Photo by Scot Sothern
Brad Pitt and Bass Pro Shops are two of Springfield, Missouri’s claims to fame. Others include John Ashcroft, the Assemblies of God Church HQ, and the time in 1865 when Wild Bill Hickok shot and killed a guy in the town square. In 1967 my friend Danny was arrested and quoted on the front page of the local newspaper as saying: “There’s nothing else to do after midnight in Springfield except burn barns.”
On a short visit to the old homestead, on a breezy October afternoon, I borrow my mother’s car and drive to Bass Pro Shops, a local success story about a country boy tying fishing flies to sell in his father’s liquor store and turning it into a national chain of massive sporting goods emporiums. The flagship store, this one, takes up a couple of blocks of Ozarkian real estate. I remember this plot of land in 1965 when the faith healer Reverend Leroy Jenkins came to town and set up a canvas tent and a couple hundred folding chairs. He started off by telling the congregation they all had cancer but if they threw their packs of cigarettes up on the stage, and they loved Jesus, the cancer would go away. He scored a month’s worth of butts.
Read the entire interview by VICE MAG –