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2014 Indianapolis Annual Meetings

The 2014 NRA Annual Meetings & Exhibits officially opened as NRA President Jim Porter welcomed the crowd ready for three days of family fun and celebrating freedom with these words: "Nine acres of guns and gear ... are you ready?"

Porter, together with official sponsor MidwayUSA's Larry and Brenda Potterfield and their granddaughter, helped cut the ribbon to officially open the Exhibit Hall (below). "If you are a friend, then become a member," said Porter. "Get your family to join, get your kids to join." This emphasis on involving family in the love of the Second Amendment was a recurring theme throughout the weekend.

Within minutes, the Indiana Convention Center was alive with excitement as thousands filled the Exhibit Hall. With more than 600 exhibitors, educational seminars, celebrities and special NRA events, there was plenty to keep them entertained and informed.

The association's business was conducted at the NRA Annual Meeting of Members. NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre and ILA Executive Director Chris Cox advised the members about billionaire anti-gunner Michael Bloomberg's latest threat to our gun rights.

"As NRA members ... as good guys who still believe in what this country must stand for, we will stand together and fight for all of our values, all of our freedoms!" LaPierre declared.

"The 5 million members of the NRA will not allow Michael Bloomberg to lie his way, buy his way, or bully his way into taking away our Second Amendment rights!" Cox promised.

From one-of-a-kind hunting trips to Magnum, P.I.'s Colt1911, there was no shortage of interesting items up for bid at the National NRA Foundation Banquet and Auction, the NRA-ILA Dinner and Auction, and the NRA Women's Leadership Forum Luncheon and Auction. Country music fans were excited to hear Joe Nichols play at the NRA Country Jam and Sara Evans opened for the legendary ALABAMA at the Stand and Fight Rally.

With more than 75,000 attendees, the 143rd NRA Annual Meetings & Exhibits was a high-octane hit. Make plans now to join us in Nashville, Tenn., next year!

Lucas Oil Stadium also hosted thou- sands of NRA members who gathered for the Stand and Fight Rally, headlined by speeches and music in the name of defending our right to keep and bear arms. The packed house was electric from the opening prayer by Rev. Franklin Graham, to the last notes of ALABAMA's legendary guitars. In between, they heard speeches from former Alaska governor Sarah Palin and LtCol Oliver North, as well as additional music from country star Sara Evans.

Palin roused the house with a call to action against anti-Second Amendment forces: "There's an awakening all across this great land. It's building against this assault on our rights, our values, our traditions ... We don't need a fundamental transformation of America. We need a fundamental restoration of America. All that is good and free and safe and secure."

North likewise offered an impassioned defense of our right to keep and bear arms, while making clear the dangers we face from those who seek to curtail those rights.

One can't-miss event is the Pyramyd Air Air Gun Range. Because air guns can be safely fired indoors, it's the one chance that many show attendees have to get some trigger time with their families during the Meetings. "Each of our 25 firing stations has a range safety officer, so there's one-on-one attention for each shooter," reported Daniel Subia, NRA National Coach Trainer (Rifle). "We have all kinds of different air guns, from break-action .177-calibers to .45-calibers to PCP rifles ... anything you might want to try." At only $1 per five shots, this attraction drew thousands over the course of the show.

"Got guns?" The NRA Foundation's Wall of Guns was a huge draw again this year and raised well over $100,000 for the future of the shooting sports. Sponsored by Cabela's, Kel-Tec and Daniel Defense, and built by Legacy Quest Outdoors, the wall boasted nearly 80 firearms showcasing the latest manufacturer models. A $20 raffle ticket bought a 1-in-100 chance, and 81 lucky winners walked away with their choice of fire- arm. The new Century International Arms Draw of the Century Package gave purchasers even more chances to win guns. Luckily, one didn't even have to be present to win.

"As NRA members ... as good guys who still believe in what this country must stand for, we will stand together and fight for all of our values, all of our freedoms!" LaPierre declared.

One of the best things about meeting Kim Rhode is to discover just how down-to-earth and kind this five-time Olympic medalist is in person. "For me, it's all about spreading the love for this sport to the next generation," Rhode is famous for saying. It's part of why she generously donated her time to events like this one ... and why she cheerfully encourages her young fans to try on her many medals.

XS Sight Systems, a premium manufacturer of tritium night sights, added a new dimension of fun with a free photo booth. Marketing Manager Stephanie Pastusek remembered how she came up with the idea. "We were getting ready for this show, and I thought, 'How can we get everyone excited and involved?'" The answer came to her: Since the booth itself has a dark room (so you can see the night sights), why not set up a photo booth? Pastusek stocked the booth with fun props, bringing visitors in droves. "We'll definitely do it again next year," she said.

As visitors flocked to the booths of their favorite manufacturers, they discovered that many were offering chances to win guns. The National High School Rodeo Associa- tion (NHSRA) offered the chance to win a custom Weatherby Mark V rifle in .300 Wby. Mag. The rifle, valued at $14,000, features the NHSRA logo and comes topped with a Leupold riflescope donated by Leupold & Stevens, Inc., with the winner being drawn during the National High School Finals Rodeo, July 13-19. Rock River Arms will soon be releasing a new rifle, and challenged attendees to get creative by helping them name it. The winner will keep one for his or her own. Galco Gunleather offered the chance to win a $500 shopping spree, and Hornady Manufacturing did the same for its new RAPiD safe … all the more reason show attendees made sure to take their time strolling the Exhibit Hall, visiting as many booths as possible.

The 8th Annual Women's Leadership Forum Luncheon and Auction was a great success, raising more than $1 million to fund programs to advance women's participation in hunting and the shooting sports. Emmy and Golden Globe award- winning actor Tom Selleck gave the keynote address. Selleck, an NRA Board member, is well-known for his "Magnum, P.I." series. Selleck also donated a number of items from the series for the auction, including the "Pepsi watch," a Rolex that his Magnum character wore on the show, and a Colt 1911 prop gun that he carried.

The first annual NRA Women's Leadership Forum Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Brenda Potterfield of MidwayUSA for her exemplary service in support of the Second Amendment.

Since 2011, NRA Youth Programs, together with participating shooting- sports organizations like the Boy Scouts of America, Venturing, the National High School Rodeo Association (NHSRA) and Royal Rangers, has hosted the NRA Sports Youth Day on the last day of the NRA Annual Meetings. "It's a fun, activity- based experience for kids to come and participate, while they learn more about the shooting sports," said Claudia Olsen, NRA Youth Programs manager.

Kids up to 18 years old, along with their parents or chaperones, were invited to attend this free event, featuring an Airsoft 3-Gun challenge; face painting; a "living statue" dressed in Revolutionary War clothing; a mock campsite; wildlife identification challenge; magnetic fishing (always popular with the youngest kids); barrel racing with stick horses; cattle-roping tutorials courtesy of the NHSRA (with a dummy "cow," naturally); and more.

One can meet all sorts of interesting people at the NRA Annual Meetings, and one of the most special was Elizabeth Ann Staehler from Spring, Texas. It has been long-standing tradition during the Annual Meeting of Members to identify both the oldest and youngest Life members in attendance, and at just two months, the young lady from Texas earned such recognition. "She's a little quiet right now," said father Matt, "but she thanks you for a memory that will last a lifetime."

The oldest Life member was Morey Aedlemann of Richmond, Ind. "You better not have made a mistake, I'm not walking all the way up there for nothing," he joked as he took the stage. Spry for a man of 88, Aedlemann arrived at the microphone with a smile on his face and a story to share. "I just hunted in Africa last September, so I still have the will to hunt. The main thing for me is that I got a great wife, Sheighla. The best thing that you can acquire in life is a great wife. If I can't take her, then I don't go."

More than 300 folks attended a "Methods of Concealed Carry" seminar hosted by Tom Marx, a former Chicago police officer, gun writer and renowned instructor on firearm concealment. This four-hour lecture and demonstration regarding proper techniques for carrying different types of guns, holsters and ammunition focused on how to avoid the biggest mistakes made by first-time concealed-carry users. Proper holster selection, said Marx, is key. "I provide people with guidelines and urge them to look at things like their daily routine, their body type and their clothing in order to see the bigger picture." Seminars also offered plenty of focus on the hunting lifestyle. One highlight was wild-game-cookbook authors and stars of Trijicon's "The Hunt," Scott and Tiffany Haugen, offering their tips to maximize the flavor of game with "Wild Game Cooking: From Field to Table."

Another crowd-pleaser was "Puppy to Professional: Dog Training and Handling" with Cabela's pro staff dog trainer and founder of Quinebaug Kennels in Connecticut. The seminar discussed how to select the proper breed and breeder, covering important puppy basics before getting into detail on different drills and lessons, and advanced training techniques.

Another of the many seminars at the Meetings was "3-Gun 101," a quick synopsis of the exciting and growing sport of 3-Gun. Travis Gibson, a competitive 3-Gun shooter, was brought in by Cabela's to give attendees an overview of the sport. A roomful of folks ranging from new shooters to experienced 3-gunners looking to pick up tips gathered to hear Gibson's talk, getting a rough idea of what a 3-gun course of fire looks like in local, regional and national matches, as well as tips on where to find matches, what type of gear is needed and how matches are scored.

The author of the just-released "The Americans on D-Day: A Photographic History of the Normandy Invasion," historian and "American Rifleman Television" Field Editor Martin K. A. Morgan, delivered three presentations over the course of the weekend. Morgan packed the room for each of his talks: "The Men & Guns of the Battle of the Bulge," "U.S. M16: A Half Century of America's Combat Rifle" and "The Forgotten Guns of D-Day." And these were not some dry lectures; Morgan built in images of the guns and stories of heroic deeds of American soldiers from the beaches and hedgerows of Normandy to the frozen foxholes in Bastogne. In his talk on the M16, he chronicled the "black rifle's" development and early problems, and covered how it went from a rifle with a bad reputation to America's longest-serving standard infantry rifle.

If you know anything about NRA's Refuse To Be A Victim program, then you know it's an essential part of your self- protection toolbox. Interestingly, Refuse is one of the few non-firearm related classes taught by the NRA, but it always packs a room—and this year was no exception. The seminar teaches you where to park, where to walk, how to handle your Inter- net experiences and burglar-proof your home—all those little things that will make you just a little safer with every step you take. A perennial favorite at the Meetings since its inception 21 years ago, Refuse To Be A Victim is a four-hour investment in living a more secure and protected life.

A perennial favorite, Eddie Eagle passed his gun safety message to NRA's youngest members: "If you see a gun: Stop! Don't touch. Leave the area. Tell an adult."

Energetic NRA members packed the house for NRA Country Jam IV. Silhouetted against the NRA Country Jam logo, artists Joe Nichols and Jerrod Niemann performed hit songs to a sold-out crowd. The event was presented by Bushnell and the Folds of Honor Foundation, a charity that assists the families of fallen soldiers.

Nichols took a moment to thank military members and their families, and NRA members, before launching into his closing number. The NRA Country lifestyle is powered by pride, love of country, respect for the military and our responsibility to protect our great American way of life. It celebrates those values with concerts and events benefitting military and veteran services organizations, first responders, conservation organizations, firearm safety programs, and local charities making a difference in their communities.

Lucas Oil Stadium was the scene of the riveting NRA-ILA Leadership Forum. Attendees listened to speakers including Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre, NRA- ILA Executive Director Chris Cox, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, and Indianapolis Colts placekicker and four-time Super Bowl champion Adam Vinatieri. Speakers extolled the virtues of the Second Amendment and the importance of vigilant defense of the Right to Keep and Bear Arms.

Pence noted that "Indiana is a state that works, because Indiana believes in freedom." He later assailed those who would abridge that freedom via onerous anti-gun legislation, stating: "Firearms in the hands of law-abiding citizens do not increase crime, they help fight crime."

More than 700 people were in attendance at the 8th annual NRA-ILA Dinner and Auction, held in the infield of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Various firearms, artwork, hunts, optics and trips were auctioned off including a Beretta SO10 shotgun, a custom Jerry Fisk Damascus knife donated by Knife Rights and an original painting from John Seerey-Lester. One hundred percent of the proceeds from this event went toward protecting our firearm freedom and hunting heritage.

A perennial favorite, Eddie Eagle passed his gun safety message to NRA's youngest members: "If you see a gun: Stop! Don't touch. Leave the area. Tell an adult."

Champions of the outdoor lifestyle were everywhere in the Exhibit Hall, ready to greet their fans. The Sportsman Channel booth featured "Pig Man," also known as Brian Quaca (pictured above). "I love being here," he said. "What's great about the Meetings is the number of children and how the manufacturers in this community are supporting these kids." Of course, he wasn't the only celebrity present; the booth also hosted Sportsman Channel's stars Matt Hughes, Andy Ross, Mike Schoby and Cam Edwards of NRA News.

The National Prayer Breakfast has become a signature event of the NRA weekend, and that was clearly evident when more than 1,000 early risers gathered for worship. The program, sponsored by Trijicon and Universal Coin & Bullion, was heartfelt with much focus on the role of fathers, following in the example of the Heavenly Father. After NRA Director Joe DeBergalis led the invocation, fellow director and tireless Prayer Breakfast advocate Susan Howard welcomed everyone and remembered the pivotal work of former NRA President Joe Foss in launching the event. The morning's host was Dr. Tim Clinton, a Christian counselor who is the founder of an exciting new event, Wildfire Weekend, which brings men and boys together for devotion and fun in the outdoors. Chief speaker Dr. Franklin Graham, now the leader of his father's Billy Branham Evangelistic Association, preached to the rapt crowd, concluding with a wrap-up familiar to anyone who's ever heard either of the Grahams preach - a prayer for salvation.

The National NRA Foundation Banquet raised more than $500,000 to support America's shooting sports traditions thanks to the support of passionate attendees and donors including Henry Rifles, Ruger and Baron Technology. Wayne LaPierre greeted the nearly 2,000 attendees with an affirmation: "We Americans have a way of life no other people or nation has been able to duplicate. That's because no one else has the freedom we have, because no one else has our Constitution and Bill of Rights." Friends of NRA's Volunteers of the Year were honored and the crowd also heard from NRA Board member Gen. Leroy Sisco, Henry Rifles President Anthony Imperato, and executives from event sponsors Cabela's, Universal Coin & Bullion and Kimber. Guests played raffles and games, as well as bid on a live auction featuring guns, guitars signed by Ted Nugent, hunts and a Custom Diamondback and Taurus fishing boat.

Watch Videos From 2014 Indianapolis Annual Meetings

Wayne LaPierre: 2014 NRA Members' Meeting

NRA CEO & EVP Wayne LaPierre addresses the crowd and reminds that no other institution in the world but NRA is so unafraid to take a stand for what is good and right. The NRA is, and has been, the good guys, says LaPierre. As good guys, "we will stand together and fight for all of our values." The NRA Members' Meeting is an event of the NRA Annual Meetings & Exhibits in Indianapolis, Indiana. Originally aired on 4/26/14.

Jim Porter: 2014 NRA Members' Meeting

NRA President Jim Porter addresses the crowd at the NRA Members' Meeting in Indianapolis, Indiana. Originally aired on 4/26/14.

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NRA Annual Meetings & Exhibits

A celebration of freedom featuring acres of exhibits, premier events, educational seminars and workshops, and fun-filled activities.