By Kyle Jillson | January 11 2013 11:42

Friends of NRA celebrates 20 years of friends, food and fun

Kings County Friends of NRA's original committee

Friends of NRA had a big year in 2012. The hugely successful grassroots fundraising program celebrated its 20th anniversary over the course of the year with more than 1,100 banquets across the United States.

What began as an idea between NRA's Wayne Sheets and MidwayUSA's Larry Potterfield during the 1992 NRA Annual Meetings in Salt Lake City has turned into one of the NRA's best programs for protecting our shooting sports heritage.

While brainstorming what he and his wife Brenda could do to raise more money for the Association, Potterfield came up with a fundraiser to be held at the MidwayUSA headquarters in Columbia, Missouri. The event was put together by a committee of volunteers who referred to themselves as "friends of NRA" - see where this is headed? - and raised a substantial amount of money from the 1,000 attendees.

NRA Foundation banquet crowd at the Edward Jones Dome

After receiving an extremely positive response once word got around, the Potterfields and NRA began to think on a national scale. Together, NRA and MidwayUSA constructed a nationally recognized program of NRA staff and volunteers that has done immeasurable good for our Second Amendment rights.

And the things we can measure look pretty great too. Now producing over $20 million annually, Friends of NRA has raised over $200 million for the shooting sports, held over 12,000 events and drawn more than 2.5 million attendees.

So what happens to the money raised at Friends of NRA events? It goes back into local, state and national programs as charitable and educational grants - all of it. From range improvements to conservation scholarships, Friends of NRA furthers our heritage by providing numerous opportunities for firearm enthusiasts to enjoy their sport.

NRA Foundation banquet bucket raffle

That original Friends of NRA committee in Columbia, Missouri still holds its monthly meetings at the MidwayUSA headquarters and was host to an extremely special fundraiser last spring. From NRA executive staff to Friends of NRA TV hosts Matt and Jessie Duff, it was a crowded and happy occasion.

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

Take a full look at what Friends of NRA is up to now all across the United States.

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