Tisma Juett is only serious about two things: shooting and leading the National Shooting Sports Foundation’s (NSSF) First Shots program. When it comes to something as serious as the Ruger/Smith & Wesson Rimfire Rodeo, stand back! I’m pretty sure I felt all the available oxygen being sucked out of the area when Tisma started to focus. And when it comes to getting new people into the shooting sports, the game rises to a whole new level. One of her first projects upon taking the reins of First Shots was to schedule a series of events literally surrounding Washington, D.C. I think that’s called “throwing down the gauntlet.” Dear politicians: you think you got game? Ha! You’re rookies!

The NSSF Team, left to right: Bill Brassard, Tisma Juett, USA Shooting 3-time Olympian Matt Emmons (just photo-bombing here), Randy Clark and Steve Sanetti
The NSSF Team, left to right: Bill Brassard, Tisma Juett, USA Shooting 3-time Olympian Matt Emmons (just photo-bombing here), Randy Clark and Steve Sanetti

Hosting free beginner First Shots seminars requires cash, and that’s where the great folks at FMG Publications step in. Publishers of American Handgunner, Guns Magazine, American Cop, and numerous special issues, FMG has hosted the Shooting Industry Masters event to benefit First Shots and USA Shooting for 11 years now.

Not familiar with the Shooting Industry Masters? Let’s take a quick look at the top 10 Masters fun facts:

1. NSSF First Shots Benefits! Over the past 11 events, hundreds of thousands of dollars have been raised and donated to NSSF First Shots. That’s a lot of green that helps emerging “green” shooters become safe and proficient.

2. Olympic shooters can be bought! While the IOC might frown on the outright cheating and bribery, one of the fun parts of the Shooting Industry Masters is that teams can “purchase” a ringer from the U.S. Olympic Shooting Team to help improve their scores. It’s OK though, the competition is just for fun and fundraising.

"Are you seriously telling me this huge black powder rifle has hardly any kick?" But seriously, volunteers were on hand to teach, assist and welcome. Thanks!
“Are you seriously telling me this huge black powder rifle has hardly any kick?” But seriously, volunteers were on hand to teach, assist, and welcome. Thanks!

3. Bags of potato chips are much easier to open! Cody is about a country mile above sea level, so the air is about as thin as Eric Holder’s explanation for the Fast and Furious scandal. By the time all those snack bags, packed at near sea level, reach the heights of Cody, they’re as bloated as the Homeland Security budget. Just about ready to burst, they practically open themselves!

4. Roy Huntington’s outfits! American Handgunner Editor Roy Huntington set the dress code example for the whole FMG team. Sporting different period Western apparel every day, accented with a near-handlebar mustache, Roy set the pace for event spirit. Not to be outdone, the entire FMG team busted Bison chops big time to make this event not only fun, but organized and successful. Wow, those FMG folks are on the ball! And by now, very tired.

5. Oh snap! Bison steaks! Need I say more? I don’t recall eating a single carb all weekend. Well, except for elk steaks, but they are the second food group right?

6. FN’s new grenade launcher! You know the phrase Kentucky windage? What do you call it when you have to estimate holdover for a 40mm grenade lobbed at a UFO target 100 yards downrange? Maybe launcher lotto?

New products, like the Bullseye Camera System, were available to test in the side matches.
New products, like the Bullseye Camera System, were available to test in the side matches.

7. Free guns! What makes the Shooting Industry Masters such a success year after year is the generosity of the shooting industry–right after the tireless work of the FMG team, of course! Dozens of vendors donate money, products, time and talent to benefit NSSF First Shots and the USA Shooting Team. Money is raised through side matches sponsored by vendors where shooters pay five dollars for a try. Vendors donate products for live auctions and raffles. Vendors, teams, and other attendees bring copiously leaking wallets. All that comes together to raise lots of money for the good of the sport. Yay!

8. The Cody Firearms Museum at the Buffalo Bill Historical Center! Holy history, Batman! This museum is a hidden gem like no other. The firearms collection is immense. I mean seriously big. Like Michael Moore’s appetite for hypocrisy. Not only does the museum house an incredibly unique and interesting collection of arms and accessories, they have the original records from Olin Corporation. Want detailed searches for Winchester, Marlin, or LC Smith firearms? Contact the museum. Look for an article on the Cody Firearms Museum soon!

Britney Starr, taking time off from her duties at Women's Outdoor News and representing Team Hot Caliber, provides a friendly welcome.
Britney Starr, taking time off from her duties at Women’s Outdoor News and representing Team Hot Caliber, provides a friendly welcome.

9. Friends and (temporary) enemies! What a great place to catch up with what makes the shooting industry so great–the people in it. OK, so the taunting can get a little rambunctious, but it’s all in good fun.

10. Cody hospitality! Wow! Cody, Wyoming has to be one of the friendliest places I’ve been. And I live in Charleston, South Carolina so my expectations are high. The whole town rolled out the welcome mat to make this an enjoyable event. Dozens of volunteers helped run the shooting match stages and man the sporting clays stations. I’ve never seen a group of people more friendly, outgoing and welcoming. Love ya Cody!

Images courtesy Tom McHale

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  • Roy Huntington

    Tom,
    I promise I’ll work on my mustache to make sure it’s a full-scale handlebar by next Masters! Can’t thank you enough for your kind words, but confess it all belong to our friends in the industry. We offer a venue — they make the event happen. And the First Shots program ( and the USA Shooting Team) benefit. What’s not to like, eh?
    Thanks for your positive energy and kind thoughts.
    Roy Huntington
    Editor
    American Handgunner