Where else can you see the new “Indiana State Rifle,” take a class on log home construction, listen to hammer dulcimer music, talk to “Benjamin Franklin,” and learn to shoot a muzzleloading rifle? At the Spring National Shoot in Friendship, Indiana, of course!
The National Muzzle Loading Rifle Association in Friendship, Indiana will hold its celebration of all things relating to the sport and history of muzzleloading June 9-17. Early American living history demonstrations and classes, museum displays, black powder shooting competitions, shopping opportunities, a wine tasting, youth activities, and some of the finest commercial vendors in the muzzleloading community will be featured. The Spring National Shoot is an opportunity to view an important part of our nation’s heritage in operation. The event grounds are located in the rolling hills of beautiful southeastern Indiana about forty miles from Cincinnati, Ohio. Public attendance is welcome, and there are many things to see and do!
“Indiana State Rifle” on Exhibit June 9
The NMLRA is honored to have the privilege of exhibiting the newly proclaimed “Indiana State Rifle” in the NMLRA Education Building Museum on Saturday June 9, 2012, from 9 a.m. – 7 p.m. Grouseland Foundation, stewards of the Indiana Territorial Governor's Mansion of William Henry Harrison and future US President in Vincennes, Indiana, is proud to own one of only six known remaining guns made by John Small, the first sheriff of Knox County, Indiana, at a time when Knox County extended across the current states of Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin and Michigan. The “Grouseland Rifle” was made sometime between 1803 and 1812 during the “Golden Age” of the long barreled rifles.
House Bill 1283 in the Indiana General Assembly, which passed on March 6, 2012, designates the "Grouseland Rifle" as the official rifle of Indiana. The legislation was added to a bill authored in the House of Representatives by Rep. Kathy K Richardson (R-29, Noblesville). State Senator John Waterman (R-39, Shelburn) authored an amendment to the bill to include the adoption of the State rifle. The legislation was signed in to law by Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels on March 15, 2012.
Eighteenth and Early 19th Century Crafts on Display in the “Living History Center”
The most colorful aspect of the Nationals is the interactive living history program featured in the Living History Center. Located on the banks of Laughery Creek, this area reminds visitors of the importance of
the historical heritage behind the sport of muzzleloading. At various times throughout the Nationals, visitors might be treated to the sounds of French Canadian harmonies, fife and drums, Early American songs, or hammer dulcimer and bagpipe music. Scheduled programs and traditional crafts artisans include gourd art, blacksmithing, woodworking, a frontier scout horse encampment, weaving, 18th century medicine, and many more demonstrations in camps scattered throughout the Living History Center grounds. Classes and workshops include ones devoted to the arts of blockprinting, gourd baskets, log cabin construction, and leatherworking. Activities are planned for children, including an archaeology class, bead stringing, a Native American-style pottery class, period games, and candle dipping!
“Living Arts” Classes for All Ages!
The NMLRA’s “Living Arts” program will be sponsoring over twenty classes at the Spring National Shoot. Classes will take place on the grounds of the NMLRA’s Primitive Encampment/Living History Center, or in the Education Building. Subjects covered include sword play, natural dyeing, bow and arrow making, leatherwork, gourd baskets, classes for children, and many more! Additional information on these classes can be found at www.nmlra.org/pdfs/June12LivingArtsClassSchRegForm.pdf.
Wine Tasting with Ertel Cellars
The Southeastern corner of Indiana is home to a number of premier wineries, and Ripley County has one of the best. The NMLRA will welcome Ertel Cellars of Batesville, Indiana for a wine tasting fundraiser at the Education Building from 2:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. June 9. The winery will be bringing over a dozen different wines for sampling, and their wine will be available for purchase. As you sip and view the museum exhibits, which will also be open during the wine tasting, take some time to listen to the hammer dulcimer music of Tim Schaiper, who will be playing music to compliment the occasion.
Museum Displays at the Education Building
Two guest exhibits will fill the NMLRA Education Building Museum for the Spring National Shoot. Museum hours for the Spring National Shoot are 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. June 9 – June 16.
The first exhibit, put on by guest curator Guy Smith, will boast a large collection of antique powder flasks. Mr. Smith will be bringing original Colt revolvers and accoutrements, an original long rifle and powder horn made for a distant ancestor, and an original pistol recovered from Mackinaw Island many years ago. The second exhibit is focused on the Lewis and Clark Expedition, and is hosted by guest curators Robert Anderson and Ed Falvo. Anderson and Falvo participated in the Discovery Expedition of St. Charles, the official bicentennial reenactment of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Anderson is a descendent of the youngest member of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, George Shannon. He and Falvo will have reproductions of the clothing of the enlisted men both standard and military, rifle powder canisters, many of the firearms, Native gifts, flags that were used, cooking and eating utensils, a bull boat, writing desks, and a replica of the medical chest that was taken on the expedition. There will also be some original firearms, tools, and medical equipment.
The NRA’s National Firearms Museum will present a display from its collection during the Shoot. The museum collection will be accompanied by Senior Curator Philip Schreier and will be on display in the NMLRA’s Education Building museum June 9– June 11 from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.; and Tuesday, June 12 from 11 a.m. – 12 p.m. Included in the exhibit will be a Girandoni air rifle of the style used by Lewis & Clark from 1803-1806 as well as numerous other Lewis and Clark items of interest.
Exciting Firearms Competitions
National-class competitive muzzleloading shooting is a strong focus of this gathering. As a special feature this year, the National Rifle Association (NRA) will be bringing their Muzzleloading Championship matches to the Spring National Shoot! The NRA and NMLRA have teamed up to bring many new competition opportunities, as participants can now compete in the NRA National Muzzle
Loading Championships and at the same time shoot the NMLRA’s Spring National Shoot! There are so many matches that there is truly something for shooters of all skill levels, and with all types of muzzleloading equipment. A special feature of the competition area is the Youth Range, developed by the NMLRA as a way to safely teach children how to shoot muzzleloading firearms and get them involved and engaged in the sport at a young age!
The Commercial Vendor area features a myriad of muzzleloading guns and supplies for the serious shooter or the enthusiastic beginner. Many rows of booths offer merchandise ranging from guns and gun parts to books, period clothing, leather goods, and other supplies relating to the sport. The Commercial Row Vendors offer a wonderful opportunity to listen and learn from the experts in the hobby. In addition, the Living History Center on the event grounds provides for interesting browsing and buying amongst quality vendors of historical crafts.
Special Traffic Information
State Road 62 is closed between Dillsboro and Friendship. If you are coming from the east, take US 50 into Elrod and turn onto Friendship Road, which will take you in to Friendship; or take US 50 to Versailles to 421 South (stoplight at McDonalds), take 421 South to 129 South (1 mile from stoplight). You can then either turn onto Olean Road (about 5.7 miles) and go into Friendship (turning left onto 62) or take State Road 129 South to State Road 62 in Cross Plains (about 8 miles), then left on 62 and follow through into Friendship. If you are driving an RV or large mobile home we suggest that you follow the directions from Versailles to State Road 62 east; follow this through the town of Friendship, and the Walter Cline Range will be located on your left. (Enter address for GPS as 6219 S. State Road 62, Friendship, IN 47021.)
Handicap parking is available. No pets are allowed except assistance animals. Gate hours are 8 a.m.-5:00 p.m. EDT June 9-16. Admission is charged for visitors 18 and up, and a portion of the parking fee benefits the local American Legion. For more information on the National Muzzleloading Rifle Association’s Spring National Shoot and the living arts programming, please contact the National Muzzle Loading Rifle Association at 1.800.745.1493, www.nmlra.org.
Visitors attending the National Spring Shoot might also be interested in another area attraction, the two Flea Markets that are adjacent to the National Muzzle Loading Rifle Association’s event grounds. Flea Market activities are ongoing throughout the National Spring Shoot and hours vary. For information in regards to the Flea Markets, contact the Old Mill Campground and Flea Market, Gary Stutler, 812.667.5322, and the Friendship Flea Market, Jan Schnell, 859.341.9188, or 812.667.5645, www.friendshipfleamarket.com.
For directions to the site, and information about hotel and motel facilities, Bed and Breakfasts, restaurants, and other area attractions, contact the Ripley County Tourism Bureau offices,