NRA Day brings out thousands of shooters in Illinois
Bonfield, Illinois - On Saturday June 23rd, an incredible NRA Day Family Shoot took place in Illinois. In what was described by Illinois State Rifle Association President Richard Pearson as “The Big One,” the five-hour event saw approximately 2,409 people come out to shoot at the Association’s Headquarters Range. The direct objective was to get new people out to the range. With 40% of the people at the event having no experience shooting, that objective was certainly accomplished.
After a standard NRA safety briefing, participants stood in a line that at times stretched more than a hundred yards. Waiting for them at the firing line was a choice of rifles, pistols, shotguns, air guns, and even some bows provided by the nearly twenty sponsoring organizations. Receiving personalized training from an assigned instructor, novice and experienced shooters alike where allowed five to ten shots depending on the firearm.
The event allowed partakers to fix their sights on stationary targets as well as clay pigeons thrown from trap machines for shotgun shooters. There was a rimfire line set up for younger shooters, a center fire line designated for pistols, and an estimated 125,000 rounds flying down range by the time the day was done.
Many NRA members brought out their families with the hopes of carrying on the shooting sports tradition. The ISRA believes that this was the single largest one day safety briefing in the country. A day where participants learn basic rules and get to shoot. The event went without a hitch as the only injury of the day was treated with a band-aid.
Samantha Olsen of NRA Youth Programs had this to say. “It is a great program, and a great NRA day that helps spread the word to a large group of youth. Hopefully they will get involved in the shooting sports as a result. Our thanks to Richard Pearson and ISRA for their hard work. It was well worth it — the results speak for themselves!”
The ISRA started planning this NRA Day about a year ago and will begin planning for next year’s event in the week to come. With 215 shooting instructors and 60 volunteers, there was a great deal of work and organization that went into the preparation and execution of such a successful shooting sports outing.
“It was just a tremendous day," said Pearson. "There were lots of people and lots of families. Everyone had a good time. We are extremely pleased that all who were able to come, came. We look forward to next year ... and to a bigger event yet.”