Academy of Excellence seeks entries, announces golden vote.

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The Shooting Industry Academy of Excellence is accepting entries for its 2011 awards. The academy, celebrating its 20th anniversary, recognizes excellence in design, innovation and service to the industry. In 2011, the academy will present awards in 14 categories.

To be eligible for the 2011 awards, products must have been in production no earlier than February 2010 and prior to February 2011. Entries for the 2011 awards must reach the academy's office no later than Feb. 18, 2011. Only one company's product may be entered per category. All entries must include the product's complete name and be accompanied by a photo.

Academy officials stress that entries for the Manufacturer of the Year, Distributor of the Year, Citizenship Award and the Shooting Industry Award, which goes to an individual, must include justification. The Citizenship Award honors a company or dealership; nonprofit and industry-supporting organizations are not eligible for the award.

In addition to these four service awards, the Academy will honor the Handgun of the Year, Rifle of the Year, Shotgun of the Year, Ammunition of the Year, Self-Defense Product of the Year, Hunting Product of the Year, Safety Product of the Year, Optic of the Year, Knife of the Year and Accessory of the Year.

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This year, the Academy announced a change to the voting process, with the introduction of the "golden vote."

"Since dealers hold the cash register...

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