49th annual Fort Bridger Rendezvous

Grizzled mountain men at camp and sitting on Traders’ Row to sell their wares at the Fort Bridger Mountain Man Rendezvous over Labor Day weekend at the Fort Bridger State Historic Site. PIONEER PHOTO/Virginia Giorgis

FORT BRIDGER — The 49th Fort Bridger Rendezvous and Black Powder shoot last weekend at the Fort Bridger State Site turned time back to the early 1800s as the Rendezvous recreates a slice of early American history.

A short time before the event, Sunday was predicted to be cloudy and rainy, but then the forecast changed, and heat was the name-of-the-game.

And the weekend turned into a ‘hot time’ for participants and visitors as the thermometer registered 90 and above. People were expecting a hot time, but not this type of hot as they sashayed around the state site under the intense sun.

Nary a breeze for most of the weekend, and the Rendezvouers and the flatlanders (tourists) had blue skies and sunshine for walking into the era of the past.

The Fort Bridger Rendezvous creates a step back in time to the pre-1840’s of the American West in the Rocky Mountains in the fur-trapping years. Rendezvous or a French word for meeting, proved to be a place designated in the fall so the mountain men could trade their furs, or plews, for products normally bought with cold, hard cash.

At this year’s Rendezvous the traffic was down on Monday and Sunday afternoon. But Saturday proved to be a bumper crowd as multitudes of people attended the Rendezvous.

Participants dress in pre-1840 attire and goods on Traders Row are to be pre-1840, as the event strives to replicate the early rendezvous and some of the trade goods. Some traders take a little stretch to make the era such as selling modern-day Mexican blankets. But, there are also furs, hides, beads and seed beads, knives, candles and more.

Over the weekend this year, the morning cannon volley punctuated the stillness of the day and served as a wake-up call and roused the camp for the activities. Other sounds included the roar of muskets, the incessant beat of the tom-toms during the Native American ceremonial dances and the thud as tomahawks and knives struck wood in the throwing contests. Of interest about this year’s dancers, one dancer from Riverton was a U.S. Marine veteran,


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