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Friends of NRA auction benefits local programs local programs

September 12, 2005|by ERIN CUNNINGHAM

erinc@herald-mail.com

HAGERSTOWN - Cherry pies, rifles, pictures and a wine holder made from faux deer antlers were up for grabs Sunday at the sixth annual Mason-Dixon Friends of the National Rifle Association fundraiser.

Willard Fritz and his wife, Maxine, of Keymar, Md., stood watching as those gathered at the Four Points Sheraton on Dual Highway bid everything from $15 for pies and dried beef to $250 for firearms. The couple held several raffle tickets between their fingers, but they didn't hold out hope they would take home the prize: a gun.

"We've won these raffles before, though," Willard Fritz said.

A life member of the NRA, the 73-year-old joined when he was 17. Fritz said he enjoys all types of hunting and is looking forward to a bow-hunting trip in Frederick County later this month. He said he's been as far away as Africa and Canada to hunt.

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"(I like to hunt) any type of animal," Fritz said. "We're running out of room in the trophy room."

Thomas Bingel, of Bethesda, Md., said he does not hunt or own a gun, but he recently joined the NRA. The native German said that country does not give citizens the right to bear arms.

"But I like the right to buy a gun as long as it is used for legitimate purposes," like hunting or self-defense, he said. "My wife would like to own one."

Bingel said his wife urged him to purchase raffle tickets in hopes of winning one of the firearms.

Though they weren't looking at the guns, Lucy Butts and Dolores Weaver, both of Hagerstown, browsed other items available for bidding. Butts said she bid $40 for a set of hand-painted flower pots. She grows violets at home and said she planned to put a few in the pots if hers was the winning bid.

Weaver said she attended the NRA fundraiser mostly to see some friends and eat a nice dinner.

Tickets to the event cost $35, and all proceeds, including those from the auction, silent auction and raffle, will fund local outdoors programs for women and children, said Steve Evans, a volunteer and committee chairman for Mason-Dixon Friends of the NRA.

Last year's event raised more than $7,000, he said.

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