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SHOT Show Isn’t All Shooting And Killing Stuff

January 31, 2012

You can hardly turn on one of the hunting channels these days without someone taking disabled kids, wounded vets, or some other special case into the field.  It’s a great thing, and an excellent use of the resources the hunting shows and their sponsors have available.

The SHOT Show reflects that philanthropic aspect of the industry as well as all of the shooting and hunting.  Several organizations that support the military were represented, as were the more traditional organizations such as 4-H and Kids and Clays.  If I tried to write about all of them, I’d be at it for days.  However, I attended press conferences for a couple that serve as good examples of what’s going on.

First of all, Bushnell Sport Optics threw a breakfast for the media.  After a run-down of their new products, they came back to the Folds of Honor program.

Folds of Honor was created by USAF Major Dan Rooney after his second tour in Iraq.  The mission of the organization is described on the Folds of Honor website as follows:

The Folds of Honor Foundation is rallying a nation to ensure no family is left behind in the fight to preserve American freedom. Through scholarships and other assistance, we give back to the spouses and children of soldiers killed or disabled in service to our country. We provide healing, hope and an opportunity for dreams to be realized…with the support of people like you. We feel this is our duty as citizens of the greatest country in the world.

This is Bushnell’s second year as a partner in the program.  Among other things the optics giant is doing, they’re offering a rebate on certain rangefinders.  The customer can then opt to donate part or all of the rebate to the Folds of Honor Foundation.  At this year’s presentation, Bushnell presented a check for $200,000 as a result of the generosity of the corporation and its customers.

Another cool aspect of the presentation this year was the appearance of Craig Morgan.  Morgan is a country musician as well as an outdoor television host (All Access Outdoors on The Sportsman Channel).  He performed a pair of songs he’d just written, and made an announcement about some work he might be doing soon to support the Folds of Honor Foundation.  I’ll let ya’ll know as soon as the news is official.

Later in the week, as I was sitting in the press room, a couple of NSSF people came through the room announcing a press conference.  I looked up and saw outdoor media luminaries like Jim Shockey and Jim Zumbo heading into the conference room, so I figured this might be worth checking out.

And it was…

The conference was to announce the kickoff of the Outdoor Legends Tour, a goodwill tour of outdoors “personalities” who would be heading over to “somewhere in the southeast asia area” to visit the troops.  Included in the group were Shockey, Zumbo, Michael Waddell, Brenda Valentine, Cuz Strickland, and many others.

From what I understood (where the heck did I leave my notes?), the tour would be similar to USO tours, only the celebrities would mingle directly with the troops, shaking hands, distributing swag, and generally doing what they could to provide a positive impact on morale.

As I mentioned, these are only a couple of the numerous programs and organizations driven by American outdoorsmen and the industry.  There’s an opportunity for all of us to take the hunt to a different level, share our heritage, and help out some folks who could really use a little extra good in their lives.

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