September 9, 2017
I wanted to take my last writing as Booshway of the Fort Bridger Rendezvous
to tell you how proud I am of the conduct of the thousands of people who
enjoyed the weekend. In our time when we hear so much of discontent and
social problems, they did not exist at Bridger. Not once was I called in the
night and the minor incidence we did have, were not worth mentioning. I
saw nothing but respect and tolerance. It is so refreshing to experience this
behavior in such a large group.
It sure was fun, wasn’t it? I talked to someone who had not been there in a
long time and thought that that the traders engaged more with the public than
he had remembered. I talked to one who came to the event after I tried to
explain what it was all about. After the event I asked if I oversold it. He
said, with a big smile, that I didn’t give it enough credit and that he had no
idea how fantastic it was.
The bag pipers were surprisingly young and had enthusiasm and excitement
in their performance. They should have a long and enjoyable future. The
Indian dancers and various musical performances gave the rendezvous that
extra touch not heavily advertised.
The Dutch oven contest, in its first year on the fort grounds, was an instant
hit. Over 150 people tasted the fruits of the event to vote in the people’s
choice award. Some of the participants had never competed before and had a
great time. With a little tuning, the event will be even better next year.
The rifle range was a big success as usual. The biggest complaint I heard
was that there was too much shooting, imagine that! A young man who had
just been given a flint lock by his aunt was anxious to try it out and the range
master went out of his way to help him out. It made the rendezvous for this
The knife and hawk competition exceeded the expectations of the
participants. Each night I had to shut down the range. I guess I was the only
one that noticed that the sun had retired and it was too dark to play. I was
asked by two boys on the last day if it would be alright if they kept throwing
if they used flashlights. When I told them it would not be safe, they said that
they had to leave in the morning and would miss out. I invited them to come
back at sunrise and sure enough, they were there.
We broke records for attendance at the kid’s games. All the kids made their
parents proud with their conduct. I feel for the crawdads, however, the kids
could not have had more fun in their pursuit. I truly hope that these young
souls had great memories and refer back to Bridger as one of the great times
in their lives.
I attended the cannon shoot and was absolutely amazed at how accurate a big
gun could shoot at over 800 yards away. I was so well received at the site, it
was truly humbling.
I know that I am missing some events and activities that would be worthy of
mentioning and I apologize for that. I do believe that each person who
attended or serviced the rendezvous generated lasting memories. After all,
isn’t that what the good part of life is all about?
On the last day we are required to restore the site back to its original
condition, except for the foot traffic in the grass. Both Chris Floyd, the
superintendent, and I were so impressed at how clean the fort was on the
Tuesday afternoon walk around. It was rare to even find a clear candy
wrapper. The campers, traders, and board members worked diligently to
make sure that Fort Bridger received the respect it deserved.
Clearly, the efforts by the 14 volunteer board members showed the results of
planning and the common goal of making this event all it could be. Next
year, the new Booshway is Heather Shell. She and I have worked together all
year and I cannot think of a better person to serve as your new Booshway.
She comes with an enthusiasm for the event and the people skills to make the
2018 rendezvous every bit a success as this one.
Lastly, I would like to thank the board and all the participants for the
opportunity to serve as Booshway. It is a time of great pride in my bank of
memories. I hope to see you all again next year.
Bob Christensen (True Story)