Under the Leather

What makes the Mountain Man Rendezvous different from your average summer festival? Leather fringe, for starters. Many of the participants dress like Davy Crockett, set up camp in tepees and cook over open fires. And they also compete in a variety of crowd-pleasing activities, including black-powder rifle matches, tomahawk throws and cow-patty tosses.

"It's bring-your-own rifles and 'hawks," says Joe Cacciatore, vice president of the Pueblo-based Bell's Fort Free Trappers and Muzzle Loaders group, which will host this year's rendezvous at Royal Gorge Park in Canon City. "But the cow patties will be provided."

Bell's Fort is one of many state associations that reenact the early-1800s period when mountain-dwelling fur trappers would venture down to civilization to trade, sell goods and socialize in a week-long pre-winter gathering. The 2011 version of that rendezvous starts today and continues through noon on Monday. Admission is free; competition entry is $15 for an individual or $20 for families. Park admission ($25 for adults, $21 for seniors and $19 for children four to eleven) is not required for folks attending just the rendezvous, which takes place at the park's South Rim, but some visitors may opt to hit two birds with one musket ball. And if you'd like to spend the entire weekend going back in time, camping is $12 a night for ages fourteen and up, and $5 a night for the young-uns. For more information, go to www.bellsfort.com.
Sept. 3-5, 2011