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Mountain Man reenactment starts this week, national event to follow in Riverton

Nightly gathering at the rendezvous from summer 2021.
Angie Lehto
Angie Lehto
Nightly gathering at the rendezvous from summer 2021.

The 1838 Mountain Man Rendezvous is a reenactment of a group of settlers coming together to sell and buy items not readily available in the mountains. The Riverton reenactment started in the 1970s. This year’s rendezvous starts on Wednesday, June 29.

Events include hatchet throwing, camp games, and black powder shooting competitions.

Brian “Magpie” Semich is camp boss, or booshway. That’s a French word meaning leader of a camp of mountain men. It’s derived from the French word, bourgeois. Semich said a few years ago there were only 15 camps.

“And this year, we're looking to get upwards of 500 camps down here. So we'll have well over 1,000 people down here, and we'll have probably 20 or 30 traders down here with stuff to sell,” he said.

Semich said next week the camp will also be hosting the Rocky Mountain National Rendezvous, and while this week is open to the public, next week is only for dedicated reenactors.

“The idea of the Rocky Mountain Nationals is there is absolutely nothing modern, in camp, or your clothing or anything we cook on the fire. We do everything, just like the original mountain man,” he said.

The national event has attendees from every state in the country and it’s held at the junction of the Popo Agie and Wind Rivers outside Riverton.

Taylar Dawn Stagner is a central Wyoming rural and tribal reporter for Wyoming Public Radio. She has degrees in American Studies, a discipline that interrogates the history and culture of America. She was a Native American Journalist Association Fellow in 2019, and won an Edward R. Murrow Award for her Modern West podcast episode about drag queens in rural spaces in 2021. Stagner is Arapaho and Shoshone.
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