The National Muzzle Loading Rifle Association in Friendship, Indiana will hold its annual Fall National Championship Shoot, celebrating the muzzleloading sports and our Early American heritage, September 14-21. Amble amongst the beautiful autumn colors of the rural Indiana countryside that the “NMLRA” calls home as you watch black powder shooting competitions and take in the “living arts” historical crafts demonstrations featured in the Living History Center. The event grounds are located in southeastern Indiana about forty miles from Cincinnati, Ohio. Public attendance is welcome and encouraged!
The NMLRA exists to promote, support, nurture, and preserve the NMLRA’s and our nation’s rich historical heritage in the sport of muzzleloading through recreational, educational, historical, and cultural venues such as match competition, hunting, gun making and safety, historical reenactments, exhibits, museums, libraries, and other related programs.
The History and Heritage of Early America and Muzzleloading
At the Living History Center, an interactive and engaging “living history” area on the banks of Laughery Creek, visitors can learn and have fun. The Living History Center serves as a reminder of the importance of the historical heritage behind the sport of muzzleloading. The sounds of a hammered dulcimer, fiddle, bodhran, Irish whistle, and bagpipe music lilt through camp. Traditional craft demonstrations include woodworking, leatherworking, weaving, soapmaking, and many living history interpretations in camps scattered throughout the Living History Center. Youth activities include butter churning, bead stringing, an archaeology class, and candle dipping.
The Living Arts program will be sponsoring many traditional craft classes and activities. Learn how to tan a deerskin, discover the delicate art of scrimshaw, or hear the history of the American “Cow Boy Girl!” Special activities are planned for children, including a class where they can play with Lincoln Log-style kits, and get to make and take home their very own Fort. Children can have fun hearing about the 18th century fur trade while they trade for trinkets, and learn some French words and Native American sign language!
The NMLRA is partnering with the Annie Oakley Foundation Tom and Carol Schiffer to host an exhibit on Annie Oakley. The display will include many different guns of the era and type that Annie is known to have used in her Wild West Show days and as an outstanding competitor. Complementing the exhibit will be a display of period sidesaddles on loan from the Tippecanoe County Historical Association of Lafayette, Indiana, a case of prize winning model horses, and even a stick pony race for children! Museum hours are 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
National-class competitive muzzleloading shooting is a strong focus of this gathering. There are so many matches that there is truly something for shooters of all skill levels, and with all types of muzzle loading equipment. A special feature of the competition area is the Youth Range, developed by the NMLRA as a way to safely teach children how to shoot muzzleloading firearms and get them involved and engaged in the sport at a young age!
The Commercial Vendor area features a myriad of supplies for the serious shooter or the enthusiastic beginner. Many rows of booths offer merchandise ranging from guns and gun parts to books, period clothing, leather goods, and other supplies relating to the sport. In addition, the Living History Center provides for some interesting browsing and buying amongst the quality vendors of period merchandise and historical crafts. These vendors and artisans offer a wonderful opportunity to listen and learn from the experts in the hobby.
Enter address for GPS as 6219 S. State Road 62, Friendship, IN, 47021. Handicap parking is available. No pets are allowed except assistance animals. Gate hours are 8 a.m.-5:00 p.m. EDT September 14-21. Admission is charged for visitors 18 and up, and a portion of the parking fee benefits the local American Legion.
For more information on the National Championship Shoot and the living arts programming, contact the NMLRA at 1.800.745.1493, www.nmlra.org. For information about hotel and motel facilities and other area attractions, contact the Ripley County Tourism Bureau offices, 1.888.747.5394, www.ripleycountytourism.com.