Submitted By Caroline “Tinker” Frazier, Photos by Tinker and Robert “Bobby” Hughes
Johnny Morris scored another home run for conservation when he opened the new Bass Pro Shops just outside of Virginia’s capital in Hanover on Wednesday, October 1. The Evening for Conservation recognized Mr. Morris’ long-standing commitment to giving back as 50¢ of every dollar of purchases that evening was donated to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s “More Fish” campaign to save fish and their habitats for our kids and grandkids. Conservation scored even more when those donations were matched by Toyota Motor Sales, Johnny Morris Conservation Creel of the NFWF as well as Parkes Construction.
The evening’s events also included the formal ribbon cutting ceremony where the President of Bass Pro recognized attendees, store staff, and county officials instrumental in the success of the store. A blue grass band welcomed visitors as they entered, and a troop of Sea Scouts served brats and refreshments to hungry shoppers.
Nascar, hunting and fishing enthusiasts patiently waited in line for hours for autographs from their favorite celebrities that included Tony Stewart, Martin Truex Jr., Denny Hamlin, Ryan Klesko, Jimmy Houstin, Rick Clunn, Woo Daves and Chris Daves among others.
The store showcases the elements of Virginia’s natural beauty, with murals depicting scenes from the shores of the Chesapeake to the peaks of the Blue Ridge. Specimens of Virginia’s wildlife were featured throughout with trophies of elk, turkey, whitetail, bobcats, fish and black bear. A staircase under the natural bridge takes you up to the second story of the Shop where you can find all the best hunting, footwear camping and accessories available. Inside this massive structure was a General Store and Fudge Shop, a Nascar Store as well as Bass Pro’s famed Islamorda Restaurant where hungry shoppers can savor the flavors of the Florida Keys. A replica of a mountain cabin and The Mabry Mill are featured in the store.
Conservation groups represented on Wednesday evening included SCI, Quail Unlimited, Quality Deer Management, the Virginia Waterfowlers Association, and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries hosted an informational booth as well.