It’s Banquet Time: Captain’s Column (3.27.14)
By angelamontana

Posted: March 27, 2014

Montana sportsman and women support many fund raising banquets each year. I think you will agree there is no shortage of events and gatherings that hunters, anglers and shooting enthusiast can place their hard earned money. The non- profit organizations that put on these banquets are driven and supported by many local volunteers putting in their time and money to help their event become successful.

As a person that donates regularly to these events and banquets, I like to know where the funds are earmarked that are raised each year. So, when Todd Harrison, who is a volunteer of the Missoula Friends of the NRA Banquet, asked me for a donation for their upcoming banquet on Friday April 4th, I took the opportunity to ask him to give me an idea of where the money goes that they and other NRA Banquets in Montana raise each year.

“First of all Montana has been very supportive over the years as the NRA has raised over $5 and a half million dollars”, he said. That is certainly an impressive figure but what is even more important $2.8 million dollars have been invested in Montana shooting sports programs according to Harrison. He went on to tell me that $806,000 was raised by 23 NRA banquets in Montana that were held in 2013, which is a 39% increase from 2012. “Shooting club and ranges in Montana benefitted as we sent $112,000 to Montana 4-H shooting clubs and $170,000 to Montana shooting ranges”, added Harrison, ‘In fact we have paid out $572,000 toward 98 grants to 47 Montana 4-H clubs since 1994”.

The NRA also provides funds for other worthwhile organizations and causes like Women on Target, Boy Scouts, Eddie Eagle, Refuse to be a victim, Youth Education Summit, Hunters Safety, and Law Enforcement.  This Missoula Friends of the NRA Banquet this year will be held at the Double Tree Inn Edgewater in Missoula Friday April 4th. “Last year we had close to 300 people attend but the majority of them bought tickets a couple of days before our banquet or at the door”, said Harrison. While they don’t want to turn anyone away, ideally they would like to sell more tickets in advance so that they can get a better idea of how many folks will be attending.

“Tickets are $40 and they can call Rick McCool at 406-241-9946 or me 406-214-1343 or stop in at Missoula’s Les Schwab Tire locations on Brooks and West Broadway to buy them”, said Harrison. If you want to buy on line go to www.friendsofnra.org and click on the event tab. One of the highlights of this years’ Missoula NRA banquet is the chance to win a numbered NRA rifle or pistol. “We also will have a wide array of other merchandise that has been donated by local retailers so we are looking forward to a fun night and hope to raise some more funds to help Montana shooting clubs and ranges”.

(Written by Mark Ward – aka the Captain)