Author’s note: I realize that there will be many articles published about the 2013 National Rifle Association of America Convention, with many different views and perspectives. My version of the event will be quite different than most, with a sprinkling of interesting new products, meeting new people, reuniting with old friends, and basically trying to see everything – a notion of which I realized on Sunday afternoon was not humanly possible. I will attempt to share the NRA Convention in Houston with a Bird’s eye view of Becky Lou’s World for the Weekend!
When I started planning for The 2013 National Rifle Association Convention I was even more excited than usual to have it so close to home. I live in Spring, TX – a town just north of Houston – and the drive would be fast and easy. The Bush International Airport is practically on my way to Houston as well, which made it easy to offer rides into town for peeps flying in on Wednesday.
Steve & Katie McKelvain of Baretta Holdings were the first wave of good friends to arrive for the the magnificent event and I was tickled to swoop them up at the airport – along with hitchhiker Jeff Reh of Baretta U.S.A who was lucky enough to catch the “Becky Lou Bus” into town. Although I think I dominated the conversation with my two very successful and interesting turkey hunts from the prior two weeks, it was nice to do a brief catch up with Katie & Steve as well. Jeff also squeezed in a word or two in edgewise before we arrived at the Hotel.
Regrouping and returning to the hotel later that evening, my husband Lou and I found the lounge area filled with NRA exhibitors and attendees. This included two gentlemen I had hunted with 2 weeks prior for a Benelli Writers Hunt – Franchi Product Manager Jens Kroughhad and Uberti Product Manager Dan Rice. Kroughhad had supplied Affinity Shotguns for the turkey hunting and Rice had supplied rifles and pistols for the feral hogs, resulting in several successful hunts at Sarco Creek Ranch. (My detailed account of that fabulous Turkey & Hog Hunt adventure is coming soon!)
It happened to be Katie’s birthday week – her actual special day was on Friday – so we planned a dinner that night at the restaurant of her choice, Trulucks! It was going to be my first trip to this very fine restaurant, and Katie had taunted me with stories of their infamous carrot cake for the last few years. Upon arrival at the fabulous restaurant, I began to anxiously await…dessert! It turned out to be unarguably the best carrot cake I ever had!
Thursday brought the second wave of friends, which included my marvelous mentor Joe Coogan of Benelli USA. It was great to scoot down to the Hilton America’s Lobby Lounge again for a few hours of socializing, seeing old friends, and making new ones! Dinner was to be at one of my favorite unique local restaurants for some “Goode’s Seafood”. The Campechana dish is to die for, or at least good enough to seriously consider it.
Friday morning brought me back to the airport for the third wonderful wave of friends – Joe & Renee Jakubik of Smart Targets, LLC – who were also our house guests for the weekend! We quickly headed down to the convention, with all intentions of dropping me off to attend the NRA Women’s Luncheon – which I was able to attend via a gracious invitation from a friend. I had misunderstood the location of the Luncheon however, so for the first time (but not the last) I was in the wrong place at the right time.
It was around 11:30 am when we first entered the convention center itself and it was already packed for the first of three days. When we walked in to register and begin our journey through the aisles the air of camaraderie was thick, warm and how can I say, cozy! Although surrounded by firearms and ammunition – with most people probably packing – I felt safer than in the street, a movie theater, airport, or any other “gun free zone”.
There was a quick break in the middle of day one as I hurried off for a late lunch with Katie in celebration of her actual birthday! It is always great to catch up with Katie as there are very few people that can make me laugh like she does. We picked up our great friend Joe Coogan along the way and had an incredible lunch at 3 Forks Restaurant.
I returned to the convention to find it packed with smiling faces and “Stand & Fight” slogans everywhere! I have heard the mood described as celebratory, which I think is an accurate description. Celebrating the fact that “we surround them” and that we are standing together! The variety of products was amazing – I am always interested in the latest and greatest of those. I have been known to do casual video clips with some of the people and products that I love, and this was no exception. Here are a few below:
- Benelli USA
- Rite for Rain
- Rock River Arms
- Flambeau Industrial Packaging Group
- WildEar Hearing Boosters (and protection)
- More Videos for more NRA Products
- Uberti Silver Boy 22 Magnum
In Houston and surrounding metropolitan areas it is not uncommon to see mounted police, and such was the case in the area surrounding the convention center. I absolutely love horses and am sometimes envious of how the cowboy police get to ride around all day. Then I stop to think of chasing a criminal on concrete and I get over the feeling quick! Renee and I stopped to pet the noses of these mighty fine horses and talk with the lucky riders, who handed us some peppermints to give the horses.
My horse, Vinson, decided he wanted another peppermint after I had already given him one and he began nibbling at my hand and sleeve. I am still surprised he did not get a chunk of my skin in his efforts to find more candy, but it was quite funny that he was so insistent. I had a great time chatting with the officer, and I found that these horses are boarded near my home in Spring, TX, so I will have to make a trip out to bring Vinson another peppermint soon.
As I approached the convention on Saturday morning, I had my first sighting of an anti-gun protest. It appeared to be a person in some sort of Chicken/Duck/Furry Suit holding a sign. Initially I thought it was an advertisement for a restaurant but looking at the sign helped me realize this was an attempt to promote gun control by exaggerating gun violence. There were some statistics scribbled on the board about the world’s suicide by firearms rate, with the US having one of the higher percentages. The sign ended with the statement, “and Ya’ll think I look Crazy?” Although tempted, I declined to answer.
With most NRA attendees focused on spending their precious time with like-minded people, the protesters were overlooked as mislead and uninformed. It seemed that the anti-gun presence had very little if any impact on the mood and success of the convention.
At the convention itself there were so many wonderful speakers, and although I was not able to attend them all, I have spent some time reading through articles, watching videos, and enjoying the same feeling of unity and security that I had while attending the convention. See the 2013 NRA CONVENTION SPEECHES and listen to these brave people who are willing to chance an IRS audit to “Stand and Fight”.
One of my favorites of these fearless fighters for freedom is Glenn Beck. I appreciate his straightforward frankness. He spares very few words for fear of ruffling feathers, and he has the words – and the guts sometimes needed to back them up – to express his views.
Fortunately I happened by the Beck booth while he was there to sign some T-Shirts and Books on sale to help support The Blaze TV. I summoned up my courage and requested that he actually personalize my book. He gave me a hurried glance then stopped and scribbled my name on the book! I was tickled pink! Lou was holding the camera snapping pictures and hollering “Get a picture with him”, and yes, as Glenn was stealthily executing his escape from the booth I asked if he would take a quick picture with me. I made sure to add “..but it would really be okay if you can’t, because I know you are busy and in such a hurry, and..and..“
That is when he turned to me and smiled stressfully saying, “I really don’t have time, I really.. really….. “ then he grabbed me, turned quickly and gave a big smile for the camera! Pressed for time, but being such a gentleman, he had just fallen victim to a lady’s polite request! I loved him even more after that than I already did!
The convention was a fantastic weekend full of friends, fun, and guns! The mood in and around the convention was comfortable and secure – quite possibly because it was NOT a gun free zone. The convention was packed with good red-blooded Americans looking at guns, talking about guns, and checking out all the extra goodies you need for your guns! There appeared to be a healthy respect for the republic of the United States. The mood of this highly publicized national event hosted by the National Rifle Association of America was one of great pride and an incredible sense of purpose. Was the convention a success? The proof is in the pudding – the attendance was up by at least 15,000 from the 2012 NRA Convention, which amounted to a total of 86,000! See The BLAZE REPORT.
Images courtesy Becky Lou Lacock