CENTRAL CITY, KY (9/30/13) – The Central City Convention Center played host to a packed crowd Saturday night for the First Annual Banquet of the Paradise Friends of NRA.
Rick Hoskins, Chairman of the Paradise Friends of NRA, explained to reporters that the "Friends of the NRA is a charitable organization. The banquet is designed to raise money for shooting sports. So far this year The Friends of NRA in Kentucky has given over $67,000 to 4H shooting sports, Boy Scouts shooting sports, and education. That's what this is all about. This is not a political event at all. It's a charitable event to further the kids' interest.”
One great example of the Paradise Friends of NRA in action, Hoskins said, is assisting the county's enormous youth archery club.
"Right now, in Muhlenberg County, there is a large archery club. They have several hundred members. They are in the process of writing a request for money for that. If it's approved, we'll give them money to buy bows. The Friends of NRA can also sell them bows at a discount price. We also give money for ROTC shooting sports and high school shooting sports. Half the money stays here in Kentucky and the rest goes to the rest of the nation." Hoskins added.
Jarrod Douglas, Co-chair of the Paradise Friends of NRA said the event was "all about fundraising for youth shooting sports and firearm education programs. There are over eight hundred kids shooting archery in Muhlenberg County, there's around sixty kids shooting trap, and one or two shooting competitive rifle. Some of those kids will be here tonight."
Douglas added that the 4H Shooting team put together a gift basket that was auctioned off during the event.
Other raffle and auction items at the banquet included just about everything one could imagine...including a Kel-Tec KSG 12 gauge shotgun, a fiddle with case autographed by Charlie Daniels, and even a 3 day/4 night Argentina Dove Hunt, along with a host of other hunting gear and items of every sort. After all was said and done, over $13,000.00 was raised at the event.
John LaRowe, Kentucky Field Representative for the NRA noted that Saturday was the "first ever banquet in Muhlenberg County for the Friends of NRA program, which is the fundraising arm of the NRA Foundation. The foundation's mission is to raise money and provide grants for shooting sports programs, primarily directed at youth programs, women's programs, and improving the facilities and clubs around the country."
One touching moment came in the banquet when Jim Butler, of Calhoun, who saw two tours of action in Vietnam, was joined by his son, Seth, who served a year in Iraq, performed the ceremonial folding of the American flag flown over the U.S. capital, which was donated by NRA supporter U.S. Senator Rand Paul.
Randy Adams, aka "Big Country", SurfKY News Hunting and Outdoors columnist called the event "one of the most exciting events he's attended in Muhlenberg County. The Friends of NRA organization helps out so many different important programs across the state. It's an all-around great event, and helps to show support by those here tonight of our 2nd Amendment rights."
Sponsors of the event included Hoskins Insurance, First Security Bank of Ky., SMR Environmental Services LLC, Amos Service and Supply, Kevin Perry, Jarrod Douglas Insurance, the Central City Convention Center, Jean Jean's Catering and the Central City Walmart.
Since 1993 there has been over $1,300,000 in grants supplied to Kentucky Programs. Half of the money raised by each Friends of NRA banquet will be spent in Kentucky. The other half supports qualifying national-level programs like the Eddie Eagle GunSafe® Program, Women On Target®, and other educational and safety services.
Friends of NRA is a key grassroots event that supports thousands of community services related to firearm education, hunter safety, wildlife conservation, range improvements, youth marksmanship, law enforcement, and other shooting sports interests. Working with NRA field representatives, the members and volunteers organize banquets in their communities, complete with auctions, special drawings, and fellowship. Much of the merchandise at the banquets was donated or provided at reduced cost by hundreds of participating vendors.
Given the large turnout for the first banquet of this kind ever in the county, it would appear obvious that there is a bright future for the Friends of NRA in Muhlenberg County. According to Friends of NRA officials, preparation for next year’s Muhlenberg County banquet has already begun.