Guns a Blazing

Friendship Shoot attracts
national caliber marksmen

Kentucky competitor Marsh
has exhibited skills for 22 years

By Helen E. McKinney
Contributing Writer

(June 2010) – The smell of blackpowder, the loud, reverbating click of a flintlock and the thrill of competition has led Tim Marsh to Friendship, Ind., for the last 22 years. A serious competitor in the National Muzzle Loader Rifle Association’ National Shoots, Marsh has received more than a few awards to attest to his skill as a marksman.
“My dad, Harry Marsh, taught me how to shoot,” said Marsh, 37. His father also builds primitive guns.

Tim Marsh

Photo provided

Stanton, Ky., resident
Tim Marsh (left)
received several
awards at the National
Shoot last year and
was inducted into
the Friendship Hall of
Fame three years ago.

For Marsh, guns are a hobby. He prefers shooting offhand, flintlock and percussion guns, and hunts quit a bit in the town of Stanton, Ky., where he lives. The shoot at Friendship is “a really good shoot,” he said.
A big advantage to his trek to Friendship is the chance to “meet a lot of people you see only once or twice a year.” His father competes at Friendship as well.
Marsh doesn’t like to brag much about his skill, but he was inducted into the Friendship Hall of Fame three years ago and has won the NMLRA National Championship three times.
He is one of many shooters who will compete in the 2010 NMLRA Spring National Shoot from June 12-20 at the Walter Cline Range. This year’s shoot also includes the Junior National Championships, Territorial Championships and the National RifleAssociation’s National Muzzleloading Championship.
Competitors can compete for both the NMLRA Spring National Shoot and the NRA National Muzzleloading Championship, said Terry Trowbridge, Director of Publications for the NMLRA.
There are two shooting ranges at Friendship: the Curly Gostomski Primitive Range and the Walter Cline Modern Range. The NMLRA plays host to two national shooting competitions at the latter range. In addition to the annual Spring National Shoot, the National Championship Shoot is held in mid-September.
During these shoots, shooters from around the world compete for national record scores. Competition categories include muzzle loading rifle, pistol, musket, shotgun, bench and slug guns, and tomahawk and knife throwing.
The NMLRA was established in 1933 in Portsmouth, Ohio, relocated to Dillsboro, Ind., and ended up at the present site of Friendship in 1940, said Trowbridge. The Walter Cline Range was established in 1942.
“Many shooters were attracted to old-time firearms at first because it was a cheaper way to shoot,” Trowbridge said. During the depressed times of the 1930s and ‘40s, individuals didn’t have enough money to target shoot, so they started competing. “Many shooters enjoy the friendly competition.”
The NMLRA’s Rand House Museum will play host to a wine tasting at the 2010 National Spring Shoot, Trowbridge said. Ertel Cellars of Batesville, Ind., will offer its wines for a wine tasting celebration in the afternoon and evening of June 12.
More than a dozen wines will be available for sampling and purchase. Ertel Cellars is a family owned winery located on 200 acres in Ripley County, Ind. Visitors will be serenaded by the sounds of Rick and Hillary Wagner of Jim’s Red Pants. They will be performing on the front porch of the Rand House.
The National Spring Shoot is also a time of learning, since many seminars will be offered on the different disciplines of shooting. A free shooting seminar will be given by three-time NMLRA National Champion Chuck Blender from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Saturday, June 12.
Muzzle loading vendors also exhibit their wares on Commercial Row during the National Shoots at Friendship. Guns, accoutrements and research books are just some of the accessories that will be available.

• For more information, call (812) 667-5131 or visit: www.nmlra.org.

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