The setting for the David Thompson Black Powder Shoot in Eureka was held on a golden prairie surrounded by mountains with spectacular views into Canada. The scenery was out of this world. It is no wonder that the Lakota loved this land.
As we entered the rendezvous grounds, I beheld a sweeping landscape with trucks and booths lined up in midway fashion.
Canvas tipis and campers dotted the landscape bringing the primitive and modern together for a weekend of festivities for young and old alike.
People in colorful period costumes strolled about and others sold their wares.
I love leather and fringe!
The sounds of – boom… ding, boom… ding – filled the air as guns were fired and metal balls hit targets.
After meeting up with the 4-H club, Mallory and Eileen paid 5 dollars each to compete in muzzle loading rifle, pistol, tomahawk and knife throwing, and fire starting. They were given a stringed necklace with a numbered medallion to hold their beads. Each time they successfully completed an event, a bead would be added to their necklace. At the end of the competition the beads would be counted, and that would be their score.
There were no age divisions. Everyone competed against one another. It was now time for Mallory and Eileen to show them how it was done!
First stop – hawk and knife throwing.
They did pretty well, but it wasn’t until they were challenged to start a fire with flint and steel in under 30 seconds, did their skills shine. Both Eileen and Mallory were up to the task and started their fires with ease and finesse. They placed the burning embers on an open trap for two additional beads.
David has said, “All well bred young ladies in Montana are expert in hawk and knife throwing.”
To that statement, I will add, “and in the art of fire starting.”
We followed the 4-H group to the rifle range where Eileen was impressive and hit the smiley face at a good distance of 140 yards!
However, everyone stunk at shootin’ from the hip.
Not to be outdone, Mallory aced the pistol range and evened the score for the day between she and her sister at 27 beads.
After a pig roast and sharing hot apple cider with the girls’ instructor, we enjoyed an evening of camaraderie around the campfire listening to the peppy beat of fiddle music supplied by a young muzzleloader.
We turned in for the night in our little tents on the prairie and woke up the next morning to a nip in the air and ready for the awards ceremony.
Everybody mingled as blankets were spread out on the ground and laden with prizes. Leather bags, cast iron skillets, ceramic pots, wooden chests, jewelry, knives, and winter blankets were just some of the loot that could be had.
Energy was high as the scores were announced. One at a time, top scorers picked the prizes of their choice.
Mallory and Eileen waited their turn until their names and scores were called.
After some indecision (as their first choices had been picked), it was a blanket for Eileen and a dream catcher for Mallory.
After a dud of an explosion, a candy canon was lit and blast off into the air spewing candy for giggling little kids.
That wrapped up the final day of the mountain man rendezvous. We headed home to the Flathead. A fun weekend was had by all!
Everywhere you look, life’s an adventure!