The Sublette County Journal
Volume 4, Number 46 - 7/14/00
brought to you online by Pinedale Online
After many years spent avoiding the Rendezvous, a local returns
by Jennifer Binning
Two weeks ago, I found myself looking forward to the second Saturday in July with varying degrees of dread. There were so many things I had to do, so little time in which to do them, and all those tourists were bound to get in my way as I tried to do it all. Oh yeah, Rendezvous was going to be a whole lot of fun all right.
Armed with camera and tape recorder, my first tentative stop was at the Museum of the Mountain Man and the Women Artists of the West quick draw. I had never been to one of these, and I couldn't imagine that the artwork would be much more than a few quick sketches. When I arrived at the Museum, I noticed people were happily lounging around on the sun-drenched patio in front of the building, simply having a wonderful time talking to old friends and meeting new ones. Somehow, I too became engaged in conversation, and wound up being just minutes late for the start of the Quick Draw. As I danced my way through the crowd milling about inside the Museum, I noticed that there was not a simple sketch in sight.
Quite a bit, actually. As I stepped up to take a picture, I noticed that the lump of clay before her looked an awful lot like the mountain man who was watching her work. The artist introduced herself as Joyce Killebrew from Sedona, Arizona, then the mountain man spoke. Bill Yates is from Memphis, Tennessee and had worked with Elvis for six years as a piano player. He then playfully scolded me for taking his picture when he didn't have his teeth in. As I continued to walk around the museum looking in awe at the wonderful exhibits, I was stunned at the extraordinary quality of the work the women artists were producing.
The quick draw came to a close, and after a few moments of last minute framing, the auction of the artwork began.
After a quick bite of dinner with friends, I retired to my home so I could try and make my daughter a dress for the Rendezvous pageant on Saturday. Fortunately, I found the buckskin dress I wore in the pageant years ago and after about an hour's work, I was reasonably sure that the seams of the dress would remain intact. I was actually beginning to look forward to seeing my daughter run around in the Indian camp in my dress, just as I had done.
After working up an enormous appetite watching the race, it was time to dig in at the pancake breakfast in the Congregational Church where they flipped hot cakes steadily from 7 to 10 a.m. when patrons began to filter out to the street for the beginning of the parade.
This year's parade seemed to stretch for miles as float after wonderful float drifted down Pine, with flocks of children venturing off the sidewalks to grab candy by the handful.
During a stroll down Pine later in the afternoon, I struck up a conversation with a Harley Davidson biker from Rock Springs in full regalia, who was busy raising money for the Wyoming Special Olympics. This group of burly ladies and gents, who turn into marshmallows when discussing their cause, has become known worldwide for their efforts on behalf of Wyoming children.
With only one major fight being reported early Sunday, it looked like the weekend was beginning to wind down, but I was not quite ready for it to end.
The best, however, was left for last. Over the years, I have been fortunate enough to catch snippets of Michael Terry's lectures while chasing my children through the Fine Arts Council's children's program, but I had no idea what I had been missing. Along with about 100 others, I sat enthralled for over an hour watching, listening, laughing and absorbing every word of Mr. Terry's program. Each year more people find out about this wonderful part of Rendezvous, and this year, over 900 people attended Mr. Terry's performances.
The Green River Rendezvous of the late 1800s was a time for visitor and native alike to gather and exchange ideas, goods and have a wonderfully good time. In this, the modern Rendezvous has changed little, with old friends and new meeting, greeting and having a ball. I truly cannot wait until next year.
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