Monday, June 25, 2007

Nor' West Company at the Alaska State Rendezvous

Among the other things I do with my "free" time, I am the proprietor of Nor' West Company.
Nor' West Company is the only BATFE licensed black powder dealer in the Interior, and specializes in historically authentic goods for reenactors. It is patterned more or less after the North West Company (NWC), the Hudson's Bay Company's strongest competitor in the northwestern fur trade prior to the two companies merging in 1821.

The Alaska State Rendezvous is an annual living history event hosted by the Alaska State Muzzle Loading Association and the Alaska Chapter of the Coalition of Historical Trekkers. A historical rendezvous is a living history event where participants celebrate the lives and achievements of our earlier ancestors. Modern historical rendezvous are loosely patterned after the infamous Rocky Mountain fur-trade rendezvous of the 1820s - 1840, where American trappers called "Mountain Men" gathered each year to exchange their harvest of furs for the goods and supplies needed to spend another season in the mountains.

Unfortunately I was only able to enjoy the first weekend of the 8 day event because I must return to my place of employment tomorrow. Nonetheless I had a great time visiting with both old and new friends, camping in a beautiful site and getting away from the 'day-to-day' by escaping into the late 18th century.

The Alaska State Rendezvous is one of the most important events from my small trading company. The money earned at a typical State "rendy" is usually just enough to keep the company afloat while Internet and black powder sales provide a wee bit of profit.

Since I was camped only a single night, I saw this as a training opportunity for my sled dog team. Normally I would board the "kids" while at this event, but this year I decided to take them along so they could get some experience camping on a picket line. Many of my fellow reenactors took the opportunity to learn more about dog mushing and to meet a team of working dogs first-hand.

I was very pleased at how well the Stardancer dogs managed themselves in camp. They quickly learned the limitations of being tethered to their picket lines, made cozy beds for themselves in the straw I provided, and allowed themselves to be adored by their public. Even the yearlings did wonderfully well in camp.

It was a wonderful time and my only regret is that I wasn't able to enjoy the entire event. We have a really good turnout this year, with about 60 participants already in camp and more on the way.

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