By Lars Dalseide | December 28 2011 08:25

Lars' Story #3 from 2011 - The NRA Annual Meeting in Pittsburgh

Steven P. Fjestad and John Bianchi (Bianchi Leather, Bianchi Cup) at the NRA Annual Meeting in Pittsburgh.
Number 3 on my list of top stories for 2011 is the NRA Annual Meeting in Pittsburgh. Being a Washington Capitals fan, I'll admit that I wasn't too happy to hear that the NRA was going to Pittsburgh. Entering The Steel City by way of a tunnel into a torrential downpour didn't help my expectations much either. Luckily, the people I met and the meeting itself were so impressive that I've revised my Pittsburgh perception (sans the Penguins of course.)

Greeted by NRA staff and guests, I reconned the area only to bump into Steven P. Fjestad of Blue Book of Gun Values fame ... on his way to a Pirates game no less. How's that for an Annual Meeting welcome? A quick night's rest and it was time to see the Lawrence Convention Center.

The main problem with the NRA Annual Meeting, and every Annual Meeting, is that there's so much. So much to see, so much to do and so much to take in that three days seems hardly enough. There was plenty to take in ...

There was the Pyramyd Air air gun Range, a Refuse to be a Victim class, a concealed carry class, a women's pistol instructor class, booths filled with all sorts of guns and gear, a Bass ProShop NRA NASCAR car, the Meeting of Members, Top Shot competitors, Donald Rumsfeld and the one and only Uncle Ted.

Bass ProShops NASCAR car at the NRA Annual Meeting

Wrapping it up on Sunday was our 2nd Annual Bloggers petting zoo. No, we weren't selling tickets for people to pet their favorite blogger. Instead we were allowing the bloggers to handle the guns that made up the National Firearms Museum's display. That meant the 1911s from the actual 1911 pistol trials. You should have seen the smiles. That was good to see.

Shotgun action from the NRA Annual Meeting in Pittsburgh
The action of a double-barreled shotgun brought to the experts at the Guns-N-Gold Showcase at the NRA Annual Meeting in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Because you never truly realize how luck you are to attend such events while you're in the middle of one. Seeing the bloggers glee over the guns helped remind us why we do what we do. Especially on the road with all the added responsibilities. Plus travel never makes the job any easier; where's the nearest Staples, did I pack the right belt, can you give a member/attendee directions to the nearest Kroger and what did that reporter from Channel 9 just ask? Being away from home makes taking care of those side issues all the more difficult to juggle

And there's always more to see. So much that if you take the halls at full stride then perhaps you can catch a blink of everything if you hurry. Eddie Eagle hit the area schools, R. Lee Ermey was his usual entertaining self, the Steel for a Steal gun raffle raised a lot of cash and the Antique Guns and Gold Showcase saw some beautiful privately owned firearms.

The mere immenseness of the event is enough to guarantee the NRA Annual Meeting a place on anyone's list. But it's #3 for me. Three days of NRA, Pittsburgh and all of you who help make our work possible.

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