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Beginner's Corner


How Do I Find These Darn Things?
Phil Jose

By now you might be calling me a sadist. You're probably thinking to yourself, "That jerk told me to read, so I read 'til my eyes ached. He told me to think long and hard about my persona, so I thought 'til my brain hurt. He told me to drop thirty beans to join the NMLRA, and I did that." (By the way, you have been doing these things, RIGHT?) "He's even told me to pick up information at different events, but-- I can't find any events to go to!!"

Well, my sense of humor leans only towards warped, not outright sadistic. I'm chuckling with you, not guffawing at you. I was there not too long ago, so I know how frustrating it is when you're pumped up, wanting to go to an event, and the next one that you know about is four months away. In fact, I sometimes think that one of the toughest things about breaking into this hobby is finding those first few rendezvous. That's what we'll cover here.

The most sure-fire way of finding a list of events is through some of the publications I mentioned in the article on reading, "Your First Buckskinning Secret Revealed." "Smoke and Fire" seperates their events by era, (F&I, RevWar, etc.) a good thing if you have a specific interest. "RendezNous" is also a good source for events, since that's the main reason it's published.

Another good bet is the Web. (Yep, even the most primitive skinners among us are showing disturbing signs of computer literacy.) Go to your favorite search engine; "black powder," "muzzleloading," and "rendezvous" will get results. Then go down the list a bit. The lesser-known pages maintained by individuals are more likely to either carry information about upcoming events, or provide links to pages that do.
(If you find a page that you really like, be sure to drop an email. It's gratifying to hear from total strangers who stop to say "Thanks for a good site.")

When you start attending club meetings, find the secretary. A lot of clubs network together by exchanging flyers for events. It never hurts to ask. Even if there's no flyers to be had, odds are folks in your club are going to know something about upcoming events.

Anytime you're near your favorite historic site, keep a lookout at the office or museum. There's a good chance you'll find an "Events and Happenings" bulletin board. Usually the events listed aren't limited to the site. You'll find a lot of regional doings as well. If you don't find a board, then here's another chance to start knowing park staff a little better when you stop to tap them for information. (They can also give you a name to contact for any "Friends of" societies based from the site.)

Anytime you're at a rendezvous, keep an eagle eye out for flyers announcing upcoming events. When you find a stack of them, remember that they're there for the taking. This is your best souce for planning, since they include time period, what kind of firearms are allowed in the shoot, contact people, camp fee, special happenings at the event, and- wonder of wonders!- some sort of map. (Not a bad thing! Some events are held far enough out in the boonies where written directions would include things like "Turn off the gravel road.")

When you start gathering dates, you're going to start noticing certain patterns. For one thing, be sure to leave plenty of weekends open in the spring and fall. You're going to see a lot of doings listed for April and May, September and October. When you start getting more active, depending on your location, you may have to choose from multiple events happening on the same weekend. For the adventurous-- and well-prepared-- there are events going through the winter months as well. If you enjoy wearing leather or wool with the temperature in the nineties, there's summer events to accomodate you.

Here's a word of warning-- events do not reschedule due to inclement weather.
The only time I can remember a rendezvous rescheduled was back in '95. The Mississippi River had put the campsite under three feet of water.)
If the weatherman is calling for steady rain that weekend-- oh, well. If the campsite gets too swampy for you to drive your vehicle on, then you learn about the two time-honored rendezvous traditions called "packing in" and "packing out," wherein you drag everything you came with from the parking lot to your campsite and/or vice versa.

Another thing you'll start to notice is that events are always scheduled for the same weekend every year. If you had a blast at the Fort de Chartres Rendezvous that first full weekend in June of '98, then plan to come back the first full June weekend of '99. On the rarest of occasions, an event will change its weekend or its location. You can be sure that the word gets out in plenty of time.

I hope this has been some help to you. Again, I know that it frustrating trying to find those first few events, but bear with it. When those publications you subscribed to start coming in, you'll breath a little easier. And who knows? If you stick with it and start participating, and our schedules jibe, and God be willing and the crick don't rise-- Then I hope to meet you in camp.

Copyright 1999, Philip Jose.


A short note from jp:
A good place to start on the net would be the MA Bip Rendezvous Page. A short look on the Links Page might get you pointed in the right direction if you are looking for another area.
Phil might be found at the doin' that he is helping out with this year, or at a FdC event where he is a member.
Mark your calendar and be sure to attend:


It is my Pleasure to convey to you from the Village of Fleuriffant, in that Region of the Louisiana Territory known as "Miffouri," an Invitation:

WHEREAS, in order to celebrate the Spirit of Fun & Fellowship, a RENDEZVOUS has been Proclaimed for October 9 & 10, 1999. The Village of Fleuriffant shall Graciously provide such Amenities as Wood, Water, and the Ubequiteous Neceffity known as the "Pour du Potte." Those truly moved by the Abovementioned Spirit may Arrive and Set Up on the Afternoon of Friday, October 8.

WHEREAS, in order to further celebrate its Colonial Heritage, all those setting up Camp under the French or Spanish Flag are invited to Pitch their Canvas in a Special Pre-1803 Camp-Within-A-Camp, wherein proper Tentage and Trade Goods shall be the Order of the Day. (Any Firearms bearing such effeminate Traits such as Rear Sights, Grooves inside the Barrel, and Precuffion locks should be Discretely Stored.)

WHEREAS this Event is on the West Bank of the Miffiffippi, this Fair & Fertile Land has never been sullied by a Union Jack flying over it. Hence, the Pre-1803 Camp shall be free of that Pestilence on both Humanity and Civilization known as the British.

WHEREAS, in order to show proper Respect to their Flags, all Military Units and Compaigne de Malice should be prepared to participate in Opening and Closing Ceremonies.

WHEREAS, the said Village of Fleuriffant being in a Region of Wilderneff, all Military and Militia Units should be Prepared to help defend this Event from poffible Mauraders. To maintain Good Military discipline, an occaisional Drill may be in Order.

WHEREAS the Adventurous and Foolhardy shall be warmly welcomed, if they so Choose, they shall have an Honored Place in our Corps of Dog Soldiers and Firewatch..

WHEREAS this Proclamation may raise more Questions than Provide Answers, contact Phil Jose (314-524-6254 or for Further Details.

Your Presence & Participation is Eagerly Awaited.
FROM THE JEFFERSON BARRACKS BRIDGE-Take I-255 north to I-270. Continue on I-270 to Exit 25B (north on Lindbergh).
FROM I-55, I-44, I-70- Take I-270 north (towards Chicago) to Exit 25B (north on Lindbergh).
FROM THE CHAIN OF ROCKS BRIDGE- Take I-270 west to the north Lindbergh exit.
ONCE NORTHBOUND ON LINDBERGH- Go 1.7 miles to the stoplight at Washington-Charbonnier. Go right on Washington past the first stoplight. Turn LEFT on St. Charles St.and look for canvas on the left.
NOTE-- There's two Lindbergh exits, one in north St. Louis County (Exit 25, the right one), and one in south St. Louis County (the wrong one!).


Have a comment for Phil? Hey, Phil!

Have a comment for the MA Bip? Hey, jp!

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