Trailblazers Friends Of NRA Banquet Doubles Proceeds In Two Years
Published: June 14th, 2012
By: George Franke

Trailblazers Friends of NRA banquet doubles proceeds in two years

When I was a firefighter in New Jersey, I worked on the rescue truck. Over the years my team cut out lots of folks involved in accidents. One thing we always commented on was that we never found out what happened to the people afterwards. So, in the spirit of providing "how'd it go" information, here are a few updates on some of the events I attended over the past few weeks.

The Trailblazers Friends of the NRA banquet was a huge success monetarily. In speaking with Bruce McGowan, one of the leaders of the group, he told me that the net was just over $19,000. This is a fantastic amount from the community in such a tough economic time. John Fuller, Don DuBois, Bruce McGowan and their team need to be commended on the work they have done to bring in so much. When I was involved with the first Trailblazers banquet, we profited just under $10,000. So they've doubled the income in just two years. Fantastic!

Okay, so a lot of pats on the back go out to the Trailblazers team, and to all the folks who came to the banquet and spent money; and all the businesses, organizations and individuals who donated good or underwrote items that were on auction or raffle that night. The proceeds from the event are split 50-50. So half the money stays here in New York, and half is sent to the NRA Foundation for national programs.

In the past, grant money has been given locally to Iroquois Rod and Gun Club, New Berlin for renovations to tits clubhouse. Greene Rod and Gun Club received money to update its septic system, and Oxford Rod and Gun Club got money to put shelters over its shooting range. The Federated Sportsman's Clubs of Chenango County has been receiving money to send kids to NYSDEC summer camps for many years through the FNRA grants, and Safari Club International bought over $2,000 in shooting (bow and gun) supplies to assist at the Rockdale Rod and Gun Club Youth Day. So, the money goes to good programs and is well spent.

This year’s grant applications will be available starting in July. For more information, send me an email, and I'll put you in touch with the powers that be. Be sure to watch my column down the road for the 2013 dates for the Trailblazers FNRA banquet/fundraiser.


And for the hikers, it is now official. The entire main branch of Finger Lakes Trail was completely hiked on Saturday, June 2, 2012. All 562 miles were walked as part of 75 different hikes throughout the state, and nearly 560 hikers participated. Some were older (I won't say how much older), and some were as young as nine months. Some were seasoned veterans, and many were new to the trail.

The weather was cool and it rained early on as I delivered “The Grand Marshal of the event,” Ed Sidote, to one of the starting points up on Tower Road in East Pharsalia. Ed and I hiked a bit with the group in the morning, and rode home for a break while others took to the FLT and would meet up later. That afternoon, Ed and I went to the picnic at the Ludlow Creek Lean-To in McDonough. The hot dogs were plentiful, lots of cookies and snacks to go around, and a libation or two was well enjoyed by all present. Approximately 250 of the hikers joined one of the five post-hike picnics for fun and festivities. Ed said that his heart was warmed by the fact that so many people participated in the one day event that celebrated the trail he has loved for so long.

Hike organizers Larry Blumberg, Roger Hopkins, and Gene Bavis of the FLT Conference would like to express their thanks to everyone involved in making this a huge success. It could not have been accomplished without help from the regional hiking club affiliates of the FLT, the hike leaders and sweeps, the hikers themselves, the trail maintainers, the picnic planners, the people who worked diligently on publicizing the event, and Wally Wood, the person whose idea it was 50 years ago to create a continuous footpath across New York..

The Bullthistle Hiking Club would hope you will all consider joining them for the FLT's grand 50th birthday celebration at Keuka College June 15-17. For more information on that, please visit the conference website at But hurry, registration deadline for meals and lodging is fast approaching.



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