Modern mountain men from throughout Utah and surrounding states will draw back the curtain across time April 1-3 when they stage the 1988 Spring Rendezvous at Fort Buenaventura State Park.
Located along the Weber River at 2450 A St., the park is the site of Utah's first permanent white settlement and has been restored to look much as it did when mountain men frequented the log compound in the early 1800s.Mountain men and their families and traders dealing in muzzle-loading rifles and pistols, mountain-man clothing, tools and other items will begin setting up their tepees and lean-tos April 1.
The colorful lodgings, their even more colorful occupants dressed in period clothing, the restored fort, the many blankets covered with trading goods and the contests are expected to attract thousands to the park. On April 3, an Easter egg hunt will be held for children under 12.
Contestants will be competing for $2,000 in donated prizes and a muzzle-loading, black-powder flintlock rifle will be given to the overall winner of a series of shooting and knife-throwing contests and a mountain-man run.
Modern campers are also invited to camp in the park for an overnight camping fee of $5 per night. Day-use fees are $3 per vehicle or $1 per person for walk-ins.
Traders, with period trade goods only, will be charged a $10 fee for the three days, and minimal fees will be charged to participants in the mountain-man contests.
Modern mountain man Lyle Gingery, who is a park ranger at the Jordan River State Park on Redwood Road in Salt Lake City, helped make the prize rifle that will be given away.
He said he spent at least 60 hours inletting the curly maple stock and putting the Siler lock and Getz barrel together. Rifle-maker Glen Jones, Syracuse, applied the custom engraving to the lock, patch box and other areas, and his apprentice, Gordon Hopkins, polished and browned the barrel and stained and finished the stock.
Gingery values the rifle at more than $800 and described it as a .54-caliber flintlock of the style used from 1775 to 1840, "from the Revolutionary War through the mountain-man and beaver-trapping era.
"The 42-inch-long swamped barrel is especially tapered to give the rifle terrific balance and relatively light weight. It is designed to shoot a patched ball of 230 to 250 grains."
He said rifles of this kind were very accurate and soldiers, mountain men and pioneers who were proficient with such weapons could consistently hit small targets at 150 yards or farther.
A student of the mountain-man era since he was a boy, Gingery said he has been making black-powder rifles since he was 15. He is a member of the Western Long Rifle Association and the American Mountain Men.
"Being a modern mountain man is a great hobby, a fine family project and a wonderful way to learn about history and America," Gingery said.
"Just about everyone who is involved in the hobby will be glad to tell visitors at the rendezvous how to get started in black-powder shooting and how to join a club."