Bass Pro Shops celebrated its 50th anniversary during the World’s Fishing Fair in Springfield, Missouri, on March 30–April 3. The one-of-a-kind showcase at Bass Pro Shops national headquarters featured seminars, meet-and-greets, concerts, and more from stars across the worlds of fishing, hunting, conservation, country music, and NASCAR.
And Outsider was there to cover the golden anniversary. We sat down for interviews with Bass Pro Shops founder Johnny Morris, fishing legends Bill Dance, Jimmy Houston, and Roland Martin, as well as NASCAR’s Richard Childress, Austin Dillon, Noah Gragson, Martin Truex Jr., and more.
In fact, Martin Truex Jr. has had a longstanding relationship with Bass Pro Shops—and fishing buddy Johnny Morris—since the early 2000s. Bass Pro Shops was the primary sponsor of Martin’s two championships in the Xfinity Series in 2004 and 2005. Of course, the Bass Pro Shops relationship continued when Martin won his championship in the NASCAR Cup Series in 2017. And the Bass Pro Shops sponsorship continues today as the anchor partner on Martin’s No. 19 Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing.
Before he raced to the airport, Outsider caught up with Martin for a couple of minutes to talk about his relationship with Bass Pro Shops, fishing, racing, relaxing, and more.
1. What does it mean to you to be here today celebrating Johnny Morris and 50 years of Bass Pro Shops?
Martin Truex Jr: Oh man, I’m such a huge fan of Johnny Morris, obviously. Being an outdoors kid, I loved to hunt and fish, and I walk around here and it’s like I’m talking to Bill Dance, one of my heroes. When I was a kid, I’d watch him and then ride my bike to the lake and try what he was doing. I’ve been so lucky for—jeez, Johnny and Bass Pro started sponsoring me in 2003, and we’ve been together ever since. I’ve just been so lucky to get to be a part of that. And I have no idea where I would be in my life without Bass Pro Shops.
2. 19 years with Bass Pro and you’re driving the No. 19 car?
Martin Truex Jr: Let’s be honest. So I just love to be here, love to see all these new friends in the outdoor industry I’ve gotten to meet over the years, and all these fans that showed up today and showed up for the autograph sessions and the Q&A and all the things we did. Just feeling lucky, feeling blessed, and really, really, really happy to be here today.
3. What was the fishing like growing up in New Jersey?
Martin Truex Jr: Oh, yeah. I mean, I fished, like I said, as a kid I’d ride my bike to the local lakes, not great bass fishing, but bass fishing, you know what I mean? And you could learn, and saltwater fishing was really good. I grew up close to the coast, so striped bass, weakies, flounder. All kinds of really good fishing and offshore stuff as well too. So yeah, love fishing. Love it.
4. When was the last time you wet a line?
Martin Truex Jr: I went yesterday. Literally, every day I’m off, I’m either on a lake or in the woods, so it’s pretty awesome.
5. What does time in the woods or on the lake do for you as a driver?
Martin Truex Jr: People ask me like, “Ah, man, you’re so laid back. You’re chill. How?” It’s because I go do fun stuff during the week, and I kind of decompress and get rid of that stress of driving that racecar all weekend.