My First Turkey with Benelli & 2011 NRA Show Recap #Video

March and April were busy for me. I have been deep in writing mode, working on my shooting how-to book. Writing a book is a lot of work, and I have learned so much about the process. I am really excited with the progress and can’t wait to share it with the world in October.

I had a chance to go on my first turkey hunt with Joe Coogan and Benelli On Assignment in Texas. Not only was it a thrill for me to shoot my first turkey, but the hunters were all women! We also had a little time to shoot some hogs—another first for me. I added two new guns to my wish list, the awesome Benelli Super Vinci and the Benelli R-1 in .338 Win Mag. We had so much fun, and I hope to have my story on the hunt published in the future. In the meantime though here’s a link to a quick video.

April wrapped up with the NRA Annual Meeting (NRA Show). The show was everything I had hoped it would be. Tens of thousands of people from all walks of life strolled through the red carpet aisles with smiles on their faces. The atmosphere was one of excitement. I had the opportunity to meet so many people and had an amazing time.

On Saturday morning, Smith & Wesson presented the newest member of Team Smith & Wesson, Trevor Baucom, to the crowd. I had the honor of bestowing on Trevor his blue team shirt, and it was an incredible moment. Smith & Wesson, Safariland and Atlanta Arms & Ammo together sponsor Trevor, a Blackhawk helicopter pilot wounded in Afghanistan. He’s a talented shooter and the ideal person to inspire disabled shooters and to encourage the shooting sports community to open doors to wounded warriors and disabled shooters so that they too can enjoy safe, fun shooting events. Seeing Trevor give a personal NRA Show tour to a disabled five-year-old boy was so moving! It was the highlight of the show for me.

I was also excited to see the number of women at the show, especially after a Pittsburgh Tribune-Review op-ed piece painted a rather misinformed picture of all NRA members. It was wonderful to see that stereotype blown away. The women of the National Rifle Association are a diverse and talented group! I met so many remarkable women, from bloggers and industry representatives to women who are members of the NRA Board.

I attended my first NRA Women’s Leadership Luncheon (the first of many, what I hope). I was thrilled to be seated at Sandra Froman’s table. As a former NRA President, she’s an intelligent and strong woman whose dedication to the NRA is incredible. She’s quick to share a smile and is so personable. Did I mention that she can shoot, too? I first met Ms. Froman several years ago when I had the chance to shoot some practical pistol with her and several other ladies. She not only shoots well, but she clearly enjoys it.

There were a wide variety of attendees, from moms and grandmothers to young college students. It was a room filled with leaders, dedicated to women’s rights, human rights and of course, gun rights, dressed in everything from beautiful dresses and suits to show floor attire and jerseys. There was an atmosphere of unity, as women and as people dedicated to the NRA cause. I am so proud to have been able to be a part of it.

The guest speakers at the luncheon were Lynne Cheney and Elizabeth Cheney. It was an informal discussion, a rare opportunity to listen to women who are inspirational leaders and writers. We so often think of politicians and their spouses only as opinions and not as people. We define who they are based on their stance and how we personally feel about the platforms that are most important to us. It wasn’t a stuffy speech with fist pumping and chest beating. Instead, we were treated to stories of motherhood, family and pride in being women. We all left with a copy of Lynne Cheney’s book, A is for Abigail: An Almanac of Amazing American Women. It’s one I can’t wait to read to my daughter.

Back on the show floor, I bounced around to three different booths, Smith & Wesson, Safariland and Benelli USA. The number of people who introduced themselves from Twitter and Facebook accounts made me smile. I love that social media allow gun owners to stay connected all over the country and the world. I found myself answering several of the same questions throughout the show and thought, Ah ha! I should share these on my blog!

Q: How much ammo do you shoot?
A: In a year, anywhere between 35,000 and 50,000 rounds.

Q: How many competitions do you travel to?
A: I travel to 12-15 matches a year.

Q: How do you do it all—manage shooting, working, writing and being a mom?
A: My life is pretty busy, but I get to do the things I love, from work, to shooting and of course being there for my little one. The book has been a fun challenge and it’s already something I am very proud of. I get to live my dream and focus on what I am most passionate about.

Thanks so much to everyone who stopped by, and I really appreciate all the kind comments. I am even more dedicated than ever after this NRA Show. It was wonderful to see all the smiles and excitement among those attending the show, the amazing products and companies. As a mom, though, I was thrilled to see so many kids! Of course, seeing them all made me miss my munchkin all the more, but it also filled me with great pride and hope for the future. It’s a show I hope to bring her to one day!


All views and opinions expressed here are all mine and do not represent those of my employers or sponsors. Links throughout this website may be affiliate links. For more info, read my disclaimer and disclosure page. Be safe & have fun! - JulieG