NRA Board Member Dennis Willing knows a lot about competitive shooting, and that's no surprise. Willing, who is at the National Matches as a referee, has a long history with Camp Perry, the NRA, and competitive shooting. As a Camp Perry referee for the past eight years, Willing has a soft spot in his heart for the National Matches. "This is a very special place for competitors," Willing told NRAblog.
Since 1980, Willing has been involved in the National Matches "in one capacity or another." He has competed in the Pistol and High Power Championship, sometimes shooting both Championships in the same year. He became a referee at the National Matches after refereeing Police Pistol Combat (PPC) matches, a discipline in which Willing has also competed. Willing holds four Distinguished shooting medals including Pistol, Rifle, PPC Revolver, and PPC Semi-Automatic Pistol. His experience as a competitor and a referee is an asset to the National Matches, and lends credibility to the sport. More
As the sun rises over Lake Erie, the first relay of shooters are on the range, preparing to compete in the NRA .22 Championship. This event is composed of four matches that will be shot today: the .22 Caliber Slow Fire Match, the .22 Caliber National Match, the .22 Caliber Timed Fire Match, and the .22 Caliber Rapid Fire Match. The aggregate of these matches will determine the winner of the NRA .22 Championship. As with the other National Pistol Championships, three relays of shooters will compete for top honors.
Other events happening today include another day of learning and shooting for attendees of the NRA Junior Pistol Camp on Petraca Range, and tonight's Volunteer Banquet at the Camp Perry Clubhouse.
Last night, competitors, volunteers, staff, and special guests gathered in the Camp Perry Clubhouse for the Match Director's Reception. Everyone dined and mingled until Match Director Tom Hughes took to the podium to thank all of those involved in the National Pistol Matches. Hughes also introduced special guests such as Garrison Commander Colonel Dan Brown, Post Commander Lt. Colonel Barbara Herrington-Clemens, Board Members Dennis Willing and Dr. Dave Bennett, and of course, Mike Krei, Director of NRA's Competitive Shooting Division. A drawing for door prizes was also held for those in attendance, as pictured above.
The weather on Lake Erie couldn't have been more beautiful for the First Shot Ceremony, marking the beginning of the 2009 National Matches at Camp Perry. Hundreds gathered to witness the annual event and listen to keynote speaker Brigadier General Melvin Spiece, United States Marine Corps.
The event began with a smaller ceremony to dedicate the new Camp Perry Memorial Plaza, given by the Friends of Camp Perry. Tom Brown, past President of the Friends of Camp Perry gave the remarks to dedicate the area.
As the Ohio Army National Guard Band played, a host of special guests walked to their seats in front of Rodriguez Range. A Blackhawk helicopter soon appeared overhead, with three soldier parachuting out of the aircraft. As they drifted towards the earth, the entire crowd watched in awe. One of the soldiers brought the American flag to the ceremony, and the Lorian High School Navy JROTC Color Guard hoisted the colors towards the sky as the National Anthem played.
Once the colors had been raised, CMP Director Gary Anderson took to the microphone to welcome the crowd and introduce guests of honor including NRA President Ron Schmeits, Kayne Robinson, Executive Director of General Operations, and NRA Board Members Dennis Willing, Tim Powell, and Dr. Dave Bennett.
Anderson then introduce General Spiece, who delivered his remarks to the group before heading to the firing line. Assisted by Anderson, General Spiece donned a shooting jacket before lifting an M1 Garand and firing the first shot of the 2009 National Matches.
Check out the slideshow above of photos from the event, and come back to NRAblog tomorrow for more news and photos from the 2009 National Matches!
The National Matches have been held at Camp Perry since 1906, and one group of dedicated people make the events run smoothly and efficiently: the volunteers. Volunteers work in many capacities at Camp Perry, from Range Officers, to Statistics, staffing the NRA Store, and everything in between.
Outside of Petrarca Range this morning, volunteers gathered for their official briefing as a group. NRA Volunteer Coordinator Beth Epley began the meeting by introducing Mike Krei, Director of NRA's Competitive Shooting Division and Coordinator for the National Matches. Mike thanked the volunteers for their service and introduced honored guests including Kayne Robinson, Executive Director of NRA's General Operations, and NRA Board Members Dennis Willing and Dave Bennett. More
Several newly elected members of the NRA's Board of Directors recently enjoyed a tour of the NRA National Firearms Museum in Fairfax, Virginia. "This was our chance to illustrate the depth of our Museum to our newest Board members," Museum Director Jim Supica told NRAblog.
Supica joined Senior Curators Phil Schreier and Doug Wicklund (Wicklund is pictured above at left) in showing the Board members around the 15 galleries of the Museum.
More than 100 coaches, team captains, and match staff for the 2009 National Junior Air Gun Championship (NJAGC) gathered at the Camp Perry Marksmanship Training Center for a mandatory meeting. Chief Range Officer Floyd Houston began the meeting by addressing range operations and procedures for the crowd, including the importance of organization so that all relays begin and conclude on time.
Next, NRA Air Gun Coordinator Jessi McClain introduced staff and covered general housekeeping issues such as details on training sessions, a prize raffle, and the question on everyone's mind: T-shirt sales!
Match Director and NRA Board Member Patti Clark spoke to the group providing their ideas on how to grow and improve air gun shooting, and NRA National Rifle Coach Trainer Marcus Raab reviewed scoring procedures.
The first relay of competition begins bright and early tomorrow morning at 7:00 AM, so follow NRAblog for the latest updates and photos from the 2009 NJAGC at Camp Perry, Ohio!
Steve Hoback with NRA's Training Department brings us the following news after a recent trip:
NRA Sports presented a Sporting Clays Showcase in conjunction with the Country Music Awards. On June 10, 2009, 53 shooters showed up bright and early at the Tennessee Clay Target Complex in Nashville, Tennessee. Dave Butz, NRA Board Member and three-time Super Bowl winner with the Washington Redskins was on-hand to shoot as well as provide coaching to the competitors. Beretta USA provided Silver Pigeon and Black Onyx shotguns for the competitors to use. More
A small mural of Harlon Carter was on display at the Phoenix Convention Center for the NRA Annual Meeting this weekend. Carter led the association as executive vice president from 1977 to 1985. He is generally seen as one of the most influential NRA chieftains.
Carter was born in Granbury, Texas, but called Arizona home much of his life. He served in, and later commanded, the U.S. Border Patrol.
Carter career with the NRA started when joined the association at 16. He served on the NRA’s board from 1951 to 1969. Carter became the first director of the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action in 1975 before his promotion to executive vice president.
Donations to the NRA skyrocketed and membership tripled during his eight years leading the association.
Carter died in his home in Green Valley, AZ, in 1991.
Medal of Honor Recipient, State Governor, General, and NRA President
Fewer than 3,500 Americans have received the Medal of Honor.
Fewer than 2,500 Americans have ever been a state governor.
And only a select few American military servicemembers have ever been addressed as “general.”
Only one American, presumably, has earned all three titles in one lifetime.
That man is Joe Foss.
Foss was also the first commissioner of the American Football League, before it merged with the National Football League. He hosted a television program called “The American Sportsman” on ABC from 1964 to 1967. And he authored three books.
In one of his final assignments, Foss was the president of the National Rifle Association from 1988 to 1990. NRA members entering the Phoenix Convention center were greeted with a homage to the former NRA presidents. Foss, who died in 2003, wasn’t far from anyone’s thoughts this weekend in Phoenix.
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