What it's all about; the people we know, the friendships we make, the experiences we share.
It all makes an extended family and enriches our lives as we expand our world and learn about different pathways traveled, to where we are now.
Take a walk along our trail for a while; you might see someone you know...
Katy S. and her mortar team, poundin' stakes!
Unlike reenactors, we don't pretend to shoot at each other, we stand shoulder to shoulder and shoot at targets down range, using the firearms of the Civil War. Yankees and Rebels, we are all friends, and share a love of history and havin' fun, on and off the firing line. I'm a proud member of the Cockade Rifles, The original Cockades were the hometown militia of Petersburg, Virginia. Now , we come from Pennsylvania, West Virginia, California, and Washington state, as well as Virginia. As Paul says, "It's the most fun you can have with your pants on!"
Home to the N-SSA is Fort Shenandoah, just outside Winchester, Virginia. With a quarter mile long firing line, we have well over a thousand shooters at our National Events, which happen twice yearly. The Cockades host one of the best of the local or regional shoots, which fill the rest of our shooting season. Please check out our web site at www.n-ssa.org to learn more.
Old Betsy aloft, our camp at the Eastern Primitive..
After Lewis & Clark made their Voyage of Discovery, the west called to the adventurous; the trappers, hunters and explorers who sought their fortune in the vast wilderness. Yearly, the mountain men would gather at rendezvous, to sell their furs, buy supplies, drink, gamble, and tell tall tales.
Nowadays, we rendezvous several times a year, with gatherings all across the nation, both small and large events. While somewhat tamer than the original rondys, we still know how to have fun! It's a safe and wholesome environment for the family, something to do for every age. Shooting matches, tomahawk and knife throwing, archery, and even a candy cannon for the wee ones.
I have traveled across the nation, attending rendezvous from Virginia and Pennsylvania to Wyoming and the original 1838 rendezvous site, to Washington state, and everywhere I go, you are family. You meet some of the friendliest folk at rendezvous!
The photos above are from the Eastern Primitive Rendezvous, one of the largest in the Nation, an annual event.
Below are photos of the 1838 Rendezvous, held yearly around July 4th at the original site, in Riverton, Wyoming. Preserving the historical site and recreating the event, the 1838 Rendezvous Association is a fine organization worthy of our support.
The Popo Agie, Wind River, original 1838 rondy site
Every year around Independence Day, folks gather at the original site of the 1838 rendezvous, immortalized in the movie, "The Mountain Men," starring Charlton Heston and Buddy Ebsen. In Riverton, Wyoming, the site has been saved and protected by the 1838 Rendezvous Association, a dedicated group of historically minded people who have worked hard to preserve this special place. Check their web site, www.1838rendezvousassociation.org.
I met up with friends JP and Mike Ike, and we spent the week meeting up with old friends and making new ones, shootin' tossin' 'hawks & knives, & shootin' arrows. They even have a tavern, where we played music and drank wonderfully cold beers and told tall tales.
We Met Three Dog, our nearest neighbor in camp, with his three dogs. Jake, a trapper, still working his traps well into his 90's, an icon and repository of many tales. He Who took us around camp and described the events and locations of the original rondy.
We met up with old friends Outhouse Charlie and his lady Willow, from Washington state, and our friend, Mad Hatter, AKA Kevin, from North Carolina,
While there, I presented Mike with a half-stock lefty I built for him. He promptly took out the eye of a turkey target with his first shot-made me proud and both of us happy!
Mike also earned his mountain man name; Neveready! Need I say more?
The Popo Agie, otherwise known as the Wind River, kept us cool on those 100+ degree days. Surprisingly, not all that uncomfortable, as dry as it was, and cold beer nearby!
Take the journey to the original meeting grounds of the mountain men, spend a week back in time. You'll be glad you did.