First thing’s first. Locate a local event, mark your calendar, and purchase tickets before they sell out! Friends of NRA events will vary in price, attire, and size. But whether you’re in high heels or cowboy boots, come ready to spend a couple of hours and a couple of dollars. You’ll see why shortly.
When you arrive at the event, there will be someone to check you in. You’ll then be met with tables full of amazing firearms and merchandise. You may notice some have buckets next to them, others have bidding sheets, and others have some nicely dressed folks standing behind them. It may seem overwhelming at first, but hey, that’s why I’m here!
First, let’s take a lap around the room. Look at the firearms and merchandise laid out on the tables at the silent auction, games, and the live auction. Get a feel for which items you may be interested in bidding on and which you will need to purchase raffle tickets for. The live auction items will be separate from all the others and usually positioned around the stage. From unique guns to exotic hunts to exclusive NRA merchandise and décor, the auction items are unique, custom, or limited-in-production, and in some cases… only available of Friends of NRA events. Here are some of the items you can bid on at this year’s events!
Okay, let’s start with the silent auction. In front of each auction item, there will be a bidding sheet with a starting bid at the top. If you wish to bid on the item, simply write your name and place your bid! The silent auction will often stay open until the end of dinner so keep checking back to make sure someone doesn’t out bid you! Many items will also have a “buy it now” option and for a designated price, you can walk away with that item right then and there.
Now let’s take a look at the tables full of items with different color buckets next to them. You should see a table nearby where volunteers can help you purchase tickets or start a tab. I recommend looking at all the items first to determine how many tickets you wish to buy (some items are going to be impossible to resist!). You’ll notice some of the raffle tickets are different colors, those correspond with the colors of the buckets. If you see an item you wish to win, place one, two, or how every many tickets you’d like in that bucket. Put them all in one bucket, or spread your tickets out among the items, it’s up to you!
On to the games! Games will vary at each event, but a popular one you may see is the Grid Board. Purchasing one ticket gets you a spot on the grid board. Write your name in whatever spot you choose and then if your spot is selected, you win a firearm! “So are you telling me that for $20 I could win a new revolver?” … Why yes, that’s exactly what I’m saying.
One of my favorite games is the Turkey Stab, which works in a similar way. You purchase a ticket, pull the ticket out of the turkey along with the NRA knife, and then you’re entered to win a firearm. Oh and you get to keep the knife! For many games, the winner will have their choice between two different firearms from rifles, shotguns, pistols, and revolvers. The gun that does not get selected will then be added to the live auction, but more on that later.
While you are “ooo-ing” and “aww-ing” over these incredible prizes, take the time to mingle with other attendees. The room will be filled with other 2nd Amendment supporters in your area and this is a great time to meet fellow gun enthusiasts and build new relationships. Friends of NRA events are also a wonderful opportunities to introduce your children to the world of firearms or maybe share your passion on a date night with your significant other. Come alone or with a group, it doesn’t matter when you’re busy sharing in the camaraderie of other like-minded people in your area.
Of course you can’t have a banquet without drinks, dinner, and dessert! Find a table with that fellow you were just swapping hunting stories with and hit the buffet! Events will vary, but at the event I recently attended right here in Northern Virginia, there was a cash bar and a buffet style dinner with a variety of dishes to fit any taste. Eat, chat, and go back for the pumpkin cheesecake (guilty!). The live auction items will be listed out in the booklet on your table, so take another look and figure out which items to bid on. And if you were still trying to decide if you wanted to enter to win that beautiful AR-15, do it now. Raffles, games, and the silent auction will only stay open until the end of dinner.
Okay, now the silent auction is closed and the winners of the raffle buckets and games will be announced. Get your tickets out, cross your fingers, and listen for your number to be called. There is no better feeling than hearing your ticket called and walking away with that shotgun you had your eye on. Didn’t have the best luck? Don’t worry, it’s time for the live auction!
If you have never attended a live auction before, get ready. The auctioneer really does talk about a mile a minute! Follow along with your booklet to see when your item is up next. Now, it’s time to be aggressive. You want to go on that week long safari hunt? Then you better be ready to outbid John Smith across the room!
The final item is auctioned off and the evening comes to an end. Your first Friends of NRA event is over and you are hopefully walking away with unique firearms, rare merchandise, new friendships, and the sense that your contributions have greatly made a different in the future of the shooting sports. The banquet I recently attended ended up contributing about $33K for The NRA Foundation…and that’s just one event, in one state! Personally, I can’t think of a more fun and exciting way to help ensure the future of the shooting sports. So what are you waiting for? Find an event near you today and find out how to get involved with your local Friends of NRA chapter!
Are you passionate about the NRA? Do you want to help the future of shooting sports in our country? Are you looking for a way to meet other like-minded people in your area? If you answered yes to any of these, then I have just the event for you!
Friends of NRA hosts fundraising events all across the country full of fun, fellowship, and firearms. Since 1992, Friends of NRA have held over 16,000 events, reached over 2.8 million attendees, and raised over $600 million. The money raised at these events go to The NRA Foundation which provides essential funding that benefits programs such as youth education, law enforcement training, hunter education, conservation, firearms and marksmanship training and safety, and much more.
Intrigued? Then, sit back and relax as I walk you through your first Friends of NRA event.