CONNIE SWINNEY • PICAYUNE STAFF
MARBLE FALLS — Coach and team coordinator Guy Taylor says participants on the Burnet County 4-H youth precision rifle team can learn invaluable lessons with each competition.
“It shows them there’s a positive and safe side to firearms competition. They learn that handling firearms can be a safe sport if it’s done correctly,” said Taylor, who leads a staff of four coaches. “It involves mental development, responsibility and safety. It involves patience and improves their ability to concentrate.”
The group, which competed April 11 in Callahan County, just received word they were awarded a Burnet County Friends of NRA grant of about $7,300 to purchase as many as five new rifles for their nonprofit organization.
“We would not exist without them. That grant helps us buy the precision rifles. That’s our major expense,” Taylor said.
The local Friends group through the NRA Foundation, the fundraising arm of the national organization, recently awarded several groups grants valued at more than $20,000.
Grant recipients were the Burnet County Sheriff’s Office, $6,000; the Marble Falls Police Department, $4,500; the Burnet County 4-H Youth precision rifle team, $7,300; and the Burnet Youth Shooting Club, $5,000.
“As far as the youth shooting teams, we’re training the next generation of youth for the shooting sports, teaching them safety, hunter education programs, competitiveness and all the things that go along with that,” Friends chairman Mark McDonald said. “Law enforcement can’t possibly get everything they need from a budget. This takes pressure off their budget every year.
“It allows them to purchase supplemental gear to enhance safety, training — all the aspects of law enforcement that are important to the public,” he added.
An upcoming event for the Burnet County group generates the money for grant recipients and supports the foundation’s efforts.
The Burnet County Friends of NRA banquet is 5:30 p.m. April 23 at Lakeside Pavilion, 307 Buena Vista Drive.
The event will include a live auction, prize giveaways including a safe and firearms, a wall-of-guns prize wheel and a cook-to-order ribeye steak dinner.
Tickets are $40 in advance and $50 at the door.
The annual banquet, in its fourth year, raises tens of thousands of dollars and attracts about 350 supporters.
“We have a great turnout during our fundraisers,” McDonald said. “We’re able to raise the money because of an amazing group of people who support the shooting sports and law enforcement.”
To purchase tickets, go to Outfitters Rods, Barrels and Strings, 1008 U.S. 281, or call (830) 693-4613 or (830) 693-7520.
Go to www.friendsofnra.org to find out more about programs and membership.