Shooters in southeastern Ohio will continue to enjoy some of the shooting sports in Washington and Noble counties this year thanks to the efforts of the Mid-Ohio Valley Committee of the Friends of the National Rifle Association. The chairman of the committee, John Lankford, said "Last year the committee volunteers sold raffle tickets, and held a dinner and auction to raise money for the local Friends of the NRA." These sales brought in $26,048, half of which is returned to the county in which it was raised, in the form of grants. "The other half of the money is used for educational purposes only. It can't be used for administrative costs, advertising, or anything else" stated Lankford.
The grants for this year were awarded by the State Delegates to the local Bulls-Eye 4-H Shooting Sports Program, and the Bulls-Eye 4-H Club Rifle Team to fund the purchase of targets, ammunition, target rifles, safety equipment, and other needed items for the youth group. Also funded for 2012, was a collaborative project between 4-H and the Eagle Scouts Program of the Boy Scouts of America in which an Eagle Scout candidate can complete his personal growth project by building a permanent archery range with a shelter at Camp Hervida. The Women On Target Instructional Shooting Clinic, aimed at teaching women how to safely handle and shoot firearms, is an NRA program hosted by Fort Harmar Rifle Club which was, also, fully funded by grant money this year.
The dinner/auction last year was sold out early with 300 people in attendance. The amount of money raised put the Mid Ohio Valley Committee in the ranks of the "High Caliber Club" of the Friends of the NRA. This rating is achieved by collecting over $25,000 in money for the year, and rewards the committee with a special item to offer at their dinner. This year the committee will have a Stainless Colt Commander semi-automatic .45acp pistol emblazoned with the NRA logo to offer as the special item at the auction.
The committee has been holding drawings for Kimber .45acp handguns throughout the county and has already given away a red-white- and blue fiddle signed by country artist and fiddle player Charlie Daniels. The fiddle is one of 100 in the United States which Daniels autographed for Friends of the NRA. Washington County was among the lucky places to receive one of these items for raffle.
The dinner this year will be held at the Holy Smoke Event Center on State Route 821 in Whipple, on Feb. 23. The social hour begins at 6 p.m. with dinner at 7:15 p.m., and will include a silent auction as well as a live auction with Charlie and Keelan McLeish doing the honors. Some articles to be up for sale this year will include a Henry "Golden Boy" rifle, a Chestnut Handle Catskill Drop Point "Knife of the Year" by Canal Street Cutlery and Legacy Quest Outdoors, a Jeep Pedal Car, a waffle iron which will imprint "NRA" in the middle of your breakfast, several hard shell and soft gun cases, and the "Gun of the Year," a Bennelli Ultra Light 12 gauge shotgun. This year's raffles will include the "Wall of Guns." These tickets give the winner the chance to choose from a large selection of firearms pictured.
Tickets for the dinner or raffles can be purchased from any member of the committee, or by calling (740) 373-4574.