BROKEN ARROW — Mike Wise’s visit to Bass Pro Shops Thursday caught the attention of a customer, who pulled him aside to inquire about the eight, maroon-shirted boys he was overseeing.
After learning they were from the Tulsa Boys Home, the stranger gave Wise $100 to spend on the group.
“It was awesome,” said Wise, recreation director for the Boys Home. “It’s the subtle things in life that let’s you know God’s still watching out for you.”
Bass Pro added to that serendipity Thursday.
It and Cabela’s donated more than 40,000 rods and reels across North America as part of their “Gone Fishing” challenge to get more kids outside. Customers brought in gently used rods and reels this spring in exchange for discounts on new gear. Each used piece is refurbished to ensure it is fish-ready for kids.
The Tulsa Boys Home was among four local nonprofits to receive fishing equipment.
In addition to those donations, Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s stores will host free in-store fishing and casting activities during the weekends of June 12-13 and 19-20. Since the program’s inception in 2015, more than 500,000 products have been donated to youth-focused nonprofit organizations across North America, helping millions of families catch their first fish, with more than 150,000 kids participating in free events.
“The more sportsmen we have, the more people that will be engaged in conversation,” said Keith Baucom, Tracker boats sales manager at the Broken Arrow store. “Our founder, Johnny Morris …one of his big things is just to get kids and families to put down the screens and get outside and go fishing. It’s to get people hooked on the outdoors.”
Bass Pro’s national headquarters is in Springfield, Missouri.
“If there was a bright spot from this past year, it was the unprecedented interest of families wanting to get outside and go fishing,” Morris said in a statement, alluding to the COVID-19 pandemic. “The most special memories in life come from spending time in nature with those you care about.
“For me, it all started with fishing, which is why we’re proud to donate thousands of fishing poles to help kids discover the joys of fishing this summer.”