Fort Bridger Rendezvous bites the dust

This Mountain Man and his dog attended the Fort Bridger Rendezvous last year. They are pictured along Trader’s Row at the state site and actually shows a small portion of the may people who attend the event. PIONEER FILE PHOTO/Virginia Giorgis

Plans are for the Mountain Man Rendezvous to again be on tap in 2021

FORT BRIDGER — The 2020 Fort Bridger Rendezvous was cancelled by the Rendezvous Board last Saturday, July 11, in a joint meeting held with state site officials.

Fort Bridger Historical Site Director Linley Mayer was out and about in Fort Bridger Saturday informing the businesses and had plans to do the same in Lyman and Mountain View.

This is the first time in the 48-year history of the Rendezvous that this action was necessary. It follows on the footsteps of numerous event cancelations throughout Wyoming and elsewhere.

The Fort Bridger Rendezvous and black powder shoot brings to life the mountain man era when hardy men went West to trap beaver, the preferred material for hats for city gents in the east in the early 1800s. The era was short-lived as silk top hats became the norm.

According to the post Saturday by the Rendezvous board, they stated, “It is with great sadness and a heavy hearts that we must announce the cancellation of the 2020 Fort Bridger Rendezvous. This was a very hard decision and was based on two main factors —

  • The sheer amount of extra work and expense that would be needed to comply with all current health regulations.
  • Along with that, the board has spent the last 48 years making sure that the rendezvous keeps up to, and is held to the highest historical standards. It is a simple fact, if the Rendezvous was to be held this year, we could not maintain those standards with the restrictions and requirements placed upon us. Believe me, that we are just as disappointed to write this as you are to read it.”

Current plans are to host the Rendezvous in 2021.

The Fort Bridger Rendezvous grew from a meager handful of tepees in 1972, held on a wintery, drizzling light snow weekend with only a few participants to a mega-event, which brings in thousands of people to the Fort Bridger State Site over the Labor Day weekend.

Since the beginning of 13 teepees, the Rendezvous has grown to a massive event and been reported on by the BBC in England and by a television crew in Germany. And, who knows how many others? Many times one of the Salt Lake City television news helicopters have been seen circling overhead at the state site.

the Fort Bridger Rendezvous has continued to grow to maximum amount of Traders and teepees in the primitive village on the state grounds. There is also a huge overflow of tin-teepees as many attend the event and camp on adjacent property.

This growth has made the Rendezvous the second-largest visitor event in Wyoming – only out shined size-wise by Cheyenne Frontier Days. And this growth, this massive amount of participants and visitors alike has necessitated the cancellation of the 2020 Rendezvous because of the health restrictions, etc. of the pandemic.


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