Stage 8 of the JP Rocky Mountain 3-Gun Competition is a combined rifle/shotgun course of fire set in and around the ruins of the old Van Houten Mines Company Store. This afternoon, top 3-gun shooters such as Andy Horner, Tate Moots, Dave Neth, Patrick Kelley, and the Army Marksmanship Unit's Daniel Horner and Robby Johnson took to Stage 8.

Competitors put their skills to test as they battled heavy winds during the long-range rifle shooting. The shotgun portion included stationary clay and steel targets, with two slug targets at the end of the stage. NRA Board Member Tom Gaines was on-site to see the action and spot long-range shots through his binoculars.

Take a look at the slideshow above to see some of the country's top 3-gunners at work.

The second day of the Professional Outdoor Media Association (POMA) Conference in  St. Louis, Missouri was packed with fantastic information and opportunities to meet those who cover the great outdoors. Capping off the evening was an NRA sponsored dinner where 1st Vice President David Keene highlighted the importance of their work as an effort to counter an increasingly hostile political climate.

"It's been said that successful tyrants make just about everything illegal and then enforce their laws inconsistently," he told the crowd. "We must be constantly vigilant that people have the right not only to own firearms but the means to participate in the activities that they love." 

NRA Board Smallbore Committee Chairman Bill Carter Earlier this week, NRAblog sat down with NRA Board Smallbore Committee Chairman Bill Carter.

When did you become Chairman of the NRA Smallbore Committee?

President Schmeits offered me the opportunity to serve as Chairman of the Smallbore Committee in June and I accepted.

So it just happened.

Just happened.

And your visit to Camp Perry?

Unfortunately, for me, it’s been a number of years since I’ve been to Perry and that’s exactly why I’m here – to spend as much time as possible with the competitors. Listen to what the have to say, take back to NRA headquarters what they have to say, share that with the Smallbore Rifle Committee and see what we can do to make this the best match we possibly can. More

NYSRPA President Tom KingAlbany, New York - New York State Rifle and Pistol Association President Tom King was second on the agenda (behind NRA's own Jack Baker) here at the Desmond Hotel in Albany, New York. He gave us a run-down of what State Associations do.

Tom tells the crowd to be active, always drive to increase membership, and don't be afraid to get in touch with the local politicians.

Mr. King also sits on the NRA Board and provides unique insight to insurance necessities of any operation. Sometimes its nice to have an insurance guy around.

NRA Board Member Herb Lanford at Club UAlbany, New York - Things here in Albany are just underway as Club University in the Greater North East.

For those who don't know, Club University travels throughout the United States to provide gun clubs and associations with all the things they didn't know: how to write a grant, improving your range, leadership principles, insurance guidelines, and much more.

Welcoming us here this morning is NRA Board Club & Association Chairman Herb Lanford. All the way up from South Carolina, Herb gave the crowd a rousing introduction to our program with promises of great information and details. So stay tuned for all the details. At least all the details we can release here.

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

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