As the Summer of 2011 draws to a close, the most recent edition of NRA Club Connection is available for you to read online.

In this issue, you'll find articles on the increased use of electronic targets in all areas of the shooting sports, who earned the right to be named a 2011 NRA Gold Medal Club, how social networking helps spread the defense of the second amendment and a special message from past NRA President Ronald L. Schmeits.

All those stories and more can be found right now in the latest edition of NRA Club Connection.

Last night the Coors Building at the NRA Whittington Center here in Raton, New Mexico was packed to the gills as competitors, coaches, family, guests, volunteers, and staff gathered to celebrate the start of the 26th Annual NRA International Youth Hunter Education Challenge (YHEC)

The ceremony began with Bob Davis, Manager of NRA's Hunter Services Department, announcing each state as competitors entered the building carrying their state flag. According to Davis, there are 296 competitors, 77 coaches, and 46 teams from 17 different states, spanning from New York to Utah. 

Orienteering Event Director Bill Bower delivered the invocation, reminding all in attendance to marvel at the scenery and mountains that God has created, while asking the Lord to help coaches guide their competitors, and to watch over the young people who are carrying on the tradition of hunting here in America. 

Wayne Armacost, Executive Director of the NRA Whittington Center addressed the crowd next, saying: "It's an honor to have YHEC here again this year. We always look forward to having you all come to New Mexico."

Armacost also urged the youth to continue to exercise their rights and freedoms as Americans, adding: "The future of our country is sitting right here, and we're proud to have you here at the NRA Whittington Center."

Past NRA President Ron Schmeits was next at the podium, telling the crowd "YHEC represents the best of the best. I've met some of the finest young men and women here at YHEC."

Next to speak was Dave Butz, NRA Board of Directors Member, former NFL Player and two-time Super Bowl Champion. No stranger to competition, Butz spoke to the youth about being a good competitor. "Congratulations on getting here, now is your chance to shine. Help your fellow competitors by giving them advice and pick them up when they're down as they would do for you."

After Bob Davis introduce the YHEC Event Directors and NRA staff, he presented two awards. One was presented to the Raton Chamber of Commerce and was accepted by Schmeits, who also happens to be a Raton resident and President of a local bank. The second award was given to the NRA Whittington Center in appreciation for their help and was accepted by Armacost. Davis also thanked major YHEC sponsors MidwayUSA and Cabela's for their generous support.

The competition officially begins this morning, so stay tuned for more from the 2011 NRA International YHEC here at the NRA Whittington Center in Raton, New Mexico.  

The Members Meeting started just after the 10 a.m. bell rang in the David L. Lawrence Convention Center's Spirit of Pittsburgh room. After introducing the officers (including President Ron Schmeits, General Operations Executive Director Kayne Robinson and Wayne LaPierre) there was a video memorial for six fallen NRA officials.

NRA President Ron Schmeits is currently recognizing two WWII veterans who will lead the pledge of allegiance.

NRA President Ron Schmeits and Executive VP Wayne LaPierre cutting the ribbon to open the annual meeting in Pittsburgh Day one at the National Rifle Association's 140th Annual Meetings and Exhibits in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania was one to remember. Personally, I had a hard time finding the time to take focus on any one event. But here's what I've come up with for the top moments from day number one.

  1. NRA President officially opened the Exhibition floor by cutting the ceremonial ribbon along with Wayne LaPierre.

  2. The NRA Country Jam at the Stage AE Amphitheatre with Craig Morgan ...don't forget the fantastic opening offerings by Sarah Darling and Due West.

  3. Refuse To Be A Victim Seminars held in Room 407. Best way to make sure you and your's are as safe as you can be.

  4. The Celebration of American Values Leadership Forum. Newt Gingrich, Lt. Col. Oliver North, Senator Pat Toomey ... as if there could be a better way to spend your afternoon.

  5. Female Pistol Instructor Course. Making sure that there are more women out there teaching even more women the proper way handle a pistol.

  6. The #39 Bass Pro Shop NASCAR Car. Johnny Morris, owner of Bass Pro, is racing #39 at the fabled Daytona 500 as the NRA car ... and he brought it to Pittsburgh for all to see.

  7. Glock. Not only does Glock have their top team shooters (Randi Rogers, Dave Seving and Tori Nonanka) on site, but if you were patient, and could muster a smile, you could also have walked away with a picture and autograph from R. Lee Ermery ... the Gunny.

  8. Brian Zins and Chris Reed in the finals of Top Shot Season 2 on NRAblog
  9. Top Shot. The History Channel's Top Shot has been recording incredible numbers through season number 2. If you were paying attention, you might have caught a glimpse of George, Ashely and Chris Reed (winner of season #2) on the exhibit floor.

  10. Conceal Carry Seminar. Taught by retired Chicago Cop Tom Marx, this seminar (also taking place today at 2) this conference told you everything you needed to know if your interest rests in ability to carry a firearm almost any where you wanted to go.

  11. Steel for a Steal Raffle. Starting at 10 on Friday and running throughout the weekend, $20 bought you the chance to win one of 75 different firearms. The beauty of this raffle is that once they sell 100 tickets they draw a winner. And if you don't win, your ticket goes back into the pot for the next round. Sooner or later, you might just walk away with a heck of souvenir.

 

Just after Friday morning's ribbon cutting ceremony, people started gathering around the Glock booth (#2029) at the NRA's 140th Annual Meeting in Pittsburgh. But this wasn't for the usual reasons ... no demonstrations, no one-on-one sessions with Randi Rogers or Dave Sevingy, and no pictures with R. Lee Ermey. Instead, the people were there to witness an act of generosity, for Glock was about to hand out more than $100,000 to the National Rifle Association. In four separate checks, Glock donated:

Josh Dorsey, Ron Schemits, R. Lee Ermey - The Gunny - Chad Mathis & Kayne Robinson are there as Glock donates to the NRA at the Annual Meeting in Pittsburgh

$50,000 to the NRA. Representing Glock was Josh Dorsey and R. Lee "Gunny" Ermey as Ron Schmeits, President of the NRA, and Kayne Robinson, Executive Director of Operations and past NRA President, accepted the donation.

Josh Dorsey, Ron Schemits, R. Lee Ermey - The Gunny - Chad Mathis & Kayne Robinson are there as Glock donates to the NRA at the Annual Meeting in Pittsburgh

$50,000 to the NRA Whittington Center. Along with Glock VPs Josh Dorsey, Chad Mathis and R. Lee "Gunny" Ermey are Ron Schmeits, President of the NRA, Kayne Robinson, Executive Director of Operations and past NRA President, and Wayne Armacost, Executive Director at NRA Whittington Center, were there to accept the donation.

Josh Dorsey, Ron Schemits, R. Lee Ermey - The Gunny - Wayne Armacost, Chad Mathis & Kayne Robinson are there as Glock donates to the NRA at the Annual Meeting in Pittsburgh

$15,000 donation to the NRA Whittington Center Adventure Camp. Along with Glock VPs Josh Dorsey, Chad Mathis and R. Lee "Gunny" Ermey, NRA President Ron Schmeits, General Operations Executive Director Kayne Robinson, as well as Whittington Center Executive Director Wayne Armacost were there to accept the donation.

Josh Dorsey, , Chad Mathis, Ron Schemits, Glenn Hoyer Kayne Robinson & R. Lee Ermey - The Gunny - are there as Glock donates to the NRA at the Annual Meeting in Pittsburgh

30 Glock Pistols were donated to the NRA's Law Enforcement Division. In addition to Glock VPs Josh Dorsey, Chad Mathis and R. Lee "Gunny" Ermey are Ron Schmeits, President of the NRA, Kayne Robinson, Executive Director of Operations and past NRA President, as well as Glen Hoyer, NRA Director of Law Enforcement, were there to accept the donation.

 

Earlier this morning, NRA President Ron Schmeits was joined by NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre, officially open the National Rifle Association's 140th Annual Meetings and Exhibits in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center.

Arkansas Game & Fish Wildlife Officer Michael Neal, NRA's 2010 Law Enforcement Officer of the Year on NRAblog The NRA’s Law Enforcement Officer of the Year Award, established in 1993, acknowledges an exceptional act or service by an American law enforcement officer. This year, NRA's Law Enforcement Division recognizes the actions of Arkansas Game & Fish Wildlife Officer Michael Neal.

On Thursday, May 20, 2010, West Memphis Arkansas Police officers Brandon Paudert and Bill Evans were brutally murdered while conducting a routine traffic stop. The suspects’ mini-van was located in shopping center parking lot. Crittenden County Arkansas Sheriff Dick Busby and Chief Deputy Wren blocked in the vehicle and immediately came under fire.

Spotting the gunfight, Arkansas Game & Fish Wildlife Officer Michael Neal readied his patrol rifle and rammed the suspects’ vehicle. More than a dozen rounds pierced Officer Neal's windshield, dashboard, and grill. He returned fire (through the windshield,) emptying a full 30 round magazine from his rifle. Out of ammunition, Neal withdrew, exited his vehicle, and took position alongside the more than 30 other officers who arrived upon the scene.

The encounter ended within minutes. During that time, more than 260 rounds were exchanged and both criminals were dead. With the exception of the first officers shot by the gunmen, no other officers or bystanders were injured.

“Officer Neal is a prime example of what a heroic and dedicated Law Enforcement officer does in the line of duty,” said NRA President Ron Schmeits. “Officer Neal proceeded to protect a fellow officer, that could have been anyone, you - me, but he risked his life to protect another. Congratulations to Officer Neal for his commitment to Law and Order and for being selected as the 2010 NRA Law Enforcement Officer of the Year.”

If you would like to nominate a candidate for the 2011 Law Enforcement Officer of the Year Award, you can call 703-267-1649, send email to ebailiff@nrahq.org, or visit www.nrahq.org/law. Entry forms must be received by October 15, 2011. Nominations may be submitted by the nominee’s agency head or by an NRA member. Nominations must also be endorsed by an NRA Life Member.

NRA President Ron Schmeits and NRA Executive Director Kayne Robinson got a lot of dust on their boots at the Range on a busy Media Day under sunny Nevada skies. The Range itself is out in the desert near Boulder City, but that didn't stop swarms of media and SHOT Show exhibitors from driving out for a great day of shooting. Both Robinson and Schmeits got in their fair share of target shooting, along with some effective networking.

NRA President Ron Schmeits tried out some of Blaser's finest guns, taking aim at a moving "boar" target system. We'll have more on this innovative equipment later.

NRA Executive Director Kayne Robinson knocked down a clay on his first try with this muzzleloader.

Robinson with the NRA's Sylvia Schneider and Bob Voegele of the National Muzzleloading Rifle Association.

NRA’s Competitive Shooting Division welcomed guests and sponsors to ‘Thank You’ breakfast at the Wynn Hotel this week in Las Vegas, Nevada. Hosted by Marketing Manager Woody Arenas, the tables were filled with familiar faces and those new to the effort.

“It was great to get such a big turnout,” said Arenas. “The Wynn really took care of us and everyone had a wonderful time.” Also on scene from the NRA was Executive Director of General Operations Kayne Robinson and NRA President Ron Schmeits.

“The programs, the competitions, the level of training that the NRA is able to provide to our members would not be able to exist without the support of you and your organizations,” said Robinson. “They simply would not work without you and thrive because of you.”

“That’s especially true when it comes to the young people,” said Schmeits. “As the future leaders of our country, it is crucial that we instill in them the ethics and character that competitive shooting demands.”

Before heading out the door, attendees were treated to a drawing for various gifts and goodies. An iPod, gift certificates, and a Red Wii Super Mario Brothers edition served as the big prizes. The Wii went to Cara Peebles of Otis Technology. “This is so great,” said Peebles. “I was telling my mother the other day how much I wanted the Mario Brothers edition for the kids. Now I have one. Thanks NRA!”

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