CHAPMANVILLE — Local businessman Riley Joe Evans was the big winner at this year’s Logan Area Friends of the NRA Banquet at the Chief Logan State Park Conference Center. Evans, who routinely supports charitable functions, won the grand prize of the event — a limited edition Benelli 12 Gauge Ultra Light semi-automatic shotgun featuring a special serial number, engraving and Crio multi-choke system.
The event was very well attended with coal miners, civic club members, businessmen and women, Shriners and even elected officials like Rupie Phillips, Danny Godby and Roger Muncy who all showed up to support a cause that fields grants to kids involved in outdoors activities across the Mountain State.
Evans was but one of many winners who walked away with thousands in prizes including second place winner Jim Charles, who won a Remington Model 1911 R1 Centennial .45 caliber pistol, and local businessman Roger Muncy who won a Weatherby .3oo magnum rifle and several other “dream gun” prizes. Guns, knives, artwork and other outdoors merchandise were raffled off and auctioned off at a fun-filled night that included dinner at the premier showplace in the mountains of Southern West Virginia.
Organizers of the event had been somewhat worried due to recent layoffs at area mining companies as well as a nationwide economic slump, but they were pleased when many local men, women and even children showed up to support the banquet, which funds around $100,000 in grants to youth organizations, Boy Scouts projects and outdoors clubs across West Virginia.
Friends of NRA Spokesman Jim Kilgore noted that it was the 20th anniversary for the program which has brought in 200 million in grants for young people over those years. The event kicked off with a prayer by local Kiwanian Steve Chapman, followed by the dinner itself. Local veterans and first responders were then honored. The event began in earnest with games of chance and an old fashioned fun filled auction with “the auctioneer” himself, the fast talking Denny Frost.
“We funded $98,000 in grants across West Virginia this year and this was a good year for our program in the Mountain State of West Virginia,” Kilgore noted, pointing to a list of grants to scouts and other youth organizations across the state.
Kilgore said those who want more opportunity to win and to help fund grants for youth outdoors sports can have another opportunity on Feb. 28 when an NRA banquet will be coming to Charleston.
“We set the date for next year’s dinner at October 17,” Roger Ramey said. Ramey and fellow co-chair Keno Muncy were honored by Kilgore for being “Top Brass” in their work for the Friends of NRA banquet, as well as fellow members of the Logan Area Friends of NRA. Ramey noted that one major thing that came out of last year’s banquet was the Coalfield Shooters Association which features organized monthly matches in Logan County at its home range at the Earl Ray Tomblin Industrial Park.
“You can find us at the Coalfield Shooters Association on Facebook,” Ramey added, saying that events like the annual banquet are important because they get young people involved in outdoors activities and create a new generation of shooting enthusiasts and patriots for the future.