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Rural Missouri Magazine

Down from the mountains
Old Greenville Rendezvous

by Jim McCarty

There was a time when Missouri was the last stop before the vast wilderness referred to as “The West” began. Here mountain men loaded up with supplies and equipment like the venerable Hawken rifle before heading off to the far blue mountains to trap and trade for furs.

When spring came and the mountain men came down from their winter cabins, they longed for companionship absent from their lives for many months. Thus began the tradition of spring rendezvous where mountain men could test their skills, sell their furs, sample food and drinks unavailable in the wilderness and resupply for the next season.

Greenville, a southeast Missouri town moved to higher ground when Lake Wappapello was formed, has played host to a similar gathering called the Old Greenville Rendezvous for the past 27 years. Thousands of people turn out for the event, including flintknapper Tim Sumner, shown on our cover, and mountain man Art Grove, left.

Food vendors serve everything from homemade rootbeer to elk chili. Traders on hand sell a huge variety of goods like knives, jewelry and leather work. Organizers give out $3,000 in prize money to the best dressed, best shots with a black powder rifle and best period campsite.

Visitors can ride from the parking lot in a wagon pulled by a team of mules. This year’s event is set for April 22 and 23. Admission is free.

For more information, contact the Corps of Engineers at (573) 222-8562.

 

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