|Rocky Mountain Rendezvous|
Typical rendezvous scene
|Status||No longer held|
|Years active||1825 - 1840|
|Founder||William Henry Ashley|
Rocky Mountain Rendezvous (in trapper jargon) was an annual gathering (1825-1840) at various locations held by a fur trading company at which trappers and mountain men sold their furs and hides and replenished their supplies. The large fur companies put together teamster driven mule trains which packed in whiskey and supplies into a pre-announced location each spring-summer and set up a trading fair--the rendezvous--and at the season's end, packed furs out, normally the British Companies to Fort Vancouver in the Pacific Northwest, and to one of the northern Missouri River ports such as St. Joseph, Missouri, if an American overland fur trading company.
Rendezvous were known to be lively, joyous places, where all were allowed- free trappers, Indians, native trapper wives and children, travelers and later on, even tourists who would venture from even as far as Europe to observe the festivities. James Beckwourth describes: "Mirth, songs, dancing, shouting, trading, running, jumping, singing, racing, target-shooting, yarns, frolic, with all sorts of extravagances that white men or Indians could invent."
Rendezvous are still celebrated as gatherings of like-minded individuals or clubs in many walks of life. The fur trading rendezvous are celebrated by traditional black-powder rifle clubs all over the US and Canada. These gatherings range from small gatherings sponsored by local clubs to large gatherings like the Pacific Primitive Rendezvous and others. These gatherings include much of the same activities of the originals, centering on the shooting of muzzle-loaded rifles, trade guns and shotguns, the throwing of knives and tomahawks and primitive archery, as well as cooking, dancing, singing, the telling of tall tales and of past rendezvous. Personas taken on by participants include trappers, traders, housewives, Native Americans, frontiersmen, free-trappers and many others, including soldiers.