Industry Celebrates Shooting Fun At Family Reunion.
What an event! The 2012 Shooting Industry Masters set a number of records this year, most notably in the fun category, for those stepping to the firing line at this industry-only event.
“This is a blast!” “Loving it!” “The best event ever!” “It’s great relaxing with friends in the industry.”
These familiar refrains were heard repeatedly from first-timers and veterans at the Masters, which has built a reputation as the must-do event of the year.
“The folks who have attended our event for several years have told us ‘the Masters is like a family reunion.’ First-time participants are almost giddy when they check in, receive their shooters bags and see all the goodies inside. The Masters is truly unlike any other shooting or social event,” said Randy Molde, Masters chairman.
Owned and operated by FMG Publications, the Masters was held for the second straight year at the Rockcastle Shooting Center, Park Mammoth Resort in Park City, Ky. Eighty-two teams — a record number for the Masters — with 328 participants from around the industry enjoyed two days of shooting fun with their industry “family” on July 20-21. A record-breaking 34 sponsors supported the match.
“We might have to start calling the match the ‘Shooting Industry Masters Theme Park’ based on the number of smiles, fist-pumps and back slaps I saw at this year’s event,”
Molde said. “Rockcastle is an exceptional venue that allowed us to offer a variety of shooting sports experiences. We truly appreciate their hospitality.”
This year, in addition to the Masters’ three main shooting stages — Handgun, Rifle and Shotgun — the match offered shooters 12 imaginative side matches.
“We host many top-notch shooting competitions, and I have to say the Shooting Industry Masters is our crown jewel. It is a rare occasion when an entire industry comes together in one place. We are honored to host this event and get the chance to show off what we believe is the ultimate shooting sports resort in the U.S.,” said Nick Noble, co-founder and CEO of Park Mammoth Resort/Rockcastle Shooting Center.
Kentucky rolled out an abundance of Southern hospitality during the event, beginning with a welcome reception hosted by the Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce at the historic Lost River Cave Ballroom the evening before the match.
FMG added to the fun at the end of the first day of shooting with a ’50s Bash held at the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green. The evening featured a competition for those sporting fashions from the ’50s and a chance to enjoy “blast from the past” oldies tunes.
“I really enjoyed the cave reception the first night. I just thought that was an awesome environment for the initial get-together. Everybody just seemed so relaxed and seemed to have a great time,” said Joyce Rubino, Colt’s Manufacturing vice president of marketing and CFO. “The ’50s bash was a lot of fun. I had a blast just watching the FMG group.”
“The Shooting Industry Masters at Rockcastle was a hoot! We had a great time, from the cave reception to ’50s night at the Corvette Museum. The guys and gals at FMG did it again, and we look forward to next year,” said Steve Hornady, president of Hornady Manufacturing.
“I’m hooked. I really like the event a lot. It’s fun to see your peers in a different light. I especially like the side matches. Those were really a blast. We never get to shoot those types of things. I had never shot in a cave before. That was a remarkable experience,” said Joe Bartozzi, Mossberg senior vice president and general counsel.
“The Masters is a valuable concept. We’re all so busy doing our regular jobs, we oftentimes don’t get a chance to just sit down, stop and play around with the stuff we make. This is a lot of fun. I like the side matches,” said Tom Sullivan, Ruger vice president of Newport (N.H.) operations.
Supporting First Shots, USA Shooting
In addition to providing a unique opportunity for those in the industry to enjoy two days at the range, the Masters raises money for NSSF’s First Shots program and USA Shooting. This year, the Masters raised a record $54,000 for the shooting programs.
Through the sale of raffle tickets for a record number of donated prices, side-match shooting fees and an auction on GunBroker.com, the Masters raised a record $47,000 for First Shots. This brings the amount raised during the past four Masters for First Shots to $141,000.
“What an exemplary job FMG has done for the entire industry and First Shots! You have broken the $100,000 barrier with a bang — many bangs, actually. You deserve our grateful appreciation for all the fine contributions and publicity you give to our First Shots program,” said Steve Sanetti, NSSF president.
The auction on GunBroker.com, the Official Internet Auction Site for this year’s Masters, raised $8,345 for First Shots. FMG, through the 10 years of the Masters, has raised nearly $200,000 for NSSF programs.
“Smith & Wesson looks forward each year to supporting and participating in the Shooting Industry Masters. We enjoy the friendly industry competition and, most importantly, knowing we’re helping support NSSF’s First Shots,” said Jan Mladek, Smith & Wesson director of consumer marketing.
This year, the Masters also raised $7,000 for USA Shooting through the popular Rent-A-Ringer program and special auctions during the event.
“The USA Shooting Team is very fortunate and appreciative of the great support from FMG and the shooting sports industry, including the $7,000 in funding to help with the final preparation of Olympic shooters before traveling to London,” said Buddy Duvall, USA Shooting executive director.
The Rent-A-Ringer program drew praise from participants. Kevin Flores of Shooters Supply & Law Enforcement Equipment in Louisville, Ky., shooting with Team Daniel Defense, was impressed with their ringer, Collin Wietfeldt.
“You have to rent a ringer if you can, not just because it will help your team, but because you get the opportunity to see and shoot with such talent. It’s sort of like being an artist and getting to paint with Michelangelo,” Flores said.
USA Shooting athletes also provided firearm safety and shooting instruction during the Masters First Shots Orientation, held the first morning of the match. The orientation drew a capacity number of first-time shooters, who enthusiastically put their new skills to the test on the Masters’ three shooting stages and 12 side matches.
By Debbie Thurman
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