The Masters — An Industry Family Reunion

This year’s 11th Annual Shooting Industry Masters in Cody, Wyo. was remarkably successful. FMG Publications set a number of records at the July event, including the number of sponsors, number of side matches and the amount of money raised for the shooting sports — $70,000 for NSSF’s First Shots program and $11,250 for USA Shooting.

We thank everyone in the industry who sponsored the Masters, took part in the event, donated ammunition, provided firearms and targets, sponsored and conducted side matches and donated products for the raffle and auctions. We are impressed and more than a bit humbled by your generosity.

We also thank all those in Cody who opened their arms to FMG Publications and the industry. Salutes to the Cody Shooting Complex and all its members — especially George Dillman, president of the complex. George’s contribution to this year’s event is immeasurable. Tireless and a consummate gentleman, George is an authentic reflection of the Code of the West.
We also thank the Buffalo Bill Center of the West, Forward Cody economic development and the many Cody citizens who volunteered to help at the event. They all played a vital part in making the Masters an overwhelming success.

The Magic

What makes the Masters successful and special goes far beyond the opportunity to shoot a variety of firearms and courses-of-fire and win great prizes, while supporting the industry. The magic of the Masters comes in building relationships and getting to know others in the industry, even if they’re strong business competitors.

Something interesting takes place when those in the industry step away from their businesses and get to know each other at a shooting range. Relationships develop with those you likely would never know. Old, perhaps unfavorable, impressions melt away. An appreciation grows for different segments of the industry. Lasting friendships are built. Just like in families.

Yes, business is conducted at the Masters — some have told us it’s the best networking opportunity in the industry. That’s a good thing. We love to hear about “sweet deals cut at the Masters.” That, too, is part of the magic.

The Masters is not a shooting competition. Yes, we recognize the top teams and shooters, but that’s not the focus. We don’t even release the shooting scores, which means those stepping to the firing line are much more relaxed. Our policy also results in farfetched stores of shooting skills, which adds to the fun.

The Masters is really an industry family reunion. It’s an opportunity for everyone in the industry to step away from often-stressful jobs and enjoy time at the range with other members of the family. Those who join us at the Masters include CEOs, presidents, accountants, firearm dealers, PR professionals, sales reps, engineers, secretaries and those who work on factory floors. Some are highly skilled shooters, even professionals. Most are “everyday” shooters and some have never touched a firearm. They’re all welcome; they’re family.

And we have ensured the Masters remains an industry-only event. It’s not that we’re standoffish, by not including the public. The industry holds or supports hundreds of shooting events and competitions throughout the nation for everyone to enjoy. It seems fitting that the industry enjoy one — just one — exclusive shooting event. That’s the Masters.

Next year, join us for this industry family reunion. We haven’t announced the location of our 2014 Masters, but will soon. Stay up-to-date on the Masters at and
For a glimpse at this year’s event, see pages 36-37 of this issue. In the October issue, we’ll present complete coverage of this year’s industry-only event.
By Russ Thurman

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