Las Vegas, Nevada - Yesterday afternoon, members of the hunting and shooting industry gathered for the introduction of this year's Brownells/NRA Youth Shooting Sports Ambassadors:
Boy Scouts of America: 17-year-old Will Turner from Matthews, North Carolina.
National High School Rodeo Association: 16-year-old Jesse Rogers from Bloomfield, New Mexico.
USA Shooting: 17-year-old Brandy Drozd from Bryant, Texas.
Royal Rangers: 17-year-old Jared Hill from Salem, New Jersey.
BSA Venturing: 20-year-old Josh Nolan from Dawsonville, Georgia.
National Rifle Association: 18-year-old Olivia Cashman from Wisconsin.
These six young men and women are members of various NRA Youth Cooperative Organizations with shooting programs and were chosen for excellence in academics, involvement within their community, and participation in the shooting sports.
Bill Poole, Director of NRA's Education and Training division, and Frank Brownell, President of Brownells, addressed the crowd and spoke of how important programs like these are for the future of shooting – including SHOT Show.
Those in attendance were also greeted by four-time medalist Kim Rhode of USA Shooting, who first competed on behalf of the United States at age 16 in the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia.
Rhode spoke about her experiences in the Olympics and the amount of time she puts into practicing. When in full-time preperation for the Olympics, Kim shoots around 1,000 rounds a day and estimates she has put 5,000,000 rounds through a shotgun in her lifetime. She added to the previous speakers by touching on not only the importance of youth shooting, but the benefits it can bestow. Youth Ambassador Brandy Drozd is a fellow USA Shooting teammate of Kim's and hopes to follow in her footsteps with numerous Olympic appearances.
Once the luncheon has ended and the ambassadors all got a chance to try on Kim's medals, everybody left the calm and quiet banquet room to rejoin the massive SHOT Show crowd.