Prepping for Day Two of SHOT Show here in Las Vegas, Nevada is ripe with dilemmas. What booth to visit, who we should stop and talk to, which press conference to attend, and by the end of the day where did the time go! So before we pack things up and head out for the day, I thought it'd be helpful if we provided a rough agenda.

First thing on the calendar is the Competitive Shooting Division's welcome breakfast. Then it's back to the NRA booth to meet Jessie Harrison & Matt Duff from the Friends of NRA television show, lunch with the Boy Scouts of America, a quick stop to Brownell's corner of SHOT with the NRA/Brownell's Youth Shooting Sports Ambassador's, and whatever else we can squeeze in from there.

So hold tight ... there's going to be a lot of action today on NRAblog.

NRA Youth Shooting Sports Ambassador Courtney Anthony on NRAblog As a continuation of our profiles on the 2011 Brownell's/NRA National Youth Shooting Sports Ambassadors, we'd like to introduce you to 19 year-old Courtney Anthony, from Lexington, Nebraska who is representing USA Shooting. Although she started out with a BB gun, Courtney is best known for her success as a pistol shooter.

My name is Courtney Anthony and I am a sophomore at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln studying Fisheries and Wildlife. I am an only child and grew up on a farm in central Nebraska. I enjoy reading, writing, singing, and working with animals, whether they are domesticated or wild.

My career in shooting began when I was eight years old and my Dad taught me the basics of shooting and gun safety with an old BB gun. I joined the Great Connections 4-H Club when I was nine years old and began shooting BB gun competitively. While in the Great Connections Club, I became interested in Sporter and Precision air rifle shooting. When I was ten, I decided that pistol shooting was my forte. After several years of competing in air rifle events, I also began shooting in .22 caliber sport pistol matches.

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Brownell's/NRA National Youth Shooting Sports Ambassador Bailey Kate Conner We've already introduced you to one of our 2011 Brownell’s/NRA National Youth Shooting Sports Ambassadors, and here's your chance to meet another of these incredible young people making a difference within the shooting sports and the Youth Cooperative Organization they represent. Next up is 17-year old Bailey Kate Conner from Malta Bend, Missouri:

I am one of the 2011 Brownell’s/NRA National Youth Shooting Sports Ambassadors, representing the National High School Rodeo Association (NHSRA). I compete in .22 light rifle and trap shooting within the NHSRA’s shooting sports. I also shoot trap through my Future Farmers of America (FFA)chapter. I am an avid deer hunter and I have started shooting a .45 caliber semi-automatic pistol.

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Our 2011 Brownell's/NRA National Youth Shooting Sports Ambassadors are about to begin their term and NRAblog will be introducing you to each of these amazing young people. First up is Garrett Walters, who you may remember as the second place winner of the 2010 NRA Outstanding Achievement Youth Award. As a resident athlete at the Olympic Training Center, Garrett Walters, 2010 NRA Youth Ambassador and resident athlete at the Olympic Training CenterGarrett is making a name for himself as one of the top young trap shooters in the world. Read on to learn more about Garrett:

Hi, my name is Garrett Walters. I’ve been selected to represent the NRA as a 2010 Youth Ambassador. I’m an 18 year-old Michigan native who considers himself a small town boy at heart. I’ve grown up in the heart of farm country on the outskirts of the very rural community of Burr Oak, Michigan. I recently graduated from Colon High School in June of 2010.

Until graduation, I lived with my parents, Dave and Wendy, and my 14 year-old sister, Katie, on our family farm. I am the fourth generation of the Walters family to farm the land where we raise corn and soybeans. Someday, I’d like to take over the family business and pass it down to my children.

Growing up on my farm has allowed me to be very involved in the outdoors. I enjoy hunting whitetail deer, waterfowl, turkeys, and small game. I also fish a lot during the summer months for large and small mouth bass, bluegills and crappie. Some of my favorite memories are those of my dad, best friends, and I hunting and fishing in southern Michigan.

Throughout high school I was involved in many youth organizations including Future Farmers of America where I was the Treasurer for our local chapter, Placement Star Farmer, 4-H, National Honor Society, Key Club, Environmental Club, and Students Against Drunk Driving. I am active in our local National Wild Turkey Federation, Ducks Unlimited, and Pheasants Forever chapters. I also was a member of the National Rifle Association, Scholastic Clay Target Program, Amateur Trapshooting Association, National Shooting Sports Foundation, National Skeet Shooting Association, Michigan United Conservation Clubs, and St. Joseph County Conservation Club.

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2010 Brownell’s/NRA National Youth Shooting Sports AmbassadorsNRA’s Youth Programs Department is pleased to announce the selection of six young people to serve as the 2011 Brownell’s/NRA National Youth Shooting Sports Ambassadors. During their term, these Ambassadors will provide a young person’s perspective on the shooting sports and serve as youth advisers on shooting sports topics involving young people. 

NRA’s Youth Cooperative Organizations such as Boy Scouts of America, National High School Rodeo Association, Royal Rangers, BSA Venturing, and USA Shooting nominated outstanding young people to represent their organization, Brownell’s, and the NRA at national-level events. Not only does the Youth Ambassador program encourage growth of the shooting sports, but it also encourages increased industry support of youth shooting.

Sponsored by Brownell’s, the program offers participants a wide array of benefits, ranging from cash awards and travel opportunities to meeting national shooting celebrities. The 2011 term promises to be a very exciting year for the new Ambassadors, who will attend the 2011 SHOT Show in Las Vegas and NRA Annual Meeting in Pittsburgh to represent their organizations and the NRA.

The six young men and women chosen to serve as Ambassadors in 2011 are:

  • Boy Scouts of America: 17 year-old Tyler Ebert, from Weston, Wisconsin.
  • National High School Rodeo: 17 year-old Bailey Kate Conner, from Malta Bend, Missouri.
  • Royal Rangers: 16 year-old Henry Jentz II, from Cincinatti, Ohio.
  • Venturing: 17 year-old Thomas Cunningham, from Canyon, Texas.
  • USA Shooting: 19 year-old Courtney Anthony, from Lexington, Nebraska.
  • NRA: 18 year-old Garrett Walters, from Burr Oak, Michigan.

Congratulations to our new Ambassadors, and stay tuned for more information on these young people, including profiles of each Ambassador, and their trip to SHOT Show.

We're continuing our feature articles written by the 2010 Brownell's/NRA National Youth Shooting Sports Ambassadors, and this week we have a report on the National High School Rodeo Association (NHSRA) finals from Ambassador Jessy Hagey from Tremont, Illinois. Jessy attended the event this July and was kind enough to share her recap of the rodeo and marksmanship showdown.

Youth Ambassador Jessy Hagey with members of the Army Marksmamship Unit and NRA Youth Programs' Claudia Olsen
Youth Ambassador Jessy Hagey (second from right) with members of the Army Marksmamship Unit and Claudia Olsen with NRA Youth Programs (second from left).

Gillette, Wyoming - The National High School Rodeo finals is home of rodeo and shooting events. The top four competitors in each state or province head to the NHSRA finals. This includes competitors in the Light Rifle and Trap competitions.

At the finals, contestants are allowed to bring their own gun and ammunition. We also provide guns and ammunition for those who don't have them. Weatherby generously donated 20 rifles to use for this year's finals. Each gun goes through a safety check to make sure it's equipped for the competition.

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Last week, we began a series of articles written by our 2010 Brownell's/NRA National Youth Shooting Sports Ambassadors as their term comes to and end. Each young person is providing advice on a specific topic related to the shooting sports. Here, 18-year-old Royal Ranger Michael Carter from Nampa, Idaho gives his tips for gearing up for hunting season.

Michael Carter and his trophy deer

Hunting season is one of the most exciting times in my life. Whether it’s just being with my dad, or the thought of a trophy bull waiting on the other side of the hill, hunting is something I look forward to every year. It seems that as soon as one season is over, I start gearing up for the next. But getting ready for any specific hunting season requires far more than just getting ammo the night before.

Sometimes it can require vigorous scouting and having a good season always requires practicing shooting. For the better part of my hunting career, I have been shooting a Remington model 700 chambered in 270. And no matter how much I trust the gun, I still find myself at least trying to make it out to the shooting range at least once a month.

Another main thing that you need to get ready for hunting season is your body. It never fails that even if you think you’re in shape, the first hill you climb on a cold frostbitten morning always tells you differently. That is why I make it a routine part of my life to work out and get in shape all the time, but specifically in the months leading up to big game season. Hunting has been and will forever be one of the most important parts of my life. That is why it is important to make sure that everything is in order so you can enjoy the season as much as possible.

Great advice, Michael, and good luck this hunting season! We'll have more stories from these exceptional young people, so keep checking back for more from our 2010 Brownell's/NRA National Youth Shooting Sports Ambassadors.

Amy Clark was one of seven young people chosen to serve as a Brownell's/NRA National Shooting Sports Ambassador in 2010. Amy is part of Venturing, which is a co-ed youth development program of the Boy Scouts of America. As their term comes to an end, each Ambassador writes a story that will help encourage other young people to get involved in the shooting sports. Here is Amy's advice on learning to shoot a shotgun.

Brownelle Youth Ambassador Amy Carter on NRAblog My name is Amy, and today I am going to teach you how to shoot a shotgun.

First, we need to start with a little background on shotguns. There are many types and gauges of this type of firearm. They can be broken down into some categories to help distinguish them.

First, there is the pump shotgun. After a shot is fired, the forearm is pulled back, which ejects the fired shell; and then the forearm is pushed forward, and a fresh shot is pulled into the chamber.

The autoloader shotgun uses the force of the recoil to eject the fired shell and pull a fresh shot into the chamber. The autoloader comes in two types, the semiautomatic and the automatic.

Another category is break-barrel shotguns, which commonly come in single-barrel and double-barrel designs. The double-barrel designs can be broken down into the side-by-side double-barrel, in which the barrels sit next to each other; and the over/under double-barrel, in which the barrels sit on top of one another. To load and unload break-barrel shotguns, you simply open the action.

Now that we have learned about the different types of shotguns let’s move onto the gauges of shotguns. The gauge of a gun is determined by the number of lead balls of a certain diameter it requires to make one pound. The common gauges are 10, 12, 16, 20, 28, and .410. The .410 is named for the diameter of the bore. The smaller gauge guns (10, 12, 16) tend to be heavier guns and have more of a kick.

For a beginner like you, it is smart to start out with a pump shotgun because they are reliable and relatively inexpensive. You also want to use either a .410, 28, or 20 gauge gun because they tend to be lighter guns with less kick.

Now you want to load your gun because you are ready to shoot. You want to stand facing your target with your left foot forward if you shoot right handed and opposite if you shoot left handed. Make sure your feet are spread no more than shoulder width apart. Next place the butt of the shotgun in your shoulder pocket which is the area below your collar bone and next to your shoulder bone. Then rest your cheek against the shotgun. Aim at your target and when you are ready squeeze the trigger quickly yet firmly.

If you miss don’t get discouraged. The more you practice the more comfortable you will become with the gun and the better you will shoot.

Great words of wisdom, Amy! Keep checking back, because NRAblog will bring you more stories from our 2010 Ambassadors who represent a host of different youth organizations. 

Pete and Frank Brownell enjoy cupcakes and conversation with the NRA Youth AmbassadorsWith more than 70,000 NRA members in attendance at the 2010 Annual Meetings and Exhibits in Charlotte, NC, in May, the Brownells Inc booth saw quite a bit of traffic.

"We've stayed busy, that's for sure," company President Pete Brownell told NRAblog on Friday afternoon.

Pictured at right, Pete and Frank Brownell took a moment to enjoy cupcakes and conversation with the NRA Youth Ambassadors. The Brownells sponsor this program as a way of insuring the next generation's involvement in the shooting sports.

"Without the generosity of the Brownells, the NRA Youth Ambassadors wouldn't have had the chance to be here in Charlotte, making all these important connections," Claudia Olsen told NRAblog. Olsen coordinates the Ambassador program and other youth cooperative organizations under the NRA's Education and Training Division.

Stay tuned on more from the Brownells/NRA Youth Ambassadors!

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