By ROBERT PIERCE • Daily Leader
Friends of NRA is a grass roots fundraising program that fosters community involvement, raises money and gives 100 percent of the net proceeds to qualified local, state and national programs.
Working with NRA’s Field Staff, thousands of volunteers nationwide are participating in the program by organizing committees and planning events in their communities.
In 2008 alone, Friends of NRA hosted 1,050 events and raised more than $15.8 million for the shooting sports. Since its inception, there have been 10,000 events and 2,000,000 attendees.
Locally, on Saturday, Sept. 26, the High Plains Friends of NRA will host its third annual banquet in the Seward County Ag Building, and Rick Chrisman, state field rep for the Kansas NRA, said the dollars raised from the banquet will go to help a variety of services the organization provides.
“Money goes to support youth programs, gun safety programs, women’s programs, firearms related programs for the state of Kansas,” he said. “We’ll have a live auction, silent auction, games.”
This is the Friends of NRA’s third banquet in Liberal, and Chrisman said local organizers are being sought to help with more events.
“We’re looking for more people interested in working with the program and developing it, keeping it going,” he said.
In the past, many Seward County residents have had to travel to Guymon, Okla., for its annual banquet, but Chrisman said the Liberal event will, hopefully, become a mainstay in Kansas.
“We do approximately 25 of them in the state in Kansas,” he said.
“Volunteers step up and agree to organize a committee. A committee goes out and starts selling sponsorships and tickets for the dinner.”
In addition to multiple games and a silent and live auction, there will be other activities during Saturday’s event, according to Chrisman.
“The committee’s doing some pre-event raffles for the gun of the year and the knife of the year,” he said. “The knife of the year and the print of the year will be on live auction.”
Chrisman said both state and national numbers are showing a healthy rise in terms of NRA members.
“I don’t have the exact numbers for Kansas, but NRA membership is doing quite well,” he said. “It’s climbing very rapidly. It’s in excess of 4 million members now.”
Tickets for Saturday’s banquet are $25 or $40 per couple, but no tickets will be sold at the door.
“They can contact Lance Kane at (620) 408-6946,” Chrisman said. “The other way they can get tickets and see some of the items that’ll be in the auction is to go to our Web site. That’s www.friendsofnra.org/ ks. They can purchase their tickets online and see some of the events we’ll have at the event there. We’ll have lots of donated items there too.”
Tickets can also be received locally by calling 626-3316 or 626-4565.
“They do not have to be a member,” Chrisman said. “There will be no politics or requests for membership at this event.”
Doors will open at 5:30 p.m. Saturday for fun and games.
“We’ll have dinner at 7,” Chrisman said. “The auction’ll start right after dinner.”