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Entries in Bill Dance (22)

Monday
Dec042017

Former Presidents, Legendary Anglers, Celebrities Help Celebrate Opening of Wonders of Wildlife Museum

 

 

With two former presidents in attendance, Johnny Morris opened his Wonders of Wildlife National Museum and Aquarium, a tribute to fish and wildlife conservation, in late September.

Jimmy Carter and George W. Bush joined the founder of Bass Pro Shops (BPS) for the festivities, along with U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke, Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens. Additionally, actor Mark Wahlberg did a little SCUBA diving in one of the aquariums, while a "Concert for Conservation" featured Kevin Costner, Luke Bryan, Dierks Bently, and John Anderson.

Fishing legends Bill Dance, Roland Martin, and Jimmy Houston also attended, as did racing's Tony Stewart and Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Billing the new facility as "the largest, most immersive, wildlife conservation attraction in the world, a major new destination in the heart of America," Bass Pro shops reported that more than 400 conservation leaders came to the opening, "along with significant donors and guests."

Morris added, “Wonders of Wildlife is an inspirational journey around the world that celebrates the role of hunters and anglers as America’s true conservation heroes.

"We proudly invite families and sportsmen to come share the wonder with an unforgettable experience meant to inspire generations of future conservationists.”

Located next door to BPS national headquarters, the museum features 1.5 million gallons of fresh and saltwater aquariums, along with 1.4 miles of trails spread across 340,000 square feet. About 35,000  fish, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and birds representing more than 800 species from around the world bring life to the exhibit. Plus, 4D dioramas highlight fully immersive wildlife galleries, providing sights, sounds, smells, and climates from around the world.

"You'll feel the chill of the Arctic, the cold winds of the Himalayas, the dry sun of the African Savannah and more," BPS said.

The aquariums honor legendary anglers, with boats from Earnest Hemingway and Zane Grey, and personal fishing artifacts and mementos from U.S. presidents and some of fishing’s most accomplished sportsmen and women at The International Game Fish Association’s Fishing Hall of Fame and the Bass Fishing Hall of Fame.

Also, with assistance provided by more than 40 conservation organizations, the museum shares the story of American conservation, from Native Americans to modern-day wildlife management.

"Johnny’s signature creativity and attention-to-detail ensures there are surprises around every corner to amaze guests of all ages," BPS said. "From stepping inside a massive 'open ocean' ring-shaped aquarium, trekking across a sprawling 50,000-square-foot re-creation of the African Savannah and going underwater and eye-to-eye with piranha, the entire adventure is full of special touches you’ll have to see to believe."

Friday
Oct132017

Wonders of Wildlife National Museum and Aquarium Opens at Bass Pro Shops Headquarters

Former President George W. Bush is in center and former President Jimmy Carter on far right.Johnny Morris opened the new Wonders of Wildlife National Museum and Aquarium at his Bass Pro Shops world headquarters in Springfield, Mo., in late September. The massive property is a tribute to fish and wildlife conservation  in our country, as well as entertaining tourist attraction, and education facility.

Former Presidents Jimmy Carter and George W. Bush attended the gala opening, as did celebrities such as Mark Wahlberg and Kevin Costner, along with fishing legends Bill Dance, Roland Martin, and Jimmy Houston.

Mark Wahlberg in Wonders of Wildlife aquariumFollowing is a description of the museum as provided by Bass Pro Shops:

Massive: 340,000 square feet with 1.4 miles of immersive trails, interactive surprises and creative exhibits, including 1.5 million gallons of fresh and saltwater aquariums;

Global: 35,000 live fish, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and birds represent more than 800 species from around the world;

Immersive: Fully immersive wildlife galleries feature 4D dioramas that transport guests to the wildest places on earth through sights, sounds, smells and climates. You’ll feel the chill of the Arctic, the cold winds of the Himalayas, the dry sun of the African Savannah, and more.

Conservation-focused: Partnerships with more than 40 leading conservation organizations help share the story of conservation from  Native Americans to Lewis and Clark and modern-day wildlife management. Countless artifacts make it real, including Hemingway’s boat and personal possessions from our conservation president Teddy Roosevelt, to name a few.

Fun: Johnny’s signature creativity and attention-to-detail ensures there are surprises around every corner to amaze guests of all ages. From stepping inside a massive “open ocean” ring-shaped aquarium, to trekking across a sprawling 50,000-square foot re-creation of the African Savannah and going underwater and eye-to-eye with piranha, you will encounter special touches and experience adventures that must be seen to be believed.

Thursday
Jun012017

B.A.S.S. Celebrates 50th Anniversary of First Tournament

A half-century ago, when Ray Scott of Montgomery, Ala., wanted to entice outdoor media to cover his upcoming press conference, he didn’t soft-sell the event.

He invited the journalists to meet him in Springdale, Ark., and learn about “The Biggest, Most Important Happening In Bass Fishing History.”

The “happening” was the All-American Bass Tournament on Beaver Lake, Arkansas, an event many mark as the beginning of the modern era of bass fishing. The tournament was held June 5-7, 1967 — 50 years ago next week. The tournament was successful enough to launch the professional fishing careers of Bill Dance, Stan Sloan, Don Butler and others, and it inspired Scott, an insurance salesman turned promoter, to conduct a “tournament trail” of events across the country.

And it spawned the Bass Anglers Sportsman Society — B.A.S.S. for short — which would grow into the world’s largest fishing organization with more than 500,000 members and a magazine, Bassmaster, currently read by 4.5 million people each month.

Bassmaster’s June issue marks the milestone of tournament fishing with a cover story written by Bob Cobb, who contributed greatly to the All-American’s success.


In Why We Fish, I documented the  impact that B.A.S.S. has had on every aspect of sport fishing, from tackle, boats, and equipment to conservation and catch-and-release. Here's an excerpt from "The B.A.S.S. Factor":

“I remember a B.A.S. tournament on (Oklahoma’s) Lake Eufaula in the early 1970, when I was in high school,” said B.A.S.S. Conservation Director Gene Gilliland. “Roland Martin won it.

“Afterward, he and Forrest Wood (founder of Ranger Boats) sat out on the dock and talked about how to make livewells better to keep fish alive. The tournament environment, I think, spawned a lot of innovations, especially in boat design and safety features for both the occupants and the fish.

“Maybe they would have shown up anyway eventually,” he continued. “But their development was sped up by tournaments and they became available to the public sooner.”

Kill switches, boat hulls, electronics, trolling motors, trailers, and tow vehicles are but a few additional items that owe their current state of development to B.A.S.S. and its professional anglers. Others include specialized rods, reels, baits, lines, tackleboxes, sunglasses, and clothing.

“If my granddaddy could see the equipment today, he wouldn’t believe it,” Bill Dance said. “He just wouldn’t believe what fishing has become.”

Roland Martin added, “So many of us now are on design staffs. The tackle and marine industry use us for a lot of different things, but especially research and development.”

Wednesday
Mar292017

Ray Scott, Bill Dance, John Anderson Honored by Bass Pro Shops

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. --- B.A.S.S. founder Ray Scott, legendary angler Bill Dance, and country music artist John Anderson were honored for their conservation achievements by Bass Pro Shops (BPS) and its founder Johnny Morris during a holiday ceremony at BPS headquarters here.

“All of us at Bass Pro Shops are proud to honor these individuals for their unwavering dedication to conservation,” said Morris. “Long recognized and well respected as leaders for their conservation efforts and support, they continue to help restore and conserve our natural resources and important habitats for North America's wildlife.”

As recipient of a Fisherman's Best Friend Award, Scott is best known for popularizing catch and release among bass fishermen. "Today more than 98 percent of bass weighed in during national B.A.S.S. tournaments are returned alive to the waters," BPS said. "He also advocated against the dumping of aquatic herbicides into public waters."

A recipient of the same honor, Dance is a long-time friend of Morris and they have worked together often to promote conservation issues. Most recently, Dance played a key role in the placement of a Bass Pro Shops at the Pyramid in his hometown of Memphis.

Anderson was recognized as Conservation Partner of the Year because of his "strong belief in the need to give back more to conservation than we take" and for donating his time and talent with performances at national conservation conventions. Love of the outdoors, inspired by his father, was the inspiration for his popular song, "Seminole Wind."

Additionally, former U.S. Marine Mark Geist was recognized with a special Defender of Freedom Award.

Former Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon attended the event, as did NASCAR star Martin Truex, Jr. Nixon was honored last year for his leadership in conservation and outdoors issues during his administration. Truex was there to thank Morris and BPS for its donations to the Martin Truex, Jr. Foundation in support of cancer research.

Thursday
Feb092017

Battling the Big Ones

With the fish so well hooked, Dance understandably thought that he was about to land the biggest smallmouth bass of his young life, possibly even a world’s record. Based on mounts that he had seen at a taxidermist, he was certain that this bass weighed more than 10 pounds.

Excerpt from "The Big Picture," about Bill Dance and other notable anglers who tangled with trophy fish in Why We Fish: Reel Wisdom From Real Fishermen.