With Carroll County undoubtedly being among the biggest supporting areas of the Second Amendment, it’s no surprise a recent fundraiser for Friends of the NRA has captured the attention of national officials.
Organized about five years ago in Hillsville, the local chapter of the Friends of the NRA (National Rifle Association) hosted by far its biggest annual fundraiser April 6 at Kanawha Valley in Dugspur. Although the group only sold 125 tickets, it raised enough money to qualify for “high-caliber status” according to David Wells, NRA Field Rep for Eastern Maryland, Eastern Virginia and Washington, D.C.
“He told us it was an amazing increase from the prior years and it was phenomenal to hit high-caliber status with only 125 tickets sold,” said Chris Goad, Co-Chairman of the local Friends of the NRA Committee. “His words were that should be a release in the local newspapers. He does these events all over the state and I think to hit high-caliber status usually they have hundreds of people. So to have had such a successful event with that few tickets available was wonderful. We did sell out and we hope we are able to get all the people there that want to come moving forward. There were some that missed getting a ticket because we only had room for 125 and we hate that. That was the only downside.”
Goad said the April 6 event raised about $50,000 for the local group. Items that were auctioned as part of the event included the NRA Gun of the Year (the Daniel Defense V7), a Charlie Daniels autographed fiddle, jewelry, signs, paintings and much, much more.
“The Charlie Daniels’ fiddle alone brought over $2,000. They had a lot of raffles and games and it was just a real fun night. We had the food catered locally and it was really good,” Goad said. “Chris Ward is the chairman and then we have great committee members in Teresa Catron, Tommy Brown, Bobby Phillips, Brian Sutphin and Rodger Jennings. You never know what to expect with a new venue, but it went really well.”
Wells said “high caliber” is a status or term given to Friends of NRA committees that have raised $25,000 (Net proceeds) in a calendar year.
“The Southwest Friends of NRA held a premier event this year, and for the first time earned the title as a ‘high caliber’ event,” Wells said. “Preliminary figures are grossing $47,300 with a wet income of $25,700. Other than the special recognition, there are special exclusive firearms that will be made available for their event next year.”
A support arm of the NRA, Friends of the NRA is celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2017. Goad said the group does a lot for youth education to help educate folks in the area about shooting sports and gun safety. Half the money raised from Friends of the NRA fundraisers is given back to the state to fund programs and projects within the area. The other half goes to the NRA Foundation to fund similar projects on a national level.
“The grants provide us essential program funding and ensures availability of quality training and educational opportunities nationwide. It supports youth programs, women’s programs, range services, Eddie Eagle for real young kids, different clubs and associations, law enforcement, competitive shooting, national firearms museum and hunter safety services,” Goad said.
Friends of the NRA events boil down to one goal, fundraising for the future of shooting sports, Goad said. Since its inception in 1992, Friends of the NRA has held over 17,600 events, reached over 3.2 million attendees and raised over $600 million for the NRA Foundation, a 501(c)3 charitable organization. Each year, the NRA Foundation funds projects recognizing that America’s young people represent the future of shooting sports. Examples of local grants funded by the organization include Patrick County 4H, Blue Ridge Mountain Boy Scouts of America Council, W.E. Skelton 4H Conference Center Smith Mountain Lake, and the Radford University Trap and Skeet Club. Goad hopes groups within the Twin Counties will apply for grants to ensure money goes to support more projects closer to the area.
Obviously, Goad said Friends of the NRA is a group that strongly supports the Second Amendment. However, it is a group without political affiliations.
“We appreciate everyone’s right to vote but we are neutral in the political landscape,” he said. “That said, we are definitely huge supporters of the Second Amendment and your right to keep and bear arms.”
Anyone who wants to be involved with the local Friends of the NRA Chapter may contact Goad or Chris Ward. He said interested parties would then be put on an email listing inviting them to upcoming meetings and annual banquets.
Allen Worrell can be reached at (276) 779-4062 or on Twitter@AWorrellTCN