By Kyle Jillson | March 7 2012 18:13
Founders of MidwayUSA Larry and Brenda Potterfield.

This year Friends of NRA is celebrating its 20th anniversary. The wildly successful grassroots fundraising program began with an idea between NRA's Wayne Sheets and MidwayUSA's Larry Potterfield at the 1992 NRA Annual Meetings in Salt Lake City.

Brainstorming what he and his wife Brenda could do to raise more money for the Association, Larry decided to hold a fundraiser at the MidwayUSA headquarters in Columbia, Missouri. The event, put on by a committee of volunteers calling themselves Friends of NRA, brought in 1,000 attendees and was a huge success.

Due to the positive response the Potterfields' event received, an opportunity was seen for this idea to work across the United States. Together, NRA and MidwayUSA began a nationally recognized program that now produces over $20 million annually.

To date, Friends of NRA has held over 12,000 events, drawing more than 2.5 million attendees and raising $180 million.

All proceeds raised at Friends of NRA events go back into local, state and national programs as charitable and educational grants. From range improvements to conservation scholarships, Friends of NRA furthers our heritage by providing opportunities for firearm enthusiasts to enjoy their sport.

The original Friends of NRA committee still holds its monthly meetings at the MidwayUSA building and this year's fundraiser is expected to be the largest in its 20-year history. Special guests expected to attend include NRA executive staff as well as Friends of NRA TV hosts Jessie Harrison and Matt Duff.

In a press release on the occasion, Larry spoke of the program's success:

“Brenda and I couldn’t be happier with how the seed that was planted back in 1992 has grown,” said Larry Potterfield. “Today’s FNRA events are much better planned and executed than the first one; and, of course, there is a national FNRA office to provide support. One thing we didn’t envision was the value the NRA would get by mobilizing NRA volunteers in over 1,000 communities, and getting NRA members together at the annual events.”

Thank you to all the committee members, volunteers and – most importantly – event attendees for a wonderful 20 years. Here's looking to 20 more.

 

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