Here we are starting a new year with one or two changes in the way things are to be done.
The major change is I have stepped down as the organizer. Our friend Joel “Fuzzy Knuckles” Marler will be taking over the business end of the Rendezvous. Reid and Betsey Johnson will be the organizers of the event. Reid is our Booshway this year and Joel volunteered to be Segundo.
As for me I think I might just sit back and enjoy the happenings. For what is worth, I’ll be adding suggestion here and there but Joel is in charge, he does not take orders from me, and it will be up to him and his supporters to make the day to day decisions. For the rendezvous it will be up to the Booshway as it should be.
As most folks know I was the organizer along with the Board at Fort Bridger for 14 years. I left that job in 2011, my choice. I was very proud of what we accomplished in getting Bridger back to a more historic presentation. The atmosphere is still much like a festival rather than a rendezvous but it is a lot of fun. In contrast the Bear Lake Rendezvous is more of a “primitive” style event with the exception of allowing the general public to join in the fun, something we couldn’t do at Bridger being so large.
In 2013 Joel and I were talking about rendezvous, we were discussing all the places the originals were held just in our vicinity. Here we are about 30 miles from the original 1827 and 28 rendezvous site. Why don’t we put one to gather? Still being a bit worn out from the 14 years doing the Bridger Board I was okay with getting it started but from the start I was not going to be in charge until I drop dead. As one of our participants ask “well if you weren’t going to keep it going why did you start it in the first place”? It’s been 17 years since I got to participate in one of my own rendezvous. I think I deserve to retire!!!
Our first rendezvous was a great success, here I am going to give credit where it’s due, If not for the hard work of Bonnie and Roger Backus it probably wouldn’t have turned out as good as it did. Roger was our first Booshway and did a great job. Bonnie worked her fingers to the bone contacting tons of people as well as collect prizes for the event, all I can say is thank-you. Our next year was a muddy mess. Glen “Frenchie” LaChappell was our second Booshway, he made a special trip to Utah from Oregon in early spring of 2014 just to look over the site and make plans for August. Even with the rain and the wind and the mud everyone had a great time. That year the Laketown school came down to the rendezvous with what seemed like 100 kids, it was fantastic. The traders all presented a short display of their expertise. This is what it’s all about for me, I always wanted to do more with Bridger and do some hands on teaching but could never get the support to make it happen. My hope is that it will happen at Bear Lake. Finally Last year our Booshway was JayDell Jaques “Red Beard”, what an excellent job he did. The shooters had more fun than I’ve seen in a long time. The fort shoot is something that has to be seen. We had more shooters than any of the other years but not so many that you had to wait forever for your turn.
We changed the dates last year hoping to attract more of the local folks to come to this event. All we ended up doing was eliminate the school from sending the students down because school didn’t start until the next week. We lost some of our best traders because it was two weeks before Bridger. Bridger is very important to the trader’s yearly income. So the original thought was to have our rendezvous then they could go to Bear River Rendezvous then on to Bridger. I found that very few if any will go to Bear River so it just wouldn’t work out for their schedules. Joel has decided to set the dates to the weekend just before Bridger so that the traders would be able to spend some time at Bear Lake and then move over to Wyoming. This will also hopefully work into the local schools schedules, that is something we will be working hard to make happen.
So mark your calendars, early setup before August 24, we are hoping to have school day on the 25th, last day of rendezvous August 28th. Check with Reid but you should be able to stay until Tuesday. Early setup at Bridger is usually on the Wednesday before Labor Day. We will setup in a closer spot on the same property if everything works out like we hope.
I hope to see all who read this at this year’s rendezvous.