Rep. Tim Holden, D-17, and Tri-Valley School District agriculture teacher Gretchen Dingman are the joint recipients of the "2012 Friend of the Sportsmen Award" presented by the Schuylkill County Sportsmen's Association at its annual banquet Saturday at the Community Fire Company, Landingville.

Holden has supported the rights of sportsmen on conservation and Second Amendment issues during his 20 years in Congress, often voting against the mainstream members of his party on such issues as bans on so-called "assault" rifles, which would also have affected legal sporting firearms. Before serving in Washington, D.C., he help protect the rights of sportsmen as Schuylkill County sheriff and a private sportsman and has always had the endorsement of the National Rifle Association.

Dingman, along with her husband and Pennsylvania Game Commission wildlife conservation officer Will, is a volunteer instructor and chaperon at the SCSA Norm Thornburg Youth Conservation Camp and is an instructor at the organization's youth field day and women's outdoors day. They are also active volunteers for Pheasants Forever and Friends of the NRA.

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A free series of seminars, "Black Powder Technique for Hunters and Shooters," is today, beginning at 11 a.m., at Dixon Muzzleloader Shop, Kempton, focusing on flintlock and traditional percussion rifles. For information, call the shop at 610-756-6271.

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National Hunting and Fishing Day will be celebrated at Middle Creek Wildlife Preserve, Kleinfeltersville, Sunday, Sept. 23, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., with hands-on outdoors events for adults and children. Activities include exhibits/displays from local, state and national sportsmen's organizations; archery shoot; muzzle loading rifles; and upland bird dog and trapping demonstrations.

Peggy Hentz of Red Creek Wildlife Rehabilitators, Schuylkill Haven, will conduct birds of prey demonstrations at noon and 3 p.m., and the Izaak Walton League will provide roasted venison for visitors to sample. A special activity will be the laser SHOT system, which is a simulated hunting experience to test an individual's marksmanship and decision making in hunting situations.

In 1970, the first to suggest an official "day of thanks" to sportsmen was Ira Joffe, owner of Joffe's Gun Shop in Upper Darby, Delaware County. Gov. Raymond Shafer adopted Joffe's idea and created "Outdoor Sportsman's Day" in the state.

With determined prompting from various sportsmen, the concept soon emerged on the national level when, in early 1972, Congress unanimously passed legislation authorizing a National Hunting and Fishing Day. On May 2, 1972, President Richard Nixon signed the first proclamation of National Hunting and Fishing Day, and soon after, all 50 governors and more than 600 mayors had joined in by proclaiming state and local versions of National Hunting and Fishing Day.

Today and Sunday, the 26th Annual Middle Creek Wildfowl Show is being held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. both day. Wildfowl carvings, artwork, collectibles and hunting items from many vendors are featured at the free show.

Retriever demonstrations will be today at 10 a.m. and noon and Sunday at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.; decoy competitions will be today at 1 p.m.; Pennsylvania State Duck and Goose Calling Championships will be Sunday at 1 p.m.

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Friedensburg Youth Hunter Education Challenge Coal Region team is holding the Brad Huber Memorial Clay Shoot and a pig roast, Sunday, Sept. 23, beginning at 9 a.m., at Feiedensburg Fish and Game Club. For information or to make prize donations, contact Kevin Huber at 717-821-4360 or Bruce Unverdorben at 570-345-6670.

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Schuylkill County Friends of NRA will hold its annual banquet, Thursday, Sept. 27, beginning at 5 p.m., at St. Nicholas Hall, Minersville. For information and tickets, contact Mike McCord at 570-490-8369, Gary Reibsane at 717- 647-4314, Harry Myers at 570-691-7564 or Dallas Heckman at 570-294-4344.

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Sunday's edition of "Experience The Outdoors," hosted by award-winning Pennsylvania Outdoor Writers Association member Doyle Dietz, at 7 a.m. on 1410 WLSH and 9:30 a.m. on Magic 105.5, will feature Pennsylvania Game Commission Hunter-Trapper Education Division chief Keith Snyder.

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Bear's Head 3-D course is open daily through Friday, Oct. 12, from dawn to dusk daily, on club grounds located off I-81 exit 134, 148 Lofty Road, Delano. For information, call the association at 570-467-0331.

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Hazleton Archery Club, 170 Woodside Drive, Freeland, has 3-D shoots Sundays, beginning at 7 a.m., and Thursdays, beginning at 4 p.m., For information, call the club at 570- 450-0988.