Friends of NRA banquet set April 6 in Vermillion

Friends of NRA banquet set April 6 in Vermillion by M. Jill Karolevitz The fifth annual Vermillion Friends of the NRA banquet is set for Thursday, April 6 at the Eagle�s Club.

Doors will open at 5 p.m. A steak supper will be served, starting at 7 p.m., followed by a raffle and auction of limited edition items, including the Friends of the NRA gun of the year, a Browning Gold semi-automatic shotgun. The wildlife print of the year will also be featured.

The banquet is held as a fund raiser for the NRA Foundation, according to Bruce Plate, chairman of the Vermillion Friends of the NRA Committee. He added that the monies are then made available as grants for local programs.

�Fifty percent of the net proceeds from the banquet is designated for use within the state of South Dakota,� Plate said. �The other 50 percent is used nationwide.�

Trap clubs, 4-H Shooting Sports clubs, Boy Scouts of America, S.D. Outdoorswomen and rifle and pistol ranges all benefit from NRA funds, he added.

To date, the NRA Foundation has funded over 3,100 state fund grants for a total of $7.3 million, including youth firearms safety and education programs, hunter education, range development and improvement, support materials for training classes, women�s safety classes and wildlife conservation efforts.

�Locally, our 4-H Shooting Sports program has received in excess of $8,000 in the last five years,� Plate said.

The most recent local use of an NRA grant, made to the Clay County 4-H Shooting Sports Club and the Clay County Sportsmen�s Club, was to replace a clay pigeon thrower at the Clay County Sportsmen�s Club. Another $2,000 was donated by the Southeast South Dakota Pheasant Association for the project and individual club members also raised funds.

�Last year, the Yankton Sharpshooters Club received $1,800,� Plate said. �This year they will get a grant of $1,700 to promote shooting sports for youth and women. The Yankton County 4-H program will also receive a grant to purchase equipment.�

The annual Sports Fest, held during the summer at Clay County Park, is another activity that�s funded with NRA Foundation grants, Plate said.

�This program, now in its fourth year, is designed for 4-H members and anyone else who wants to participate,� Plate said.�We have several different areas of instruction, including first aid in an outdoor environment, trap shooting, archery and firearm safety, boat safety and muzzle loading demonstrations.�

Tickets for Vermillion�s Friends of the NRA banquet are $25 each for people over 18, and $10 for those under 18. Tickets can be purchased at Tigert Art Gallery at 22 West Main in Vermillion, or call 624-8418.

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