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Mountain Man Rendezvous sends visitors back in time to the early 1800s

JACKSON, Wyo. (KIFI)- A blast from the past came back to the Teton County Fair Grounds in Jackson the week leading up to Memorial Day. Vendors from all over the country came to Jackson to help people embrace the past and the legacy left behind by the famed mountain men that carved the region.

For many of the vendors preserving that legacy are the passion and the reason that helps them come to the Rendezvous.

"I am preserving history and I'm able to tell the story that honestly, a lot of us love to need to hear in a way that's interesting and can build memories for families, for years to come. And I get a huge kick out of the experience that I get to give other people by being the means by which they hear the stories of history," said Mark Maxfield a Knifesmith who makes knives similar to those that mountain men would use.

He said what separates the mountain man's knife from others is the blade itself.

"It's a little bit longer and has a very, very gradual belly was really popular because a lot of people would carry them as a backup weapon because back then, when a lot of guns, oh yeah, weren't too accurate, and then the ones that were accurate required more skill to use."

The knife wouldn't be too dissimilar from a butcher knife many of us would probably find in our kitchen, Maxfield said.

For Maxfield, his goal is the preservation of history especially history that hits close to home.

"By preserving history, we are keeping those who came before us alive. And if we're standing basically where our ancestors were, it's important that we remember what they did while we were here, not just so that we can avoid the mistakes, but also so that we can keep alive their successes and make those successes and those beautiful moments happen over and over and over again for ourselves and for the people that we touch."

A goal that is shared by many of the vendors at the rendevous and Margi Scheller.

"This is a way kids can experience the outdoors and not a video game...they need to get out and experience life. Like when I was a kid, we built forts and lived and played in the woods, you know, all day long," Scheller said.

She added she wants to be able to pass on her skills in tanning and quill needlework to the next generation.

"I wish we could get younger people more interested and taking over some of this. I would love to teach young people how to kill or brain tan a hide, you know, to take care of themselves and not depend on a computer or a cell phone."

For Pam Pascali and her family, the goal of the vendors was achieved.

"I'm an anthropology student at Idaho State and a master's student, and so I really like all the traditional work and everything like that. And the flint mapping. I'm going to a flint knapping class right now, and there's one in West Yellowstone usually in August that we hit up. And so we saw this one. I thought they've (pointing to her niece and nephew) only got six days of school left. Let's go up and have some fun."

She said some of the vendors taught them about the different items they had and what the mountain men would have used them for, as well as tested their math-solving abilities.

But the favorites of the family ranged from the flint knapping to the quill needle art to the fur bags.

They shared for them not only did they learn a lot about the history of the region but it came alive for them in a unique way.

The rendezvous will continue until Memorial Day at the Teton County Fairgrounds in Jackson

Article Topic Follows: Wyoming

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Braydon Wilson

Braydon is a reporter for Local News 8 and Eyewitness News 3.


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