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Below is the article that was in the papers...I am activities director for our church and this is our second year to do this. It is a lot of fun and is to encourage self-reliance.

An approximate 3,000 men ranged the mountains in the window between 1820 and 1840. A rendezvous was an annual gathering of the mountain men, Native Americans, and traders. By the mid-1830s, it attracted 450-500 men. Beaver pelts had been needed to make beaver hats. Fashions changed in the early 1840s, making beaver less valuable at the same time they became harder to find due to over trapping. The opening of the Oregon Trail and the use of the Mormon Trail provided trappers who wished to stay in the West opportunities for employment as guides and hunters.

Most trappers traveled and worked in companies and their dress combined woolen hats and cloaks with serviceable Indian style leather breeches and shirts. Mountain men often wore moccasins, but generally carried a pair of heavy boots. Each mountain man also carried basic gear, which could include arms, powder horns and a shot pouch, knives and hatchets, canteens, cooking utensils, and supplies of tobacco, coffee, salt, and pemmican. Horses or mules were essential, a riding horse for each man and at least one for carrying supplies and furs.

In Blanchard, on July 24, from 9 am until noon. You can experience a small part of a rendezvous. There will be teepees set up with bedding, clothing, and Native American artifacts inside. There will also be demonstrations of Black powder, archery, long bows, and hawking (throwing a tomahawk). Rick Cox of Shawnee and Jim Bishop of Midwest City are gun makers and will demonstrate their trade. Monroe and Terri Walters of Blanchard and Felipe Sagastizado of Newcastle will answer questions of this era and show many of these skills.

There will be archery for the children provided by Jonny Randall of Middleburg. Blacksmith, Wes Baker of Alex, will demonstrate his art and he has generously offered to provide free snow cones (yea, I know they are not pioneerish...but in July...Yea!) Terry Jenkins of Blanchard, another Blacksmith will also be there.

Dutch oven cooking, by Beth Stone and friends of Yukon, will provide you with a treat as you learn to cook outside. We will also have events from the later Pioneer era. The pioneers had to be completely self-sufficient on the trail and they learned to make do or do without.

This will be a day of information, but fun as well. We will have pioneer games for the children.

There will be a live blue grass band, to add to the occasion and we will provide plenty of shade. Indoors we will have the following: Lye Soap Making by Wanda Dismukes of Washington, Bread making by Gale Nelson of Blanchard.

Traveling with Pioneers will be taught by Wendy Humphrey of Noble. Wendy will also have some pioneer art. If you want to crochet, bring 4-ply worsted weight yarn and a G crochet hook. Kathy Stidham of Chickasha will teach crocheting.

Gardening will be by Wes Lee, who is the McClain County Extension Agent and Grady County Extension agent, Susan Routh, will have preparedness literature and information on Canning.

Shannon Unruh of Spring Creek Dairy Farm near Chickasha will show how to make butter. Oscar Nelson a Bee keeper from Chickasha will talk about his trade and John Tankersley, Newcastle, will demonstrate Gold prospecting.

We have other individuals who are tentatively coming, so we hope there will be even more to learn. If you are a group or individual interested in participating in our Pioneer Festival, please call: Tammy Sagastizado at 387-2775. The festival is on Saturday, July 24, 9 am until noon at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at 117 W. Blanchard Dr., Blanchard, OK.

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