Clayton: Modern-day rendezvous this Saturday
The Rocky Mountain Rendezvous was an annual gathering that began in 1825 at various locations held by a fur trading company at which trappers and mountain men sold their furs and hides and replenished their supplies. The fur companies assembled teamster-driven mule trains which carried whiskey and supplies to a pre-announced location each spring-summer and set up a trading fair — the rendezvous — and at the season's end, packed furs out to the British Company to Fort Vancouver in the Pacific Northwest, and to one of the northern Missouri River ports such as St. Joseph, Missouri.
Rendezvous were known to be lively events, where all were allowed — fur trappers, Native Americans, native trapper wives and children, travelers and later tourists who would venture from as far as Europe to observe the festivities.
This Saturday (March 6) there will be an event in Greenville, Texas, that we have named the annual winter Ron-De-Voux. This is our second time to hold the event; the first was in December of 2019. The event was born out of what I and others thought was a need for outdoor folks to have a "get together" in an informal outdoor setting.
My friend Randy Koon, who owns Carquest and Henley Auto Supply in Greenville on Stonewall Street, stepped up and offered his 4.5 wooded acres adjacent his business as a headquarters. He has used the grounds to host antique car shows and after looking it over, we decided it was perfect for our Ron-De-Voux.
Don’t expect us to be wearing coonskin caps and buckskin this Saturday but there will be some very experienced modern day outdoorsmen and women including the likes of Larry Weishuhn (aka ‘Mr. Whitetail’) and Kenneth Tallent, who’s from northeast Texas and host of the popular TV show, “Double Lung Outdoors.”
I remember my friend Larry Weishuhn once saying, “I would have never made it as a mountain man with my flat feet and poor eyesight.” Knowing my friend as I do, I have a feeling he would have figured out a way to make it as a trapper in the mountains, flat feet or not!
I always keep a campfire burning at the event and this has become a gathering point for friends to set around the fire and talk about past outdoor adventures and adventures to come! During my life as an outdoors writer, hunting outfitter and one that grew up loving the outdoors, I have made many friends with a like love for everything outdoors and many of these fine friends will be present at the event.
This year’s event will host an antique car show, booths with vendors, live music, food and much more. If you have a question about most anything outdoor related, pull up a chair around the campfire, chances are very good that one of my friends will have the answer. It’s a great place to connect with others.
Compared to the majority of outdoor "shows," this one is very laid back and informal. Rather than listening to a speaker on stage during a 15-minute seminar, you can ask your questions face to face with guys and gals that make their living in the outdoors.
It’s tough to really "visit" at an indoor show with booths that are usually crowded. I’ve spent time in such settings and believe me, they are definitely not the place for a casual visit about anything outdoor related. Sipping a cup of coffee around a campfire is a much better plan. I’ve got a smorgasbord of knowledgeable friends that will be on hand to visit with you about myriad outdoor topics.
Interested in bow hunting elk or bear or maybe catching crappie or catfish at a local lake? How about making that trip up to fish a remote fly-in lake up in Canada for pike or walleye? All you need to do is show an interest and chances are good one of my buddies or I will be happy to share their outdoor experiences with you.
I’m sure I will be a bit busy during the event but I like it that way. I will have a big enamel pot of coffee on the fire pit and you are more than welcome to stop by and "jaw" a while. For me, it’s a great opportunity to meet many of the folks that read my outdoor columns, listen to my radio shows or watch the weekly outdoor video “A Sportsman’s Life” that I do with Jeff Rice and Larry Weishuhn.
The event will begin at 10 a.m. and end at 4 p.m. For more information, contact Randy Koon at (903) 456-3048. The address is 1510 Stonewall St., Greenville.
TURKEY UPDATE: After the bout with frigid arctic weather a couple weeks ago, I checked in with several of my buddies that manage ranches and many of them experience a heavy loss of exotics such as Axis deer and blackbuck antelope. Our native species seem to have fared much better.
Randy Douglas who manages the Dale River Ranch in Palo Pinto County says he has seen no negative impact on the turkey flock, as a matter of fact gobblers were sounding off all over the ranch when the ice finally melted. The birds were probably as happy as we to see the cold weather subside. Randy is offering affordable day hunts for turkey if you are looking for a good ranch to hunt. Contact him through www.daleriverranch.com or call (214) 797-2217.
Contact outdoors writer Luke Clayton via email. www.catfishradio.org