Bass Pro Shops founder and noted conservationist Johnny Morris continues to celebrate and share the beauty of the Ozarks with the NEW Thunder Ridge Nature Arena at Big Cedar Lodge

Billed as one of the most iconic amphitheaters and stadiums in all of North America, the newly expanded Thunder Ridge will reopen in September and host Thunder Days, a Professional Bull Rider Team Series competition.

The stunning nature-based outdoor venue is a pet project of noted conservationist Johnny Morris, the founder of Bass Pro Shops and Big Cedar Lodge, and is a natural amphitheater overlooking Table Rock Lake and the Boston Mountains in Arkansas.

“We are very excited that Thunder Ridge will help showcase the true beauty of the Ozarks to our guests,” said Johnny Morris. “This will be a place for visitors of all ages to come and experience some of the best events and biggest names in entertainment, in a truly stunning setting, surrounded by nature.”

Located on approximately 1,200 acres near Ridgedale, Thunder Ridge is adjacent to the Bass Pro Shops Outdoor Academy on land originally purchased by Johnny Morris nearly 30 years ago. For the past decade, it has hosted huge gatherings, including concerts by Hank Williams Jr., Chris Janson, Dierks Bentley, Tracy Lawrence, and other top acts.

It has also hosted air shows, hot air balloon shows, the US Open Bowfishing Championships, the US Open National Bass Tournament, the National 4-H Youth Council meeting, rodeos, conventions, symposiums, special events and weddings, and nature-based activities for all ages and interests for years to come.

The Thunder Ridge expansion, increasing capacity from 10,000 to approximately 50,000, is the latest in Big Cedar Lodge’s proud tradition of hosting world-class hospitality and entertainment experiences that span a variety of recreational markets. These tax-free improvements will more than double the previous seating capacity, without sacrificing the stunning natural charm of the venue. It provides another great outdoor venue for a resort that hosts 7 million guests each year and a Branson community that attracts 10 million visitors each year.

The Thunder Ridge land has been set aside as part of the non-profit Johnny Morris Conservation Foundation, so all proceeds from events held at the Nature Arena will go to further enhance Thunder Ridge and support conservation. The vision for the future is to host a wide variety of world-class outdoor events.


Johnny has personally worked closely with contractors to transform Thunder Ridge Nature Arena, drawing inspiration from visits to some of the most well-known outdoor venues across the country, including The Gorge Amphitheater in Quincy, Washington, Red Rocks Amphitheater outside of Denver and the Cheyenne Frontier Days in Wyoming.

Thunder Ridge immerses guests in nature, with features such as large sloping lawns and fire pits for groups of all sizes to enjoy. This expansion provides additional capacity without sacrificing the impressive nature-based character of the place.

Shaped in the foothills of the Ozarks and overlooking Table Rock Lake, the arena’s setting, near the Missouri-Arkansas border, allows visitors to see the Boston Mountains of Arkansas and be totally immersed in nature. Even the parking lots are tucked into the slopes. The teams have been working around the clock to prepare for upcoming major events.

Thunder Ridge is scheduled to host Thunder Days from September 23-25.


The host Missouri Thunder team, started by Johnny Morris and led by bull riding legends and Hall of Famers Ross Coleman and Luke Snyder, currently holds the top spot in the PBR Team Series standings, which has proven to be a very popular addition. to sport

The area has hosted bull riding events in the past, but nothing on the scale and excitement that the Missouri Thunder and other PBR teams will generate. This will be the first opportunity for local fans to get a taste of the sport that is gaining in popularity.

“Thunder Ridge is one of the most unique and beautiful places I have ever seen. It’s really impressive,” said Colten Fritzlan, one of the top individual riders in the PBR Team Series. “We can’t wait for Thunder Days to put on a show for our fans and bull riding fans everywhere.”

Tickets for Thunder Days are now available for purchase at


Future plans include adding a camping space to the area, providing more nature-based experiences and outdoor activities for visitors of all ages to enjoy.

Watch the Thunder Ridge Nature Arena video here