July 2017 Booshway Corner
Is Fort Bridger for Kids?
Many times in events like the Fort Bridger rendezvous, there is little for the kids to do. Seems like traders row and the shooting events are geared to the adults and the children are there for the camp out. This is certainly not true at Bridger. This rendezvous has many things to do for kids of all ages and it is a real pleasure seeing them enjoy activities that don’t include their thumbs on an electronic game.
The big event for the younger ones occurs on Saturday during the kids games. Imagine 200 kids of different ages all dressed in period clothing and meeting in a large field. The kids are separated by age and then each group goes to a separate station. The stations have different activities, such as running a hoop with a stick, or sack race. After a short time, the alarm is sounded and everyone moves to the next station and it starts all over. This continues until all the stations have been attended by each child.
Just about the time they think it is over, a long rope is brought out and tug of war begins. There is so much cheering and encouragement. Last year, the girls seemed to win over and over. To make it fair, they had to use only one hand to give the boys a chance. (I am pretty sure the boys were outnumbered). Later, they all follow along with a upbeat song and are given some gifts to help remind them of the good time they had. Although the children seem to be thoroughly entertained, I can say with certainty that the adults running the event had as much fun as the kids.
Other events to keep kids going include the candy cannon that is fired off several times during the rendezvous. There is an egg frying contest where the fastest to start a fire using primitive methods and then eating a cooked egg from that fire is the winner. There is so much cheering and fun. For an event that is held in the street in front of the guard house, its popularity grows each year.
The knife and hawk area attracts those kids who are too old for kids games and too young to compete with the rifles. Even when there is not competition, they seem to play on for hours. Each evening, I have to tell them to stop as it is getting to dark. First thing in the morning they are back at it again!
The youth division in the shooting competition is lively and the winner can end up with a rifle. It is an attractive prize that stimulates the desire to compete. The goal is to encourage the sport so that it will last well into the future.
For those young wheeler and dealers, there is a round robin traders blanket for kids. They can test their trading skills against each other. There is little doubt, these will be the future merchants on traders row as they get older.
The events I have mentioned are a lot of fun and they are truly enjoyed, but what does my heart the most good, it to walk along the creek and see so many with their pant legs rolled up catching crawdads. They have a jar for their bounty and could not be more proud of their catch. It brings back so many memories to this old grandpa.
There is little doubt that Fort Bridger is anticipated as much by the kids as the adults. The camp out with their family, the Indian dancers, the games, and the chance to just be kids, make it a memory builder for these young souls. The future of rendezvous is indeed in the hands of these young folks to carry on the traditions learned here at the Fort Bridger Rendezvous. It is so good to be a part of something as wholesome as Fort Bridger. Hard to believe that it is less than two months away. Can the excitement be building already?