Excitement and anticipation surrounded the presentation of this year's shooting Industry Academy of Excellence awards. Eleven companies and one individual were honored with the academy's distinguished awards.
Bob Morrison, the executive vice president and COO of Taurus International, received the Shooting Industry Award. Savage was presented the Manufacturer of the Year and Rifle of the Year awards. RSR Group was honored as the Distributor of the Year. Lyman Products Corp. and Daisy Outdoor Products received their first awards, and Benchmade, Leupold and Winchester Ammunition continued to set records in the number of awards they have received.
The awards were presented during a lively reception April 25 in Orlando, Fla. The ceremony took on added meaning as industry leaders celebrated the achievements of the industry and the liberation of Iraq.
"Is this a great country or what!" said Randy Molde, academy director, as he welcomed guests to the reception. "This is the 12th time these awards have been presented. Much has changed in the industry over the years. Companies have come and gone, good products have become better and despite what the media says, it's still okay for good guys to carry guns."
The Firearms Marketing Group (FMG), publisher of Shooting Industry, GUNS and American Handgunner magazines sponsor the academy. The voting power of the academy, however, is held by 460 industry executives, gun dealers and outdoor writers.
This year, the academy considered 173 potential nominees in 12 categories before selecting the recipients from the 36 who made the final ballot.
"It's a real challenge just to make the final ballot," said Tom von Rosen, FMG's publisher. "To all those who received awards, congratulations. The academy continues to honor the industry with its serious deliberation and judgement. We also take seriously our role and will continue to protect the integrity of the academy and the voting process."
The awards, von Rosen noted, have had a positive influence on product innovation.
"A number of industry leaders tells us the awards have motivated them to develop better products. That's a benefit of the awards we didn't envision in 1992. It's rewarding to know the academy has raised the bar and helped electrify the industry," von Rosen said.
Joining Molde to present the awards was Russ Thurman, Shooting Industry's editor.
Morrison was honored, "For his instrumental role in the unrelenting battle against...