Find your adventure in over 650,000 square-feet of pure, outdoor goodness in six super-sized buildings. Acres of boats, RV’s, fishing tackle and hunting gear, outdoor destinations, paddle sports equipment, educational seminars, outdoor celebrities and unique and entertaining attractions combine to form a veritable outdoor supernova, which cannot be fully experienced in a single visit.
Forrest Lee Wood is known worldwide for his success in the sport fishing industry. In 1968, he founded Ranger Boats, now the largest manufacturer of bass boats in the nation. Wood has thus become known as an “outdoor legend” and the father of the modern bass boat. In 1955, Wood began work as a private guide on Bull Shoals Lake, the White River, Buffalo River, and Crooked Creek. He became well known throughout the region as a top fishing guide. In 1968, he began building lake boats, setting up shop in the back of a filling station.
He made six boats that year, and Forrest’s Ranger boats, named after the Army Rangers and the Texas Rangers, began to attract attention. On January 1, 1969, Wood and his employees moved into an old nightclub and made 600 boats. By 1970, sales had topped 1200. On May 4, 1971, the boat factory was destroyed by fire, though Wood managed to salvage sixty boat orders from his desk in the burning building. Remarkably, Ranger Boats was back in business within forty days. That year, Wood qualified for the first Bassmaster Classic, and the following year, Ranger was named “the official Bassmaster Classic boat.” It remained so through 2000.
Even after selling Ranger Boats in 1987, Wood remained a legend in the sport fishing industry. In 1996, Operation Bass, a tournament organization, was renamed using Forrest’s initials, FLW. The FLW tournament circuits have since seen major success in boosting the popularity of sport fishing and have been broadcast in some twenty-five countries around the world, appearing on ESPN, Fox Sports Network, Matchroom Sport, and the Armed Forces Network. Wood has been inducted into the Professional Bass Fishing Hall of Fame, National Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame, International Boating Hall of Fame, National Marine Manufacturers Hall of Fame, Legends of the Outdoors Hall of Fame, Arkansas Game and Fish Hall of Fame, Arkansas Walk of Fame, and the Arkansas Business Hall of Fame.
More recently, he received the 2007 Golden Glow Award presented by the Association of Great Lakes Outdoor Writers. As of 2008, Wood and his wife reside in Flippin, where they oversee an extensive cattle operation. In 2005, they opened to the public the Forrest L. Wood Outdoor Sports Gallery, displaying a collection of personal and Ranger memorabilia, including some early boat models.