Between 1825 and 1840, during the frontier period of American history, on the pioneer edge of the new United States there was a meeting once each year of the men who were busy carving a new country out of the wilderness. These “mountain men” lived free in the wild country, as did the first Americans, the Indians, who used the land and left little trace of their passing. The trappers and the traders introduced commerce into the American West.
At this annual meeting, called a “rendezvous” by the early French‑Canadian voyageurs, these men of the wilderness would get together for several days of trading, competing in frontier games and sports, and telling tall tales of their adventures. It was a gathering of skilled and daring men, the pioneers of the new land.
Woodsmoke Rendezvous will recreate this stirring time for the boys of the 21st century. The day will resound with the crack of muzzleloading blackpowder rifles, the night will be brightened by the flicker of candles and campfires, and the smoke and sizzle of bacon frying over a wood fire will fill the air.
Contests will be held as of old, to test the young’uns of this day as their great‑grandfathers were tried for courage and skill. They will learn the skills of a century ago, and will come to appreciate the point of view of those frontiersmen and how different their life was from the one most youngsters have known all their lives.
Through this weekend, our nippers will come to know within themselves how it used to be. They will discover that long‑ago games are as much fun now as they were when our nation was young and that it was a continual battle in that far‑off time to stay dry, fed, and comfortable.
As in all events, there will be those who jump in, take a part, and enter into the spirit of the time‑‑ and there will be those who just stand around and watch; it is those who take part who have the real fun.