Mountain people in the early 1800s spent solitary lives during the fall and winter months trapping beaver in the rugged Rockies. Come spring, they were more than ready to come down from the hills and get together for a few days, rekindle friendships and restock their supplies.
Their meeting was called the Mountain Man Rendezvous and by all accounts it was a rowdy event. We can only imagine! We outdoor enthusiasts today certainly haven’t spent our entire winter in the backcountry trapping beaver, but many of us have stories to tell of hunting trips and fishing that we have enjoyed over the years.
Three years ago I had the idea of having a “date” here in Texas near Greenville in Hunt County. I had no desire to show up in a raccoon-skin cap at such an event, nor did the people I worked with to organize the spring meeting. The one thing our event has in common with those of the mountain people is a celebration of the outdoors and the opportunity to meet like-minded people and enjoy an early spring day in an outdoor setting.
A central campfire was a must and I saw plenty of cowboy coffee in my big old blue enamel pot. I cooked Cobbler and Dutch Kettle blackberry tacos. People brought their lawn chairs and we told stories around the fire about past outings and made plans for the months to come. Several hunting and fishing guides were present as well as people with booths selling everything from homemade swifts to fishing tackle. Very talented musicians provided live music in the afternoon.
Our first event was so fun that the next year we had a second event, the second annual Ren-De-Voux and about twice as many people showed up. It became apparent that I could no longer make enough Dutch Cobbler or enough tacos to feed the large crowd.
For the past few weeks, plans for the third annual Ren-de-Voux have been underway and I’m excited to tell you about the fun to come! The event will be held in Greenville on March 12, just off I-30 on 12 beautiful wooded acres at the Top Rail Cowboy Church. I met Pastor Charlie Nassar and his staff and Mr. Friendlee, a well-known Northeast Texas radioman. This year’s event promises to be a great day outdoors.
Bad weather has always been a threat to any outdoor event, especially at this time of year, but we were lucky at the last two events, with sunny skies and pleasant temperatures. We’re hoping for a sunny day on March 12, but if Mother Nature throws a curveball at us, there’s plenty of room in the indoor arena.
Come rain or shine, we can plan some great compliments of live music from the very talented musicians and singers at Top Rail Cowboy Church. I have a good friend, Joe Dunn, who has a heavy smoker the size of my wife’s car. Joe will start smoking all kinds of tasty barbecues the night before and will place his smoker near the central campfire. We are in the process of acquiring some good wild hog for those of us who are game eaters, but Joe will also have an abundance of domestic meats and chicken on the smoker. Donations that benefit the outside ministry of the church will be accepted.
This will be a good opportunity to visit with guides and outfitters and make plans for future outings. Chances are you’ll find someone around the campfire who can provide you with solid information on everything from catching crappie in Lake Fork to fishing in Canada and just about everything in between. both.
My good friend, Larry Weishuhn (aka “Mr. Whitetail”), will be sitting around the campfire with us. I’ve had the pleasure of spending time around many campfires with Larry and I can assure you that he can talk for hours about his hunts all over the world and also keep you captivated talking about his childhood in the southeast Texas. Many of you know that Larry, our friend Jeff Rice and I do a weekly outdoor show on Carbon TV called “A Sportsman’s Life”. We will be filming part of the show during the event.
In the nearly four decades that I’ve been an outdoor writer, I’ve met, fished, and hunted with dozens of great people from a small lake north of Tokyo, Japan, to the Northwest Territories of Canada and across much of the United States. If I can help you choose a destination for your next adventure, don’t hesitate to ask me. Those who know me consider me an open book. I love sharing my lifetime of outdoor experiences and I also love hearing about the experiences of others.
People who have spent years hunting and fishing have an assortment of past experiences to reflect on. As a guest speaker at luncheons, I usually start by recounting one or two outdoor experiences and very often the rest of my time is spent answering questions related to destinations to enjoy the outdoors.
This year, Connor Crockett will be present with his dog Boone. Together, Boone and Crockett successfully tracked and retrieved many injured deer for hunters. It might be a good idea to ask for the contact details of this hunting specialist, we never know when we might need the services of Connor and his trusty hunting dog.
For more information contact me (Luke Clayton via email [email protected]) or Pastor Nassar at (903) 217-3778