National Championship Shoot
September 11th – 19th, 2010
The National Muzzle Loading Rifle Association in Friendship, Indiana will hold its annual Fall National
Championship Shoot, celebrating the muzzleloading sports and our Early American heritage, September 11th –
19th. Amble amongst the beautiful autumn colors of the rural Indiana countryside that the “NMLRA” calls home
as you watch black powder shooting competitions and take in the “living arts” historical crafts demonstrations
featured in the Living History Center/Primitive Encampment. Opportunities abound for young people, from
learning how to shoot muzzleloading firearms under the tutelage of trained instructors, to exciting “hands-on”
craft activities designed especially for them! The event grounds are located in southeastern Indiana about forty
miles from Cincinnati, Ohio. Public attendance is welcome and encouraged! A special Opening Ceremony is
planned for noon on Saturday, September 11th, at the flagpole in front of the NMLRA clubhouse.
The NMLRA’s Mission
The NMLRA exists to promote, support, nurture, and preserve the NMLRA’s and our nation’s rich historical
heritage in the sport of muzzleloading through recreational, educational, historical, and cultural venues such as
match competition, hunting, gun making and safety, historical reenactments, exhibits, museums, libraries, and
other related programs.
The History and Heritage of Early America and Muzzleloading
At the Living History Center/Primitive Encampment, an interactive and engaging “living history” area on the
grounds, visitors can learn, laugh, listen, participate, and have fun. Located on the banks of Laughery Creek, the
Living History Center serves to remind both visitor and participant alike 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 a hammered dulcimer, fiddle, bodhran, Irish whistle, or bagpipe music. Denise Wilson and
Chance Heasty, a mother/son duo specializing in the French Canadian songs and sea shanty sounds of the 18th
century, will be appearing, as will Jim’s Red Pants, a perennial favorite at Friendship, with their own special style
of interpreting our Early American musical heritage. Tim Schaiper, an outstanding hammered dulcimer player
well known for his powerful and lilting renditions of historical music, is scheduled to play. Traditional artisans
and craft demonstrations include woodworking, leatherworking, basketmaking, weaving, soapmaking,
gunsmithing, and many more living history interpretations in camps throughout the Living History Center.
Special activities are planned for children, including butter churning, glass bead stringing, an archaeology class, a
“Children’s Trading Blanket” activity, a costume try-on booth, and candle dipping. Additional children’s
programs include “Play with Clay,” where kids learn how to make a Native American-style pinch pot, and “Rub-
A-Dub-Tub” where kids, combined with cold water, homemade soap, and an old fashioned washboard, create lots
of fun with bubbles! And what end-of- summer gathering would be complete without a watermelon seed spitting
contest? Pucker up!
The National Muzzle Loading Rifle Association’s Living Arts program will be sponsoring a number of traditional
craft classes at the National Championship Shoot. All classes will take place on the grounds of the Living History
Navio Occhialini, master bow maker and longtime head of the NMLRA’s Bow Range, will offer his class on the
art of primitive bow making at the Primitive Encampment/Living History Center September 14th and 15th.
Instructor supplies the materials to build a Woodland-style bow and three arrows, as well as a “how to” DVD.
Some tools are required, and a list can be obtained by contacting the instructor. Cost of the class is $200.00, and
is payable at the time of the class. Pre-registration is required, as class size is limited! Instructor needs potential
students to contact him at least two weeks before the class, so that he can select the bow stave that will make the
student’s desired bow and give the student the list of items to take to class. Contact Navio at 317.872.4920 or at
firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
Wayne Troup of Vintage Leather will be teaching a class on belt pouch making Monday, September 13th , from
10:00 a.m. to 12: p.m. in the Primitive Encampment/Living History Center at his tent. Wayne has been a
professional leatherworker for over thirty years. Besides participating in the NMLRA’s Lore of the Laughery and
the two Shoots, Wayne is a highly respected demonstrator at the Feast of the Hunters’ Moon, Mississinewa 1812,
the Fair at New Boston, Muster on the Wabash, and many other quality events. He will demonstrate his stitching
technique and discuss basic leather construction. Class participants will learn how to turn seam, do piping, and
button closure. At the end of the session they will have completed an approximately 5” x 6” belt pouch that is big
enough to hold a wallet and keys. The class fee of $50.00, payable at the time of the class, includes a leather awl,
needle, and the materials to make the pouch. For registration information, contact Wayne at 812.331.4050.
Rand House Museum Exhibits
The National Muzzle Loading Rifle Association’s Rand House Museum will host an outstanding exhibit of 38
long guns and 15 pistols, many antique and some more modern, from the large collection of well known master
engraver and gunsmith, John Schippers.
Mr. Schippers has had a long and illustrious career as a museum specialist, a craftsman, and a restoration
specialist. He worked at Conner Prairie for over twenty years, where he was in charge of the crafts program.
During his tenure at Conner Prairie, he established the apprentice craftsman program, designed to teach new
museum interpreters how to produce the craft items utilized by the museum. Since original artifacts could not be
used at the facility, Mr. Schippers’ program helped teach the interpreters how to make cooking tools, hardware for
over 30 buildings, pottery and dishes, farming tools, wagons, animal related tools, leather goods, clothing, and
linens. He was also responsible for the construction and maintenance of all of the historic grounds. Besides his
time at Conner Prairie, Mr. Schippers has worked or consulted for a number of other facilities, including the
Grand Rapids Public Museum, the Henry Ford Museum and Village, the Milwaukee Public Museum, the Indiana
State Museum, the Indianapolis Children’s Museum, and many more.
He built his first muzzleloading rifle in 1954 and has been building and engraving them for 56 years. Mr.
Schippers just completed a book entitled Engrave Historic Firearms. It has information on how to engrave in the
historic style, and contains over 1,500 photographs and illustrations showing how to engrave, or, more
importantly, what to engrave. Track of the Wolf is publishing the book, and it is expected to be available before
Mr. Schippers has garnered great expertise in building and engraving guns over a fifty six year career, and will
bring much knowledge and enthusiasm for his life’s work to the NMLRA Rand House Museum. The NMLRA is
honored to host an exhibit by such a fine educator and craftsman. The Rand House Museum thanks guest curator
John Schippers for the loan of his collection pieces!
A number of photos from the NMLRA archives that have not previously been exhibited are scheduled to be on
display, and a special area will be set up with activities and museum handling materials for children.
Museum hours for the National Championship Shoot will be 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. September 11th – 18th. For
more information on the Rand House Museum, or if you are interested in exhibiting at the museum in the future,
please contact Leslie Martin Conwell, NMLRA American History Events Coordinator, 765.563.6792,
Exciting Firearms Competitions
National-class competitive muzzleloading shooting is a strong focus of this gathering. There are so many matches
that there is truly something for shooters of all skill levels, and with all types of muzzle loading equipment. Win,
lose, or draw, all the matches are enjoyable, and a great opportunity to learn by shooting with the best. A special
feature of the competition area is the Youth Range, developed by the National Muzzle Loading Rifle Association
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!
To see truly fine examples of craftsmanship, visit Gunmaker’s Hall during the Nationals. Exhibited at this facility
are some of the finest examples of modern gunbuilding by today’s master craftspeople. Gunmaker’s Hall is
offering a number of classes and lectures, including several on gunbuilding techniques and tips. Eric Bye, editor
of the National Muzzle Loading Rifle Association’s internationally circulated magazine “Muzzle Blasts,” will
also be onsite at Gunmaker’s Hall to answer questions and share his vast muzzleloading knowledge.
The qualification matches for the United States International Muzzle Loading Team will be held during the week
of the Shoot. The “best of the best” will be in hot competition for a prized spot on the team!
The Living History Center/Primitive Encampment Primitive Shooting Range will be having a special memorial
match in honor of Fess Parker and Daniel Boone on September 16th.
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 Vendors offer a wonderful
opportunity to listen and learn from the experts in the hobby. In addition, the Living History Center/Primitive
Area on the event grounds provides for some interesting browsing and buying amongst the quality vendors of
period merchandise and historical crafts.
Handicap parking is available. No pets are allowed except assistance animals. Gate hours are 8 a.m.-5:00 p.m.
EDT September 11th – 18th. 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 National
Championship 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 Championship Shoot might also be interested in another area attraction, the two
Flea Markets that are adjacent to the NMLRA’s’ event grounds. Flea Market activities are ongoing throughout
the National Championship 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 and other area attractions, contact the
Ripley County Tourism Bureau offices, 1.888.747.5394, www.ripleycountytourism.com.