Six-day gatheringbegins Monday
Western explorers and traders return to the pre-1840 era on Monday in celebration of the 32nd annual Jed Smith Mountain Men Tall Trees Rendezvous.
The six-day gathering lasts through the Fourth of July and is a chance for experienced and new mountaineers to re-enact the history of the Western frontier.
Mountain Man Randy "Waterbarrel" Peer said his family enjoys all the competitions and comradery among participants in the annual event.
"You get to see people you haven't seen in awhile," Peer said. "Both of our boys grew up doing this and still enjoy doing it when they're in town."
Dedicated mountaineers like Peer live in the "primitive encampment," where tents are made of canvas and traditional clothing is required. Modern camping conveniences are allowed outside the camp, but participants are encouraged to learn how to "rough it."
Peer said visitors are welcome to stop by and see what primitive camping entails.
"We'll set up three tents in different styles for people to see," Peer said. "We sleep on cots with sleeping bags, but throw authentic-looking blankets over them."
Throughout the rendezvous, mountain men will participate in shooting competitions featuring muzzle-loading rifles. Women and children are encouraged to shoot too, with youth ages 5 and up able to compete.
Peer said the experience of shooting a replica black powder gun is unprecedented.
"It's very addictive, if you get into it go slow because it can get expensive buying custom guns," Peer said.
Knife and tomahawk ax-throwing contests will also take place. Awards will be given for the best apple pie and dutch oven creations.
The public is invited to visit the encampment and browse Traders Row for knives, buckskins, cookware and jewelry. Admission is free for visitors.
Traders can exhibit for $20, participants can camp for $30 and primitive campers pay a $15 fee.
The Tall Trees Rendezvous takes place at the Rowdy Creek Gun Club, a mile and a half east of Highway 101 on Rowdy Creek Road.
For more information, go to jedsmithmountainmen.com or call Trapper John at (707) 722-4259.
IF YOU GO
WHAT: Mountain Men Tall Trees Rendezvous
WHEN: Monday to July 4
WHERE: Rowdy Creek Gun Club