Columbia, Mo. — Two Missouri Bass Pro Shops stores helped youths and veterans discover the fun of fishing by donating pre-owned rods and reels to the Missouri B.A.S.S. Nation on June 7.
Bass Pro Shops founder Johnny Morris challenged families to get outside to discover the joys of fishing through the Gone Fishing nationwide movement to get kids and families connected to nature each summer. To kick off the Gone Fishing program, Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s donated 50,000 rods and reels nationwide to nonprofit organizations that help kids from all backgrounds connect to the great outdoors.
The effort is part of the company’s mission to inspire future generations to enjoy, love and conserve the great outdoors. In the past five years, Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s have donated more than 300,000 items to youth-focused nonprofit organizations.
Columbia Bass Pro Shops Manager David Smith presented approximately 100 rods and nearly 200 reels to Mark Cowart, Missouri B.A.S.S. (MOBASS) marketing director while Independence Bass Pro Shops Manager Ryan Eberly gave MOBASS President Jim Zieger approximately 150 rods and 250 reels. Zieger said MOBASS will give the donated rods to three groups: the Hickory Hills Veterans Lodge in Sullivan County, Eldon Bassmasters Nation club and the MOBASS youth program.
The Hickory Hills Veterans Lodge will use the rods and reels for veterans who want to fish on the lodge’s property. The Eldon Bassmasters used the rods and reels for the club’s annual fishing derby on Father’s Day weekend. The baitcast reels and casting rods are given to the MOBASS high school and junior anglers. “Susan Eagan (MOBASS youth director) uses those as attendance prizes and give-aways at our tournaments,” Zieger said.
The donated rods and reels come from Bass Pro Shops’ trade-in program during the store’s Spring Fishing Classic. Customers are allowed to bring in their pre-owned rods and reels to trade in for coupons towards new equipment during the Spring Classic event. Each pre-owned rod and reel traded into the store is refurbished for the Gone Fishing donations.