizes, the highest-finishing Ranger Cup University-qualified team/angler in each qualifying event above will also receive automatic entry into the Ranger Cup University Team of the Year Challenge. The made-for-TV fish off, which will air on Pursuit Channel, NBC Sports Network and WGN America during episodes of Americana Outdoors and Bass Pro Shops Collegiate Bass Fishing Series, will feature the five Ranger Cup University teams competing for the title of 2020 Ranger Cup University Team of the Year and a $3,000 cash prize, which can increase to $5,000 if the winning team or angler is a warranty-registered owner of a Ranger Boat.

For complete program guidelines and details on Ranger Cup University, including payout, clothing requirements and informational videos, go online to https://rangercup.com/includes/staticPages/RangerCupUniversity.cfm

About Ranger Boats: Headquartered in Flippin, Ark., Ranger Boats is the nation’s premier manufacturer of legendary fiberglass and aluminum fishing boats, with acclaimed models and series in the bass, multi-species, fish ‘n play, saltwater, waterfowl utility and pontoon boat segments. Founded in 1968 by Forrest L. Wood, Ranger Boats continues its commitment to building the highest-quality, strongest-performing boats on the water. For more information, go to RangerBoats.com.

Let’s Bond with Nature this Saturday, Sep. 28 – Rick Clunn asks…”Join Me, Please.”

  • National Geographic’s current issue is about that fragile connection between all things
  • We all need nature to help us
  • Celebrate by locating an NHF Day event near where you live, there are many.

By Rick Clunn

The photos, this one and the one below, are of my Dad and Mom sharing the outdoors with me.

Saturday is National Hunting and Fishing Day, and I know that there is some special day to celebrate almost every day, but Hunting and Fishing are the last remaining vehicles to keep the masses connected to nature and like my Dad use to say, “Daphine (my Mom), if I don’t get in the woods or on the water this weekend, I am going to go crazy.”

What was a prophetic statement for him, it is equally true for society.

National Geographic’s current issue is about that fragile connection between all things. It stated that, “If you dig deep enough behind virtually every human conflict, you will find an erosion of the bond between humans and the natural world around them.” What I am most proud of with my relationship with Johnny Morris and Bass Pro Shops is their endless work trying to maintain a healthy connection between humans and the outdoors through their Conservation efforts.

So join me and Bass Pro shops in celebrating National Hunting and Fishing Day this Saturday, the 28th of September. But take it one more step! Take a friend, family member, someone on an adventure, go fishing or hunting. I have stated before, that I am hard-pressed to remember a single gift I received, but can easily recall many fishing, hunting, and camping adventures. The photos are of my Dad and Mom sharing the outdoors with me.

Quote from Edward Abbey: “It is not enough to fight for the land; it is even more important to enjoy it. While you can. While it is still here. So get out there and hunt and fish and mess around with your friends. Ramble out yonder and explore the forest, climb the peaks, run the rivers, breathe deep of that yet sweet and lucid air, sit quietly for a while and contemplate the precious stillness, the lovely mysterious and awesome space.”

Visit me to share your thoughts: https://www.facebook.com/rick.clunn.

Thanks.

 

Editor Note: This article and the pictures were provided by Rick Clunn via Facebook to share with all outdoor persons, their neighbors, and friends.

 

Johnny Morris Awarded the AUDUBON MEDAL, One of Conservation’s Highest Honors

  • Morris is only 58th conservationist to receive the Audubon Medal in its 114-year history
L to R: National Wildlife Federation CEO Colin O’Mara, Bass Pro Shops founder Johnny Morris, Audubon Society CEO David Yarnold and Audubon Board Chair Margaret Walker (right) pose with The Audubon Medal. PHOTO CREDIT: Camilla Cerea/Audubon

The National Audubon Society presented one of the most prestigious awards in conservation, the Audubon Medal, to Bass Pro Shops founder and legendary conservationist Johnny Morris and his family in a gala event February 7 at The Plaza Hotel in New York.

Morris has spent his life tirelessly working to preserve wildlife and wild places so that future generations can be as energized and excited by nature as he has been. Morris has long pointed to his earliest days of being out with his family on the streams of the Missouri Ozarks as the inspiration for his extraordinary success with Bass Pro Shops.

Given in recognition of outstanding achievement in the field of conservation and environmental protection, The Audubon Medal was first given out in 1947 to Hugh Hammond Bennett, a pioneer in understanding soil erosion. Morris is the 58th recipient of the medal, joining conservation icons such as Nobel Peace Prize winner Oscar Arias, President Jimmy Carter, Academy Award-winning director and actor Robert Redford, beloved British natural historian Sir David Attenborough, CNN founder Ted Turner, author Rachel Carson and lauded biologist Edward O. Wilson.

“To be awarded the Audubon medal is one of the proudest and most humbling experiences of my life. To be included among the other 58 conservationists to receive this high honor alongside such visionary leaders as Walt Disney, J.N. ‘Ding’ Darling, President Jimmy Carter and others, is a great honor. I’m very proud to share this with my family, and our extended family – the many passionate, conservation-minded people in our company and the sportsmen and women we are blessed to serve,” said noted conservationist and Bass Pro Shops founder Johnny Morris. \

Click for video of acceptance moments.

“What many people don’t realize is that John James Audubon and President Theodore Roosevelt were not only heroes in conservation, they were also sportsmen and hunters. Over many hours spent in the field hunting, they gained a better appreciation for our nation’s fish and wildlife and the habitats required to sustain them,” added Morris. “I hope they are both looking down smiling and happy that we are all here as one united, inclusive family working with passion to carry on the important mission they outlined for us many years ago – to be good stewards of God’s creation and to protect the wild places so that future generations, our kids and grandkids, can have the same opportunities we have to experience the wonders of the natural world.”

Morris’ passion for 40 years has been to help children feel the same awe and wonder of the outdoors that he has felt. Morris has worked with every Republican and Democratic administration since 1978 – when Audubon Medal recipient Jimmy Carter was in office – to advance significant conservation causes. He has often been called a modern-day Teddy Roosevelt.

In 2017 – with Teddy Roosevelt’s Great, Great Grandson Simon Roosevelt in attendance – Morris opened the 350,000 square foot Wonders of Wildlife National Museum and Aquarium (WOW) in his hometown of Springfield, Mo. It is the largest conservation attraction in the world. In 2018, WOW worked closely with Audubon to unveil “The Year of the Bird,” an extraordinary exhibit that celebrates the 1918 Migratory Bird Treaty Act. The National Audubon Society is dedicated to protecting birds and the places they need for more than 60 million birders across the United States.

“Audubon has been a force for good in conservation for more than a century,” Morris said. “They began by working with a personal hero of mine, Teddy Roosevelt, to establish the first National Wildlife Refuge. Today, we share a vision to inspire future generations of conservationists to carry on America’s heritage of protecting our natural resources.”
National conservation leaders commemorate the occasion

Hundreds of leading conservationists from across the country gathered in New York to honor Morris and his contributions, which follow in the footsteps of the nation’s greatest conservationists.

“The award is important for conservationists across the political spectrum, as both a reminder and a contemporary acknowledgement of the essential role of hunters and anglers in conservation,” said Great, Great Grandson Simon Roosevelt. “First and foremost, however, the Medal is a rightful recognition of the broad scope of Johnny’s dedication to conservation and his ever-forward-looking leadership.”

Morris was introduced by Colin O’Mara, CEO of the National Wildlife Federation, America’s oldest and largest conservation organization with six million members, who discussed the Bass Pro founder’s impact on the next generation.

“Johnny has instilled a love of wildlife in millions upon millions of children across America,” said O’Mara, who has partnered with Morris to advance national legislation to protect fish and wildlife and develop education programs at Wonders of Wildlife. “He’s advancing conservation in every part of the country. And he’s leaving a legacy that will inspire young conservationists for centuries.”

Morris accepted the award together with his wife Jeanie and children John Paul, Megan, Julie and Jennifer.

BASS PRO SHOPS welcomes 2018 FISHING SEASON by asking anglers to trade in gear and help CONNECT KIDS to NATURE

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Bass Pro Shops is celebrating the return of fishing season and inviting customers to trade in used gear to be donated to local charities in exchange for big savings. The 2018 Spring Fishing Classic is a free celebration taking place February 16 – March 4 at Bass Pro Shops locations across the United States (March 2 – 18 in Canada and Alaska).

Customers that donate used rods and reels (in working order) can receive trade-in savings of up to $200. The used fishing equipment will be donated to local nonprofit organizations. Bass Pro Shops has donated nearly 290,000 products to youth-focused nonprofit organizations as part of the company’s mission to inspire everyone to enjoy, love and conserve the great outdoors.

The Classic also includes free fishing seminars for all skill levels, pro appearances at Bassmaster University (Bassmaster University not applicable in Canada), activities for women and children and free giveaways. Visitors will also see a variety of special offers to upgrade their gear before they hit the water.

“The annual Spring Fishing Classic—a free event that reaches more than seven million people each year—provides great opportunities for families to get ready for fishing season and creating lifelong memories together on the water,” said Bass Pro Shops communications manager Katie Mitchell. “We encourage all anglers to participate in our rod and reel trade-in program which has collected and donated about 290,000 products to local organizations that teach young people to enjoy and appreciate the outdoors.”

Free Seminars and Family Events

The 2018 Spring Fishing Classic again offers opportunities to learn from the pros during Bassmaster University hosted by some of the greatest anglers in the sport. Local pros will also host free fishing seminars throughout the 17-day event. For a full list of sessions and special appearances, visit www.basspro.com/classic.

Women’s Fishing Workshops

Available with introductory fishing information and helpful tips on Saturday, March 3 at 1:30 p.m. (Saturday, March 17 at 1:30 p.m. at Alaska and Canada locations). The first 25 seminar attendees of each advertised local pro seminar and the Women’s Fishing Workshop will receive a Bass Pro Shops protective dry box.

Next Generation Weekend

Offers free activities focused on teaching kids the basics of fishing. Kids activities are available from noon to 5 p.m. on March 3 and 4 (March 17 – 18 at Alaska and Canada locations). Free activities include casting challenges, a fishing workshop, fun craft, and a photo download.

Special Offers

A number of special offers are available during the Spring Fishing Classic:

Customers using a Bass Pro Shops credit card to purchase new gear throughout the Spring Fishing Classic can receive up to $100 via instant rebate. (U.S. locations only)

Attendees can also enter for a chance to win a fishing trip with Garmin professional angler Jason Christie. The winner will receive a one-day fishing trip, a Garmin echoMAP Plus Fishfinder, a $500 Bass Pro Shops gift card, travel and accommodations—a total retail value of $4,999. Register at the stores or online at www.basspro.com/classicsweeps.

Enter for a chance to receive a Bass Pro Shops gift card valued up to $2,400 with the purchase of select boat models from Tracker Marine.

For trade-in program details, event times and information on qualifying offers visit www.basspro.com/classic.

 

 

Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s to Merge

The famous wild nature art and mounts in Cabela’s and Bass Pro Shops will now share a new commonality in business that may be really excellent for all outdoors folks. Forrest Fisher photo

Springfield, Missouri and Sidney, Nebraska – October 3, 2016 –

  • Loyalty Programs Remain Unchanged
  • Merger Will Provide Benefits for Outdoorsmen

Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s Incorporated (NYSE:CAB), two iconic American outdoor companies with similar humble origins, and with a shared goal to better serve those who love the outdoors, today announced that they have entered into a definitive agreement under which Bass Pro Shops will acquire Cabela’s for $65.50 per share in cash, representing an aggregate transaction value of approximately $5.5 billion.

In addition, upon closing Bass Pro Shops will commence a multi-year partnership agreement with Capital One, National Association, a wholly-owned national banking subsidiary of Capital One Financial Corporation (NYSE: COF), under which Capital One will originate and service the Cabela’s CLUB, Cabela’s co-branded credit card, and Bass Pro Shops will maintain a seamless integration between the credit card program and the combined companies’ retail operations and deep customer relationships. All Cabela’s CLUB points and Bass Pro Shops Outdoor Rewards points will be unaffected by the transactions and customers can continue to use their credit cards as they were prior to the transaction. Capital One intends to continue to operate the Cabela’s CLUB servicing center in Lincoln, Nebraska.

A driving force behind this agreement is the highly complementary business philosophies, product offerings, expertise and geographic footprints of the two businesses. The essence of both Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s is a deep passion to serve outdoor enthusiasts and support conservation. The combination brings together three of the nation’s premier sporting brands: Cabela’s, a leader in hunting; Bass Pro Shops, a leader in fishing; and White River Marine Group, a worldwide leader in boating, which is part of Bass Pro Shops.

Bass Pro Shops, Cabela’s and White River Marine Group represent the best of American entrepreneurship, innovation and devotion to customers. The combined companies will strive to provide a remarkably enhanced experience for customers, increased opportunities for team members and greater support for conservation activities.

CABELA’S

Founded in 1961 by Dick, Mary and Jim Cabela, Cabela’s is a highly respected marketer of hunting, fishing, camping, shooting sports and related outdoor merchandise. Today, Cabela’s has over 19,000 “outfitters” operating 85 specialty retail stores, primarily in the western U.S. and Canada. Cabela’s stores, catalog business and e-commerce operations will blend seamlessly with Bass Pro Shops and White River Marine Group. Over the past 55 years Cabela’s has built a passionate and loyal base of millions of enthusiasts who shop both at its retail stores and online.

BASS PRO SHOPS

Bass Pro Shops, founded in 1972 by avid young angler Johnny Morris, is a leading national retailer of outdoor gear and apparel, with 99 stores and Tracker Marine Centers located primarily in the eastern part of the U.S. and Canada. Morris started the business with eight square feet of space in the back of his father’s liquor store in Springfield, Mo., the company’s sole location for the first 13 years of business. Johnny’s passion for the outdoors and his feel for the products and shopping experiences desired by outdoor enthusiasts helped transform the industry. Bass Pro Shops, which employs approximately 20,000 team members, has been named by Forbes as one of “America’s Best Employers.” The company also operates Big Cedar Lodge, America’s Premier Wilderness Resort, welcoming more than one million guests annually to Missouri’s Ozark Mountains.

WHITE RIVER MARINE GROUP

In 1978, Morris revolutionized the marine industry when he introduced the world’s first professionally rigged and nationally marketed boat, motor and trailer packages. Tracker quickly became and has remained the number one selling fishing boat brand in America for the last 37 years running. White River Marine Group offers an unsurpassed collection of industry-leading brands including Tracker Boats, Sun Tracker, Nitro, Tahoe, Regency, Mako, Ranger, Triton and Stratos.

MANAGEMENT COMMENTARY

“Today’s announcement marks an exceptional opportunity to bring together three special companies with an abiding love for the outdoors and a passion for serving sportsmen and sportswomen,” said Johnny Morris, founder and CEO of Bass Pro Shops. “The story of each of these companies could only have happened in America, made possible by our uniquely American free enterprise system. We have enormous admiration for Cabela’s, its founders and outfitters, and its loyal base of customers. We look forward to continuing to celebrate and grow the Cabela’s brand alongside Bass Pro Shops and White River as one unified outdoor family.”

“Cabela’s is pleased to have found the ideal partner in Bass Pro Shops,” said Tommy Millner, Cabela’s Chief Executive Officer. “Having undertaken a thorough strategic review, during which we assessed a wide variety of options to maximize value, the Board unanimously concluded that this combination with Bass Pro Shops is the best path forward for Cabela’s, its shareholders, outfitters and customers. In addition to providing significant immediate value to our shareholders, this partnership provides a unique platform from which our brand will be extremely well positioned to continue to serve outdoor enthusiasts worldwide for generations to come.”

“This opportunity would not be possible without the contributions of the many wonderful Cabela’s, Bass Pro Shops and White River team members,” Morris said. “All three companies are blessed to have been built by the extraordinary efforts of many tremendously talented, dedicated people throughout our respective histories, and we’re thrilled to consider what the combined team can achieve going forward.”

Following the closing of the transaction, Bass Pro Shops intends to celebrate and grow the Cabela’s brand and will build on qualities that respective customers love most about Cabela’s and Bass Pro Shops. In addition, Bass Pro Shops recognizes the strength of Cabela’s CLUB Loyalty program and intends to honor Cabela’s customer rewards and sees potential over time to expand the program in the combined company.

Bass Pro Shops appreciates and understands the deep ties between Cabela’s and the community of Sidney, Nebraska. Dick, Mary and Jim Cabela founded their company in Sidney in 1961, and the company has flourished with its base of operations there ever since. Bass Pro Shops intends to continue to maintain important bases of operations in Sidney and Lincoln and hopes to continue the very favorable connections to those communities and the Cabela’s team members residing there.

Bass Pro Shops Founder and CEO Johnny Morris will continue as CEO and majority shareholder of the new entity, which will remain a private company with a continuing long-term view of supporting the industry and conservation. Morris earned a reputation as a leading retailer and conservationist. In 2008, the National Retail Federation named him as Retail Innovator of the Year. In 2015, the same organization named him as one of 25 People Shaping the Future of Retail in America. In 2012, The Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies named Morris Citizen Conservationist of the Year.

“Conservation is at the heart and soul of Bass Pro Shops. Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s share a steadfast belief that the future of our industry, and the outdoor sports we all love, depends – more than anything else – on how we manage our natural resources,” said Morris. “By combining our efforts, we can have a profound positive impact on the conservation challenges of our day and help foster the next generation of outdoor enthusiasts.”

PREFERRED FINANCING

Bass Pro Shops is proud to have secured preferred equity financing from the Merchant Banking Division of Goldman Sachs and Pamplona to facilitate the transaction. Goldman Sachs has committed $1.8 billion and Pamplona has committed $600 million for a total preferred financing commitment of $2.4 billion.

The Merchant Banking Division of Goldman Sachs is one of the leading private equity investors in the world, focusing on assisting large, high-quality companies with best-in-class management teams to achieve their growth objectives. The division brings significant experience and a strong track record of success in supporting industry-leading founder-led businesses. Pamplona Capital Management is a New York and London based specialist investment manager established in 2005. Pamplona is currently managing its fourth private equity fund, Pamplona Capital Partners IV, LP, which was raised in 2014. Pamplona invests long-term capital across the capital structure of its portfolio companies in both public and private market situations.

TRANSACTION DETAILS

The transaction provides Cabela’s shareholders with a premium of 19.2% to Cabela’s closing share price on Sep. 30, 2016, the day prior to announcement of the transaction, 39.7% to the closing share price on Dec. 1, 2015, the day before Cabela’s announced its exploration of strategic alternatives and 57.1% to the 90-day volume weighted trading average prior to Dec. 1, 2015. Immediately prior to closing, Capital One will acquire certain assets and assume certain liabilities of Cabela’s World’s Foremost Bank. The cash proceeds from this transaction will remain with Cabela’s until it is acquired by Bass Pro Shops.

The transaction agreements were unanimously approved by Cabela’s Board of Directors following a comprehensive review of strategic and financial alternatives.

The transaction, which is expected to close in the first half of 2017, will be completed through a cash merger and is subject to approval by Cabela’s shareholders, as well as regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions.

J.P. Morgan served as exclusive financial advisor to Bass Pro Shops and Latham & Watkins served as Bass Pro Shops’ legal counsel, with expert assistance from O’Melveny & Myers. Goldman, Sachs & Co. served as financial advisor to The Merchant Banking Division of Goldman Sachs and Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP served as legal advisor. Goldman, Sachs & Co. also served as advisor to Bass Pro Shops on the bank transaction, and Morrison & Foerster served as legal counsel. BofA Merrill Lynch, Wells Fargo Securities LLC, Citigroup Global Markets Inc., RBC Capital Markets, UBS Securities LLC, and Goldman Sachs are providing debt financing to support the transaction. Guggenheim Securities served as exclusive financial advisor to Cabela’s and Sidley Austin LLP and Koley Jessen P.C., L.L.O. served as Cabela’s legal counsel.

The Kessler Group and Credit Suisse acted as financial advisers to Capital One and Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz and Chapman and Cutler acted as legal advisers.

Bass Pro Founder, Johnny Morris, Achieves High Honor

Cited for Prestigious Beretta and SCI Foundation
2016 Conservation Leadership Award
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Joseph Hosmer, President, Safari Club International Foundation, announced that on Tuesday, February 2, 2016, Johnny Morris, founder and CEO of Bass Pro Shops, was honored with the prestigious Beretta and SCI Foundation Conservation Leadership Award for demonstrating extensive international hunting experience and a lifetime of commitment to wildlife conservation and education though volunteer service and philanthropy.

Over the years, Johnny Morris has made giving back to conservation a hallmark of his company since he first began selling fishing tackle in the back of his dad’s liquor store in 1971.  Over the course of several decades, Morris has dedicated himself to inspiring people, especially youth and families, to love, enjoy and conserve the great outdoors.  He has heavily invested in efforts to conserve our natural resources in a variety of ways.  From wildlife and fisheries conservation to introducing young people to the outdoors to cultivating the next generation of natural resource stewards, he is supporting the conservation community at national and local levels.

A conservationist at heart, Morris recognizes the need for citizens to take a strong position in the careful management and use of our natural resources.  Using his entrepreneurial success as a platform for that cause, he has made significant contributions of time and resources to many conservation organizations, such as National Wild Turkey Federation, Ducks Unlimited, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Quality Deer Management Association and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. Because Morris strongly believes that hunters and target shooters are America’s first and best conservationists, he works hard to share our outdoor heritage and foster a new generation of conservation stewards.  He is deeply committed to providing youth development opportunities and community outreach and education.

Morris will build on his legacy this year with the opening of the Wonders of Wildlife National Museum & Aquarium – one of the largest, most immersive conservation attractions in the world, in Springfield, Missouri.  Primarily funded and operated by the nonprofit Johnny Morris Foundation, Wonders of Wildlife consists of an all-new 1.3-million-gallon aquarium adventure showcasing 35,000 live fish, mammals, reptiles and birds, and an immersive wildlife museum that brings visitors eye-to-eye with the greatest collection of record-setting game animals ever assembled. The 315,000-square foot experience celebrates the critical role responsible hunting and fishing plays in wildlife conservation and inspires visitors to enjoy, love and conserve the great outdoors.

As recognition of the award, Morris received an elegant trophy designed by Beretta and hand crafted in their Italy factory, and in addition a custom gold and sapphire award pin created by jeweler Madeleine Kay.

Morris was announced as the winner at the Beretta and SCI Foundation Conservation Leadership Award elegant black-tie gala which was attended by over 380 guests, including honored guests Cav. Ugo Gussalli Beretta and his wife Mrs. Monique Gussalli Beretta.  The evening consisted of the “Oscar-style” award ceremony, a gourmet dinner, an elite live auction, silent auction, and live entertainment featuring emcee J. Alain Smith, host of the Rugged Expeditions television show, classical guitarist Daniel Vera and Joe Wiegand as Teddy Roosevelt.

Other finalists for the 2016 Award included Ron and Jackie Bartels, Ralph and Deb Cunningham, Robert Model, Byron and Sandra Sadler, and A.C. (Charles) Smid – all of whom were eminently qualified to receive the award.  This year’s finalists will automatically be eligible for next year’s award along with any future nominees.

Safari Club International Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that funds and directs worldwide programs dedicated to wildlife conservation and outdoor education. Any contribution may be tax deductible under Internal Revenue Code section 170(c) as a charitable contribution to the extent permitted by law. Tax deductible amount of gift is reduced by the “Fair market Value” of any goods, services, or advantages that a sponsor receives for the donation.

EIN #86-0292099

Our thanks to Howard Communications for the content and details of this story.

The Meaning of Christmas

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Not just about Reindeer and Santa Claus, it’s about sharing the joy of family and helping other people be happy everywhere!

I looked the calendar, 6 days to Christmas Eve. Where has the time gone? Can’t put it off any longer, got to get started on my Christmas shopping. Noon, I was out of the office. Got out my list and checked it twice. I headed to the Mall and beyond.

First stop was the ladies apparel store. Next stop, yep, the next ladies apparel shop. Then the specialty gift shop. Next off to the sports store, had to pick up some KC Royals World Series shirts and hats. Next was hardware and home improvement.

This was a good day happening! Every store had many shoppers, gifts, and holiday specials, lots of items to choose from and buy. Some, but not all, had colorful holiday and Christmas decorations.

Remaining on the list were the outdoor items. I had saved the best for last! This is my kind of shopping! I headed to Bass Pro Shops in Independence, Missouri. This is my kind of store! But truth be told, any store with great fishing, hunting and outdoor gear is hard for me to pass up.  I got out my list and headed in. The greeter said, “Merry Christmas” with great sincerity. I think he really meant it. I dove into the list. Rods and reels, lures, a fly box, some fly tying materials, a pair of boots, holsters, targets, a couple of fleece shirts and a mid-weight jacket.  This is my favorite part of Christmas shopping. Outdoor stuff! I would take my time. Maybe I would throw a few items in the cart just for me (somebody has to help Santa).

Suddenly, I stopped. I realized something was different.   I had not seen these in other stores.  Everywhere I looked I saw families, lots of families. Families together, enjoying the season. I saw kids and children and toddlers with smiles. They were playing and having fun. Special kid’s areas were set up with toys just for them. A racetrack was here, a pop gun shooting gallery there, a radio-controlled toy over there, and tables and tables with lots of crayons.

I saw families taking kids to see Santa at Bass Pro. I saw smiles looking at the pictures with Santa. I saw Christmas decorations. When I entered the store I had heard, “Merry Christmas!”

When I left I heard, “Merry Christmas.” I replied Merry Christmas too. Part of the meaning of the Christmas season is to make others feel good.

Thanks Bass Pro Shops, for making families and kids happy.

And Merry Christmas to you Bass Pro Shops.

Thank you Lord.