Salem County Sportmen's Club holds 10th annual NRA Day

Firing a cannon to open NRA Day at the Salem County Sportsmen’s Club

Carney's Point, New Jersey - NRA Days are fun-filled family affairs. It's an opportunity to spend the day surrounded with all kinds of shooting sports activities in a safe community environment. Up in New Jersey, at the Salem County Sportsmen’s Club, they held their very own NRA Day this past weekend.

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Three year veteran of the George Montgomery/NRA Youth Wildlife Art Contest coming strong off Honorable Mention in 2011

Jackie Exchbach of Hillsborough, New Jersey enters a pika into the George Montgomery/NRA Youth Wildlife Art Contest

Fairfax, Virginia - The George Montgomery/NRA Youth Wildlife Art Contest gets a lot of entries each year, but only a handful can receive awards. These students put so much time and effort into their entries and we want to show them off as much as possible. Until the contest is judged, we're going to keep highlighting just some of the entries that catch our eye as they come in. Entries like this one by Jackie Eschbach of Hillsborough, New Jersey.

Jackie began entering our contest in 2010 at the age of eight and is now competing for her third time. In 2011 she even received an Honorable Mention in Category II for a great portrait of a mountain lion. This year she's toned back the ferocity and size, sending us a peaceful pika drawn with colored pencil.

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New Jersey teens arrive in dress whites to tour NRA Museum

Sea Cadets and League Cadets pose outside NRA Headquarters in Northern Virginia

Fairfax, Virginia - Yesterday, Saturday the 29th of September, marked the arrival of some very important guests at the National Rifle Association. Straight from the docks of Lawrenceville, New Jersey came the John T. Dempster Jr. Division of the Sea Cadets — a nonprofit organization that teaches teenagers teamwork, self-confidence, and leadership.

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Learn safety and prevention at NRA Refuse to be a Victim class

New Jersey group from an NRA Refuse to be a Victim class taken in Virginia

Fairfax, Virginia - NRA’s Refuse To Be A Victim® Program teaches the basics in personal protection. Not with firearms, but with preventative measures anyone can put in place. Lessons on where to park, where to walk, what to do before heading on vacation and more are taught in this program. Valuable lessons all.

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Joe Warner holds the golden ticket that resulted in a Rossi Trifecta long gun at the Essex County Friends of NRA Dinner Newark, New Jersey - What you see to the left there is the fabled Golden Ticket. Inspired by the 1971 classic Charlie and the Chocolate Factory where Gene Wilder plays the irrepressible Willy Wonka, the Golden Ticket was your admission to a place of wonder, imagination and (of course) candy. For the folks who attended the 2011 Essex County Friends of NRA Banquet at Mayfair Farms, the ticket meant just the same ... sans the candy.

In case your magnifying glass isn't working, the ticket reads:

This golden ticket ensures you the opportunity to win an extraordinary, unbelievable, phenomenal surprise. To qualify, you must bring this complete program with a guest to our 2011 FNRA dinner which will be held at the beautiful Mayfair Farms in West Orange, NJ.

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Sgt. Joseph Sente and his wife, in the center, pose with the couple who purchased an American Flag that he flew over Kandahar at a New Jersey Friends of NRA dinner on NRAblog Newark, New Jersey - Sgt. Joseph Sente from 2nd Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team of the 10th Mountain Division was in New Jersey a few weeks ago for the 2nd Annual Essex County Friends of NRA Banquet. A few years ago, he was in Afghanistan for Operation Enduring Freedom. Like many of those who served, he brought along a few things from home.

In addition to the standard supply of keepsakes and reminders, Joseph (in the center of the photo to the right) brought along five American Flags. They flew behind humvees, from flagpoles, and outside tents throughout his tour in Afghanistan. Primary locations of interest included Kandahar and Tarnak Farms. Kandahar served as the staging area for all coalition combat operations in Afghanistan and Tarnak Farms was one of the first training camps for Al-Qaeda ... now it is an American Training Center.

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Newark, New Jersey - The Second Annual Essex County Friends of NRA Banquet was held last night at Mayfair Farms in West Orange, New Jersey. Judging from the smiles in the crowd and the exhaustion of the staff, the event was a tremendous success. Breaking last year's attendance record of three hundred and seventy-one, local organizers estimated that this year's number broke the four hundred barrier ... but we're still waiting for final numbers. With skee ball and dart throws along with silent and live auctions, all were in high spirits and ready to peel open their wallets for the benefit of the local and national programs of the NRA.

Auctioning off the goods at the Essex Country Friends of NRA event on NRAblog

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Kids at a Friends of NRA event in Newark, New JerseyNewark, New Jersey - Those are some of the smiling faces I hope to see tonight at the Essex County Friends of NRA Banquet tonight. Right now I'm hitching a ride up to New Jersey with NRA Education and Training's Steve Hoback – a New Jersey native, don't you know. I'm trusting that Steve will be able to get us there in time and show me the sights of his beloved home state. And I'm also told that our old pal Anthony Colandro from Gun For Hire has something special planned upon our arrival. Colandro has something planned? Maybe we should rethink this New Jersey thing.

This will be my second Friends of NRA dinner. I know, I know; why haven't I been to more? The answer is simply that I'm usually on the road when the local events take place here in Northern Virginia, and I'm working other events when I'm on the road. So instead of telling you about the great banquets they throw right outside the nation's capital, I'll have to stick to my road stories at events like the one earlier this year in Phoenix and tonight's outing in New Jersey.

If you'd like to go to a Friends of NRA event, check out their website for details or come back here to NRAblog on Wednesday morning – that's when our own Kyle Jillson puts up the Friends Calendar for the week.

Until then, I'm off to Jersey.

Newark, New Jersey - Ranges and clubs across the United States are reaching out to their respective communities through NRA programs like the Youth Hunter Education Challenge, NRA Day, and the Winchester/NRA Marksmanship Qualification Program. One such example exist about three hours north of us at the Gun For Hire's new South Jersey location in Winslow.

"We opened two additional locations less than a year ago," explained Gun For Hire CEO Anthony Colandro. "It can be easy to lose site of the important things, like how we serve the community. That's why when one of our RSOs, ah Chuck Berwick to be specific, that's why when Chuck said he wanted to start using the NRWinchester/NRA Marksmanship Qualification Program, I told him to run with it."

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