Bass Pro Shops Is Suing Ex-Cabela’s Employee Startups

SIDNEY, NE— Bass Pro Shops has filed suit against two former Cabela’s employees who started outdoor stores of their own following its 2017 acquisition of its former rival. The suits allege that both operators are in breach of non-compete agreements and are using stolen, proprietary information.

According to the Delaware Court of Chancery, Bass Pro Shops has filed suit against NexGen Outfitters, a Sidney-based outdoor retailer that acquired four acres of a local industrial park to build a facility on in June.

NexGen is led by four former Cabela’s employees: Ryan Wellman, Trent Santero, Mike Riddle, and Jeremy Nesbitt. Their roles varied from merchandising management to business development, and inventory planning.

Meanwhile, in the U.S. District Court of Delaware, a separate suit from Bass Pro Shops is targeting Matthew and Molly Highby, of Highby Outdoors. Both are former managers at Cabela’s. Matthew is the son of Dennis Highby, who served as Cabela’s president from 2003 to 2009; and served on the company’s board before its acquisition in 2017.

Both suits are seeking damages and the return of severance pay and profits from stock they received from Cabela’s. Both suits allege that individuals violated a 18-month non-compete clause upon leaving the company.

Neither NexGen Outdoors or Highby Outdoors appears to be fully operational as of this time. NexGen set a goal of facility completion as June 1, 2019; while the Highby Outdoors website is listed as under construction.