A1F Starts a “Freedom Award”

posted on December 19, 2023

We know the mainstream media isn’t going to celebrate heroes for our Second Amendment freedom. And we know these heroes need to be celebrated; after all, they represent an ideal that helps others, by comparison, do more for the freedom that has given them (and all of us) so much.

So, as one more effort to celebrate and promote our Second Amendment-protected rights, the NRA’s America’s 1st Freedom is announcing an annual “Freedom Award” that will be presented at NRA Publications’ annual Golden Bullseye Awards ceremony in May.

With this decision made for America’s 1st Freedom to begin giving an annual Freedom Away, everyone involved simply said, “Well, the first award simply must go to Larry and Brenda Potterfield, co-founders of MidwayUSA.”

The rest of the winners of NRA Publications’ 2024 Golden Bullseye Awards—now in its 22nd year—have also been announced. The Golden Bullseye Awards recognize the firearm industry’s top products as voted on by NRA Publications’ staff editors.

“Last year was one of massive new product introductions from the recreational shooting sports industry,” said NRA Publications’ Executive Director Doug Hamlin. “As a result, the NRA Publications editorial staff had some tough decisions to make to identify the best all new products.”

The awards are selected by the editorial staffs of four of NRA Publications’ properties through a rigorous evaluation process, and they are each reviewed by NRA Publications’ management. The awards are presented by American Rifleman, “the World’s Oldest and Largest Firearm Authority,” NRA’s American Hunter magazine, the world’s largest circulation hunting magazine, NRA’s most contemporary Official Journal, Shooting Illustrated, as well as by NRA Publication’s fastest-growing web property, NRAWomen.com. And now also by America’s 1st Freedom.

For decades now, the Potterfields have been quietly (if you only read and watch mainstream-media outlets) creating opportunities for the next generation to join shooting teams and more. To NRA members, of course, there is nothing quiet about how much the Potterfields have been giving back.

First, the fine points: This award from the America’s 1st Freedom is for a person (or team) who has distinguished themselves as a standout defender of our Second Amendment freedom in business, politics and/or American culture. Some recipients might be defenders of our right to keep and bear arms in the political arena. Others might be doing so in Hollywood or in the media. And still others might be impacting the shooting sports in business in such a positive way that they are instrumental in enhancing and, therefore, saving this precious freedom for future generations. Whatever the case, they are being commended for all they do and have done for our freedom.

Particularly, the Potterfields have done so much for our freedom that it is difficult to sum it all up.

Incredibly, the Potterfields actually came up with the ideas that grew into The NRA Round-Up Program and Friends of NRA. Since the Potterfields began it in 1992, MidwayUSA’s contribution to The NRA Round-Up Program alone has exceeded $21 million. Friends of NRA, meanwhile, has now raised more than $800 million for The NRA Foundation.

“I think these ideas first began because of our interest in the NRA,” said Larry in a video interview with A1F.com. “I’ve been a life member since 1972 or something like that. So we started the gun shop in 1977 and we were members of the NRA. We were handling transactions. So we thought maybe we could get those transactions to include some money to change the future.”

As for The Friends of NRA, Larry said, “Well, with NRA Roundup starting that January, we found ourselves at the NRA show in Salt Lake in May or April in 1992. We were sending a check in every week for a hundred bucks or whatever it would’ve been back then, because at the time we were not a very big company.

“I thought, we can do more. So I said, well, when we get back to Missouri, Brenda and I will call some friends together and we’re going to have a party to raise money to defend our Second Amendment rights. Pretty soon it began to be called ‘Friends of NRA.’ That simple idea has now reshaped so much of our freedom.”

This, of course, is only part of what the Potterfields have done. They’ve long understood that their business should be in step with their passion for freedom. To help youth shooting sports, for example, they created the MidwayUSA Foundation, which has given over $54 million in grants to nearly 3,000 youth shooting teams.

The Potterfields have been so synonymous with generously working to build back a foundation for our Second Amendment freedom that we can’t imagine giving this first award to anyone else.



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