Johnny with his bust at Missouri House

Bass Pro Founder Johnny Morris with his bust that will be placed in the Hall of Famous Missourians.

The founder of Bass Pro Shops has been honored as one of Missouri’s greatest citizens.

Johnny Morris was inducted into the Hall of Famous Missourians at the state capitol building in Jefferson City. Morris was inducted on Sept. 14, 2021, by former Speaker of the House Elijah Haahr.

“One of the greatest honors as Speaker of the House is the chance to select someone for the Hall of Famous Missourians,” Haahr told Branson Tri-Lakes News. “Representing the 134th district, where Bass Pro and Wonders of Wildlife reside, made the decision easy. Johnny Morris is not just a Missouri legend, he is a national treasure.”

Morris founded Bass Pro Shops in 1972 by selling fishing tackle out of the back of his father’s liquor store in Springfield. Today Bass Pro Shops has more than 200 retail stores and marine centers in the United States, welcoming more than 200 million annual visitors.

The state of Missouri had previously recognized Morris in 1993 as a “Master Conservationist.”  

“​​As a lifelong resident of Southwest Missouri, who loves the outdoors myself, I think Johnny Morris is an excellent choice for the Hall of Famous Missourians,” State Rep. Brad Hudson told Branson Tri-Lakes News. “The growth of Bass Pro Shops from its humble beginning to more than 200 stores and marine centers around the world is inspiring. I agree with former Missouri Speaker Elijah Haahr. ‘Johnny Morris is not just a Missouri legend; he is a national treasure.’”

“Johnny Morris’ induction in the Hall of Famous Missourians is a honor reserved for those who have affected our state, in a positive manner, ‘above and beyond’,” Rep. Brian Seitz told Branson Tri-Lakes News. “Johnny’s conservation record is second to none, as well as his businesses being a major economic boon to the state. No living figure is more deserving than the creator of Bass Pro.”

Morris is known internationally for his conservation efforts, and in 2019 received the Audubon Medal for his “lifelong efforts to protect wildlife habitat and connect more people to the great outdoors.”

Branson Tri-Lakes News reached out to Bass Pro Shops for comment from Johnny Morris about the honor, but as of press time they had not issued a statement.

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