From the pages of
The Sublette County Journal
Volume 4, Number 46 - 7/14/00
brought to you online by Pinedale Online

Nancy Penton Smith cavorts during the Rendezvous Pagent with “Mark,” an Australian who was touring the Rocky Mountains with his new wife on their honeymoon.
A Meeting on the Green
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.

Rose and Bartley Skinner enjoy a well deserved moment in the sun as the Grand Marshalls of the Rendezvous Parade.
Being in the newspaper business, I knew there way no way in heck I was going to be able to take the weekend off and "get out of Dodge," as I had done for many years in the past. Having grown up during the "wild and crazy" Rendezvous of the 70s, I would suddenly become a "Rendezvous Snob" and leave town the moment the first smelly guy dressed in buckskins hit Pine Street. To my consternation, I was going to be stuck in town during the Pinedale equivalent of rush week, but this year I found Rendezvous to be a truly perception-altering experience.

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.

Craig Sheppard grabs a cool one before the long climb ahead in the Ramble.
Strategically placed around the exhibits, 5 artists were hard at work in their favorite mediums; oil, watercolor, pen and ink and clay. Surely, I thought, what did this woman expect to accomplish in clay with less than 40 minutes remaining?

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.

Mark Eatinger flips pancakes for the Community Congregational Church breakfast.
Once again out on the patio, auctioneer Roger Anderson quickly got the crowd into the spirit, and raised several hundred dollars for the Museum, and I became the proud owner of a genuine Ruth Rawhauser oil.

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.

Michael “Bad Hand” Terry draws an imaginary bow during an elecrtifying presentation.
Saturday dawned bright and early as I had been assigned to take pictures of the Rendezvous Ramble, which began at 7 a.m. On the way to the race, I dropped off the dress and shoes, locked the keys in my running car, and almost forgot film for my camera before reaching the starting line moments before the gun sounded. As I followed the racers up and down Fremont Lake road, I was pleased to see a woman, Leslie Jackson, in second place overall being doggedly pursued by Kelly Winters. Soon after the first few runners crossed the finish line, Sally Mackey came whizzing down the hill on her bike grinning from ear to ear at the sight of the finish line.

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.

Gil Winters and Kim Shaver enjoy a “light” moment during the Social Club’s Beard Auction.
Next it was time for the Rendezvous and the annual Lion's Club BBQ. The stands were filled to capacity as just about 1500 people watched the pageant, carefully orchestrated by a hobbled Julie Early.

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.

Bill Yakes takes a moment to contemplate his image created in one hour by Joyce Killebrew during the Quick Draw.
At 7, I ventured up to the rodeo, and found myself unable to stay out of the arena. The pulse quickening action of the bulls and broncs kept me transfixed and standing in the rain, while the inability to understand why someone would sign up for bull poker left me speechless.

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.

People gathered from near and far to worship at the annual DeSmet Mass in Daniel.
A beautiful, bright Sunday morning illuminated the DeSmet Monument perfectly for a morning of historic worship, and a quick trip through the tiny Daniel cemetery reading the names of those families that ultimately settled Sublette County.

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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