By Lars Dalseide | May 16 2013 09:01

Winners and favorites from History Channel competition teach kids the basics in Houston

Top Shot favorite Gabby Franco laughs with kids at the NRA Annual Meeting in Houston, Texas

Houston, Texas - On the first day of May, the Annual Meetings' NRA Youth Day welcomed more than a thousand kids to the second floor of the George R. Brown Center. Walking through the blue and white gateway, families were instantly greeted with a special wrist band, bags of popcorn, and tons of information about the shooting sports. A few steps more revealed crowns of faux antlers, vendors with samples and a once in a lifetime opportunity to learn from the best in the business.

"We wanted to do something special for kids," said NRA Recreational Shooting Specialist Samantha Olsen. "That's why we reached out to History Channel's Top Shot."

In reality, all she had to do was reach out to Chris Cheng, winner of Top Shot Season 4. Chris has been working with NRA Sports as Sam and fellow Specialist Andy Lander work on our new Airsoft 3-Gun program. Once Chris was on board the others fell into place.

"After speaking to Sam, I contacted Dustin (Ellermann) and Gabby (Franco) to see if they could help," explained Cheng. "It was an easy sell."

Top Shot winner Dustin Ellermann watches as a little girl fires an Airsoft rifle at the NRA Convention What they were selling was fun. A chance for the kids to try out NRA's new Airsoft 3-Gun event right there at the 142nd Annual Meeting in Houston. And who better to make sure the event goes off without a hitch than a three of America's best shooters … even if we're only talking about plastic BBs.

"There are so many smiling faces," Franco exclaimed. "So happy to be here (and) give it their best."

Moving from Dustin to Gabby to Chris, everyone under eighteen (most were under twelve) zeroed in with an Airsoft rifle, pistol and shotgun. With a brand new target system in place, the kids were full as smiles while they ping, ping, pinged away.

"It was awesome," said Derrick from Austin. "I use to watch them with my dad when they were on Top Shot. It was so cool meeting those guys and Gabby."

Much like the others, Derrick took his shots and rounded his way to the exits. Joined by mom and dad, they took another look at the tables, the snacks and the Laser Shot System beside the 3-Gun setup. Soon enough he was back in line for the 3-Gun.

"We saw a lot of that today," said Olsen. "It's a fun course to shoot and you get to hang out with the people you saw on tv. The kids are loving it. We couldn't have hoped for anything more."

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