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Aug 5, 2009 through Aug 9, 2009
9:00 AM to 4:30 PM
Mountain Man Rendezvous
With special guest Johnny D. Boggs

New Mexico History Museum

Tough economic times hardly faze the folks ready to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Mountain Man Rendezvous in the Palace of the Governors Courtyard. From Aug. 5-9 (see daily schedule below), craftspeople, re-enactors, authors and musicians will share a wealth of know-how on the “simple life” of another era – the early 1800s, to be precise.

As a special addition to this year’s lineup, award-winning author Johnny D. Boggs will speak at 2 pm Sunday, Aug. 9, on “Mountain Men in Literature, Film and Pop Culture.” Honored by three Spur Awards and a Western Heritage Wrangler Award, Boggs, a Santa Fe resident, is an engaging interpreter of the American West. His lecture, in the New Mexico History Museum auditorium, will examine the popularity of Mountain Men from early dime novels in the 1800s to serious literary studies of the 20th century, from movies like The Big Trail and Jeremiah Johnson to the rise of buck-skinning festivals and reenactments. (For more on Boggs, go to http://www.johnnydboggs.com/.)

Among the earliest Anglos to reach America’s West, Mountain Men were hunters and fur trappers whose rugged lives left Rocky Mountain legends from roughly 1820-1840. Their survival skills, including trading with Native Americans (and sometimes evading them), built a foundation of knowledge for the settlers who followed on the Santa Fe Trail. Among the 1,000 who roamed the West during the fur trade’s heyday were folks like Kit Carson and Jedediah Smith.

The tradition of the rendezvous started in 1825. A gathering to exchange pelts for supplies and reorganize trapping units evolved into a month-long carnival in the wilderness. According to one observer: "Mountain companies … make as crazy a set of men I ever saw." There were horse races, running races, card games, checkers, target shooting, singing and gambling. Whiskey drinking, not surprisingly, accompanied it all.

While the Museum’s rendezvous won’t include alcohol, this family-friendly event – free but for the opening morning’s preview – includes period music, the display and sale of authentic and reproduced items, and games and hands-on activities for children. From 10 am to noon on Friday, Aug. 7, visit the touch table and “discovery box” for a true feel of the everyday items used by these pioneers – as well as a few slick, furry and flat-out hair-raising ones.

Michael Combs and his son, Dependable Hickory Strongheart, will perform traditional Mountain Man music from 5:30-7 pm on Friday, Aug. 7. Rooted in the songs and dances of their birthlands – Scotland, Quebec, England and more – Mountain Men accompanied their tunes with banjos, fiddles, concertinas, clapping, stomps and improvised dance steps.

On Saturday, Aug. 8, from 10 am to noon, Scot Bol from the Wildlife Center, New Mexico’s only wildlife hospital and education center, will show off some of the birds that sail our Western skies.

Enter for free through the Blue Gate, just south of the History Museum’s entrance at 113 Lincoln Avenue. Or add a visit to the History Museum and the Palace of the Governors, where children 16 and under are always free. Admission for N.M. adults is $6, $9 for others.

Mountain Man Rendezvous schedule:

Aug. 5

8-10 am: Preview, Palace Courtyard, $10

10am-4:30pm: Courtyard events; free with entry through the Blue Gate on Lincoln Avenue

Aug. 6

9am-4:30pm: Courtyard events; free with entry through the Blue Gate

Aug. 7

9am-4:30pm: Courtyard events; free with entry through the Blue Gate

10am-noon: Touch table and “discovery box” offer a chance to learn about trade items, pelts and more; in the Courtyard

5:30-7pm: Michael Combs and Dependable Hickory Strongheart perform Mountain Man music; in the Courtyard

Aug. 8

9am-4:30pm: Courtyard events; free with entry through the Blue Gate

10am-noon: New Mexico Wildlife Center displays the animals of the American West; in the Courtyard

2pm: Beading and flintknapping demonstration by Charlie Acuña; in the Courtyard (For more on Acuña, go to http://stonedge.com/)

Aug. 9

9am-3pm: Courtyard events; free with entry through the Blue Gate

2pm: ** SPECIAL EVENT ** Western novelist Johnny D. Boggs on the role of Mountain Men in literature, film and music; New Mexico History Museum Auditorium; free with Museum admission (free to N.M. residents on Sunday; free always to children 16 and under)

 


For more information, contact Rene Harris at 505-476-5087 , rene.harris@state.nm.us



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