Wednesday, July 8, 2020
Rose Sutton tries he hand at throwing a tomahawk. Herald photos by Abby WiedmeyerDennis Keckhafer demonstrates his archery skills.

Annual Rendezvous offers lessons in early-American history

Rain did not dampen the spirits of those involved in the Canoe River Rendezvous festivities at the Sparta Eagle's Club last weekend.  The group gets together to re-enact lifestyles from the fur trade era. 

They aim to stay as “period correct” as they can, and even give each other camp names, however, they do allow themselves some modern comforts.  The group reside in tents and dress in traditional clothing, but are allowed to indulge in a bologna sandwich as opposed to fresh game like their ancestors. 

The public is welcome to watch as they partake in competitions like black powder shooting, primitive archery, and tomahawk and knife throwing. They also partake in canoeing and fishing. 

An expert was also present to give instructions on “knappin” which is the art of making arrowheads and stone knives or blades from rock.  John Papenfuss brings a variety of rocks including novacklite, Georgetown flint, chert and obsidian glass, the sharpest rock known to us. 

The tools involved are made from antler billets (the base of an antler) or copper and have names like “bopper”.  The weapons created by the re-enactors are much more beautiful than the ones the folks they are re-enacting made, since the goal was to be functional in the 1800’s.       

Evans Print & Media Group

1302 River Rd.
P.O. Box 252

Sparta, WI 54656-0252

Office Number: (608) 269-3186
Fax Number: (608) 269-6876


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