JUNE 24, 2010

A small section of Pacific Primitive Rendezvous 2010, held outside Weippe Saturday, June 19. This view shows the various types of camp shelters, ranging from tipis to wall tents.


Jerry Stelle of Kalispell, MT. He offered guns, medals and other artifacts of the 1840 period.

Pacific Primitive Rendezvous 2010 held in Weippe

By Judy O'Brien

   2010 Pacific Primitive Rendezvous was held on the outskirts of Weippe this year. This organization operates in California, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Alaska and British Columbia, Canada.

   Booshway,” or leader, for this event is Debbie Evans of Kamiah, who owns A Stitch in Time, producing historical reproduction garments and related items specializing in 1800's clothing and accessories.

   All camps setting up must be totally period (clothing, camp set-up) correct. Attendance at a primitive event means all clothing; lodges and accoutrements must be in the period of 1640 – 1840 North America. Each rendezvous has its own medallion. Many camps exhibited a collection of medallions from rendezvous they had attended.

   Because of the rainy weather participants had some difficulty getting to the camp with their gear. Local resident Jason Berreth, his stepfather Ron Beck and many hard working men from the Rendezvous Camp were instrumental in making the muddy, primitive road passable for the rendezvous participants to get to their campsites. The Wesleyan Church opened its doors to allow waiting rendezvous participants to use the facilities. With the heavy rains in the weeks preceding the event, the old Pierce City Wagon road had turned fairly muddy.

   According to Michal Beck, local historian, this road is pretty much as it was in the early days of Pierce and Weippe history. The sun was shining and the road was dry during the two public tours on Saturday. The Booshway said this is only the second time in 19 years tours have been allowed. She has a staff of 100 and expects 500 camps with 2000 people for this rendezvous.

   Guides for the tour carried white flags to identify themselves. As we tended to lag behind, a young man in the camp, Tannim DeLozun, from Potlatch, became our guide. We learned participants have rendezvous names such as; Little Smoke-No Fire, Fishkiller, Dogspit, and Two Cups.

   After touring the main camp, the shooting and tomahawk range, and the horse camp, we were “let loose” at Trader’s Row for a perusal of their wares. There were deerskin coats, vests, buffalo robes, powder horns, quivers, wool and rabbit fur hats, antiques, cotton dresses, shirts, hand forged items, beads (lots of beads), clothing and accessories decorated with colorful, natural dyed quills…

   Along Trader’s Row we met Sue Apfelbeck Page from Worland, WY who was raised in Orofino, graduating from here in 1971. When not at rendezvous she is a bank officer. Her husband (Two Cups) is retired from the BLM. They met in Orofino when he was surveying prior to the building of Dworshak Dam.

   Jerry Stelle, 64, is a housepainter in Kalispell, MT. His trade shelter exhibited antique guns and insignia, leather goods and knives. Tom and Nancy Oar live in the middle of the Kootenai National Forest, 50 miles from Libby, MT. They specialize in smoked and brain tanned clothing.  Tom said they lived 17 years without running water or electric, only two years ago moving into a log home with amenities.

   Lee Fears of Red Lodge, MT, proprietor of Hombre Leather, offered many types of leather goods. His business card reads “trample the weak and hurdle the dead.”

   We met some fascinating, creative people on the tour and enjoyed hearing their stories. All-in-all, a most satisfactory way to spend a sunny Saturday afternoon. Pacific Primitive Rendezvous will end Saturday morning.