Fort Henry Buckskinner’s Jr. Rendezvous gives hands-on history experience for kids
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RIGBY — Some students get to learn about Idaho history in the classroom, and others get to experience it.
Some 2,500 local kids attended a Junior Rendezvous in Jefferson County last week. The event was hosted by the Fort Henry Buckskinners, a club that holds regional events celebrating the lifestyle of the fur-trading era.
“It’s been fantastic. A lot of kids (are) coming through,” spokesman Mike “Iron Horse” Hogle said.
The annual event held at Krupp Scout Hollow precedes the Buckskinners’ annual Mountain Man Rendezvous next month, which is open to the public.
The Junior Rendezvous was a chance for the Buckskinners to show their mountain man skills to youngsters while teaching them a little bit about local history.
“We’re focusing on the history of the mountain man and the trapper coming back in, in the early 1800s,” Hogle says.
Hogle says the Junior Rendezvous has been one they’ve held for the last 28 years. It was originally founded by a fellow Buckskinner, Deon “Curly” Davenport.
“We’ve been pretty blessed to keep it going, and he kind of gave us the inspiration,” Hogle says.
This year, fourth-grade students learned about Capt. Andrew Henry, the 1800s trapper who explored Idaho wilderness and built Fort Henry near the Henrys Fork of the Snake River. The rendezvous “booshway,” (leader of the camp) Reef “Little Buck” Brague, played Henry.
“(Henry is) the gentleman that brought the mountain men here, and so we thought it was important to have him represented,” Brague says.
Hogle says the event’s purpose is to preserve the history of those trappers who came through or settled in the valley.
Two-hour sessions were held for different students on scheduled days. Students from various school districts within the area participated. They attended various mountain man stations including — a blacksmith station, beaver trapping, storytelling, fire starting, beading, women’s living and more.
“The biggest one for the kids, of course, is the gun range they get to see the cannons shot. They get to see the rifles fired,” Hogle says.
The Buckskinners also held an event with several kids and their parents, something they’ve never done before.
“It’s just something that we want– to just have fun with families as well as the fourth-graders,” Brague says.
The 29th annual Mountain Man Rendezvous will be held June 5 through 9 near Ashton.