OGDEN — This year’s Fort Buenaventura Easter Rendezvous will include a slightly different take on the mountain-man theme.
Namely, mountain women.
Alan Phister, captain of the Fort Buenaventura Mountain Men and the “booshway” (mountain-man-in-charge) for this weekend’s festivities, says mountain women will take a larger role this year.
“In years past we always had a mountain man run, where participants have to shoot and hit a target, throw a tomahawk, start a fire and some other little things,” Phister said. “We were approached last year and asked by a group of women if they could put on a mountain woman skills competition.”
So this year — the 33rd year of the annual Easter weekend event — the “Mountain Woman Skills” competition is being added to events like the “Mountain Man Run” and the “Mountain Kid Run.”
Phister admitted even he doesn’t know what this year’s inaugural Mountain Woman Skills competition will involve, although he imagines it might involves things like how to start a fire, and how to sew using sinew from deer and elk.
“But I don’t really know, because we’ve left it up to them,” he said. “So it’s going to be a little bit of a surprise, what they come up with.”
Phister said they normally get five or six men competing in the Mountain Man Run, and about the same number in the Mountain Kids Run, so he imagines they might see about a half-dozen women in the inaugural Mountain Women Skills.
The rendezvous begins today and continues through Sunday at Fort Buenaventura, 2450 A Ave. Today is what Physter called the “school day,” with about 600 students from area schools coming to the rendezvous.
Then, on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, the event will be open to the public, with mountain man demonstrations and activities planned throughout the weekend. Hours are 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday. The Fort Buenaventura Mountain Men closing campfire will begin at noon on Sunday.
The event will include black-powder rifle/pistol shoots, archery competitions, knife and ’hawk throws, lance throws, primitive skills demonstrations, a Dutch-oven cooking contest, a frying pan toss contest, raffles, food and drink, and much more.
A candle shoot will feature contestants using their black-powder weapons to snuff out a flame without hitting the candle — which takes quite a bit of skill.
“Or, in my case, luck,” Phister says.
About 30 trader booths will offer all sorts of mountain man items for sale.
“You can walk in there as a 2019 civilian, and you could walk out fully outfitted as an 1830s mountain man,” Phister said.
For the children, the event traditionally features a candy cannon and kids games, as well as an Easter egg hunt on Sunday morning.
Phister said a real treat this year will be the beaver-skinning demonstrations.
“This is the only rendezvous I’ve been to where they have beaver trapping and skinning,” he said. “There’s a large beaver population in the Weber River — last year we trapped four beaver out of the Weber River during the rendezvous.”
This year, Phister said they already trapped three nuisance beaver out of the river two weeks ago, so they’ll be able to offer presentations on how to skin a beaver at this year’s rendezvous.
But how do the dead beaver keep for the weeks before the Easter rendezvous?
“We take them home and put them in the freezer,” Phister says matter-of-factly.
And the wife doesn’t object to a frozen dead beaver in her kitchen?
“Most mountain men have what they call their dead-animal freezer,” he explains. “They usually put in their own little freezer in the garage for dead animals.”
Admission to the 2019 Easter rendezvous is $2; “smaller kids are free,” Phister said.
“We welcome everybody — it’s a fun weekend,” he concluded. “Just bring your family down and have fun.”