NSSF Hall of Fame
We are pleased to announce the 2023 class of inductees to the NSSF Hall of Fame, recognizing the outstanding contributions of these three past leaders for their efforts in creating NSSF and the industry’s blockbuster trade show, the SHOT Show.
Bob Behn (1940-present)
Robert W. Behn joined the Marlin Firearms Company in 1969, eventually rising through the ranks to serve as the company’s President from 1997-2007 and then CEO until his retirement in 2008. After retiring from Marlin, Behn became a Senior Advisor to the Executive Chairman of Remington Arms while also serving as a director of Remington’s board. He is a past Vice Chairman of NSSF’s Board of Governors, as well as a past board member of the Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers’ Institute (SAAMI). Behn is a recipient of NSSF’s Ken Sedlecky Lifetime Achievement Award.
Richard A. Lipsey (1939-present)
Richard Lipsey is the founder of powerhouse wholesaler and distributor Lipsey’s. His career in the sporting goods industry has spanned nearly 60 years, during which he built Lipsey’s into one of the largest distributors in the country. A dedicated conservationist, particularly in the area of wetlands, coastal and waterfowl conservation across North America and in his home state of Louisiana, Lipsey is renowned for his philanthropy on the local, state and federal levels. A staunch supporter of NSSF and its wide-ranging efforts over the years, Lipsey is a recipient of NSSF’s Ken Sedlecky Lifetime Achievement Award.
Bill Ruger (1916 – 2002)
William B. Ruger Sr. was the Founder and Chairman Emeritus of Sturm, Ruger & Company. Widely recognized as one of America’s greatest gun designers, Bill led the company to becoming the largest firearm manufacturer in the United States. He had a hand in the original design and time-honored styling of every firearm his company produced, and he continued to work on new creations up until his death in 2002. His first firearm introduction in 1949, a stylish .22 caliber target pistol, was considered “the first gun” of many Americans and is still one of the most popular target pistols in widespread use. Beyond his extraordinary accomplishments in the firearm field, Bill was a charter founder of NSSF and a tremendous supporter of the foundation’s efforts.
Alan Mossberg (1932-2021)
Alan Mossberg successfully continued the legacy his grandfather Oscar began more than 100 years ago when he founded O.F. Mossberg & Sons. Serving as the company’s Chairman of the Board, his leadership in the industry was widespread. He has twice served as Chairman of the Board of SAAMI®, lent innumerable resources to conservation and shooting sports organizations and led the charge on advanced firearm safety initiatives. Mossberg is a recipient of NSSF’s Ken Sedlecky Lifetime Achievement Award.
Jack Durrett (1937-2021)
Jack Durrett was a long-time firearm industry leader and Chairman of the NSSF Board of Governors during a critical and challenging time in industry history. He came into the industry with Michaels of Oregon, where he rose to President, CEO and Chairman and received recognition for his role in growing that family-owned business into a respected manufacturer and distributor of shooting sports accessories with sales in over 95 countries. Jack was elected to the NSSF Board of Governors in 1994 and served as Chairman from 1998 to 1999. He provided astute, energetic leadership during the challenging years of the late 1990s and early 2000s, when the industry was challenged by a flood of politically motivated lawsuits. He was instrumental in the creation of the Hunting and Shooting Sports Heritage Fund (HSSHF), which raised tens of millions of dollars to successfully fight the political lawsuits and to fund innovative programs to help defend and grow the industry.
Gerald W. "Jerry" Bersett (1940-2012)
Backed by degrees in metallurgical engineering, Jerry Bersett embarked on a career with Olin Corporation in 1965 from which he would rise to lead three of industry’s premier companies. With the absorption of Olin by the Winchester Group, Bersett was named General Manager of Winchester’s European Operations, ascending from there to Vice President and General Manager of Olin’s entire Winchester Division and, ultimately, President of Winchester. He retired from the company after a career of 30 years in 1995, but retirement was short, as he took on the role of President and COO with Sturm, Ruger & Co. In 1998 he moved on to become President of the Blount Sporting Equipment Group until retiring fully in 2001. Standing six-and-a-half feet tall and possessing a deep voice, Bersett was a presence, and he influenced industry as a member and chairman of the NSSF Board of Governors and as board member of SAAMI, WMI and CSF.
Arlen Chaney (1935-Present)
Arlen Chaney succeeded Ted Rowe as chairman and served from 1986 to 1994. Those were stormy years of vicious anti-hunting and anti-gun assaults on the shooting sports. He recognized that to counter these attacks, a major source of funding was crucial and served on the original SHOT Show creation committee. He nurtured the NSSF’s “Hunters Pay for Conservation” program distribution to over 100,000 schools. Arlen played a leading role to bring the shooting sports to ESPN television through Summer Biathlon events and the ‘Sportsmen’s Team Challenge’ and was a steadfast supporter and participant. His credo was “Leadership by Example”. Through his personal and professional relationships, he led a new era of closer cooperation between the NSSF and National Rifle Association. Arlen retired after 30 years with the Blount Sporting Equipment Division in Lewiston, Idaho, whose brands included CCI, Speer, RCBS, Outers and Weaver. He served several years in the military as an Airborne Ranger and in the 101st Airborne Division.
Sue King (1940-Present)
Sue King has been immersed in shooting and hunting since the mid-1940s and her decades of enthusiastic promotion of women’s shooting helped lay the groundwork for the extraordinary growth of women’s participation seen today. Sue is a Life Member of NRA, TSRA, NSSA and WSSF and served on the Board of Directors of NRA, TSRA, NSSA and Katy Prairie Conservancy. Her many awards include the NRA Women’s Freedom Award, film industry “Telly” for producing “The Perfect Sport For Women” and Shooting Industry’s Award of Excellence. She was a founder and first Executive Director of the Women’s Shooting Sports Foundation, which introduced thousands of women to shooting, raised thousands of dollars for women’s charities and attracted enormous favorable media attention. Under Sue’s leadership, WSSF produced, with NSSF support, 66 events across America—the largest of them, the Ladies Charity Classic, drawing 270-plus women from around the nation annually.
J.B. Hodgdon (1936-Present)
J.B. has continued the legacy of Hodgdon Powder Company started by his father and helped grow it into the preeminent supplier of gunpowder and replica black powder for handloading and muzzleloading enthusiasts. Hunting trophies from around the world in his home and Hodgdon offices are a testament to his passion for hunting and shooting. J.B. is a life benefactor member of the NRA, a life member of the Kansas State Rifle Association and member of Safari Club of America, Pheasants Forever and Ducks Unlimited. He is devoted to supporting youth involvement in the shooting sports through his work with Boy Scouts of America, Philmont Scout Ranch and National 4-H Shooting Sports, among others. In 2009, he was presented the Shooting Industry Award and the NRA’s Golden Bullseye Pioneer Award. He is an active member of the North-South Skirmish Association for the preservation of Civil War history and vintage firearms and artillery.
Warren Kemptor “Lefty” Page (1910-1977)
Succeeding Charles Dickey to become NSSF®’s third President in 1972, Warren Page was committed to the promotion and preservation of hunting and the shooting sports so that others could enjoy them for generations to come. As the Shooting Editor for “Field & Stream,” a position he’d held since 1947, he spearheaded the First National Conference on the Shooting Sports, a gathering of industry and shooting sports organization leaders, in 1960. Well educated and a dedicated shotgun shooter, rifleman and hunter whose tales of worldwide travel and adventure kept a generation of “Field & Stream” readers glued to the magazine’s pages, Page was instrumental in increasing the public’s understanding of the role hunters play in conservation.
Harmon Williams (1914–2006)
Harmon Williams joined Browning Arms Company in 1952. It was a choice that became a career in the firearms industry of more than 30 years, with Williams serving as the company’s President from 1976-1981 and then a transition to CEO of Ektelon, a Browning subsidiary, until 1983. He was a key member of NSSF®’s first Board of Governors. A dedicated outdoorsman who leant his passion to the company he ran, Williams was a well-respected and deeply involved leader not just with NSSF, but also with SAAMI®, the Sport Fishing Institute, NRA and conservation organizations. He is one of the original committee members who helped develop the SHOT Show®.
Charlie Dickey (1921 – 1988)
One of NSSF®’s earliest leaders, Charlie Dickey assumed the association’s Executive Director position in 1964, just three years after its founding. A warmly regarded writer penning articles on everything from fly fishing to the pursuit of whitetails, he was noted for a style that was both humorous and dear to the heart. Bird hunting was his passion, particularly quail, for which he penned a number of books, and something he neglected only to serve as a pilot during the Korean War, where he earned several awards of distinction, including the Navy Cross. After the war, he spent time working for Winchester and then SAAMI®, before giving NSSF nearly a decade of time. He retired in 1972, returning to his first loves of hunting, writing and photography.
A.H. “Rocky” Rohlfing (1921-2010)
Having served in executive roles with both Winchester and Sturm, Ruger, A.H. “Rocky” Rohlfing took the helm as NSSF®’s Executive Director in 1976. Three years later, he oversaw the launch of the first Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade Show®—SHOT Show®. When the doors opened on that first show, Rohlfing said, “Well, boys, I hope somebody shows up!” Show up they did, and today the SHOT Show continually ranks as one of the largest trade shows in the U.S.
Bill Talley (1915 - 1995)
As chairman of the NSSF® Board of Governors from 1972 to 1981 and Senior Vice President of Winchester, Bill Talley played a major role in creating the first SHOT Show® and growing NSSF into what it is today. Talley once summed up NSSF’s inclusiveness as the industry’s trade association by remarking, “The entire shooting-associated industry, from gun maker to boot maker, should speak with one voice.” Such unity is a hallmark of present-day NSSF. At the opening ceremonies for the first SHOT Show in 1979, Talley remarked, “This show, soon to open, is the realization of a dream of many years. We’ve long wanted a forum for products allied with hunting and shooting, and now we have it. The support and enthusiasm you have all displayed has been extremely encouraging, and we know that this will be an important beginning for an annual event of growing influence.” Prophetic words, indeed.
Ted Rowe (1934-Present)
When a still young NSSF® brainstormed the idea of an industry trade show, it was Ted Rowe, President of Harrington & Richardson Arms, who spearheaded the committee to develop the idea. He was also the man who named the SHOT Show®. It was just one part of the industry his expertise touched and led to success. Through the decades, Rowe has leant his talents to SAAMI®, NSSF’s Board of Governors in the Chairman role, SIG Sauer as its President, and as President of the World Forum on Shooting Activities. Rowe is a recipient of NSSF’s Ken Sedlecky Lifetime Achievement Award.