Being totally immersed in putting on the Gun Blogger Rendezvous I tend to forget that many of you are unfamiliar with just exactly whatthe Rendezvous is all about.
Approximately five years ago it dawned on me that although most of the gun bloggers read each others blogs, and are kind of familiar with the particular interests and specifics of the individual blogs,but most of us had never really met each other in person. A few small local gun blogger gatherings would spring up from time to time, but usually very small and local.
I decided that a national gun blogger gathering, even if it was a lot of work, would be a whole lot of fun. It would be a chance to meet, visit, party, eat, shoot with, and just generally hang out with a really interesting bunch of folks. Since some of the blog commenters and readers are also interesting folks, the blog gathering should also be open to them. I started to decide on some basic parameters. It absolutely had to be in a gun friendly state, and in a gun friendly county and venue. A good range, open to the public, and that would allow everything from long range rifle to short range pistol to speed steel was a requirement. A good local gun club and a good FFL dealer was also a requirement. It should be held in a location that's got reasonable air service, lots of hotel rooms, and lots of other activities for the rest of the gun blogger families that aren't interested in spending time at the range. It should be family friendly, and the prices for the meeting rooms, hospitality rooms, and hotel room must also be reasonable. The hotel had to be big enough to handle our event, but willing enough that they would
handle such a small event. Finally, the hotel group and convention staff had to be a really friendly and helpful bunch, as I would have to put it all together over the phone. After looking at a lot of possibilities and talking to a number of people, I finally settled on Reno. There are a number of other places that would have worked, too, but Reno has sort of a down home feel to it, and the hotel folks were really helpful it sorting out the details.
What should we call the gathering? After thinking about it, and doing a little research, I remembered that many years ago the fur trappers, prospectors, and other frontier folks would gather once a year for a big event that the called a Rendezvous.
One of the best articles on the North American "Rendezvous" is on the Bed & Breakfast Inns and Ranches of Wyoming
The rendezvous system was the innovation of William Ashley of the American Fur Company. He had been trying for several years to find a good way to retrieve the year's collection of furs, and at the same time outfit his trappers for the upcoming year's operations. When he hit upon the idea of establishing a central meeting site where all trappers and traders could gather to do their business, the fur trade came into its own. Since an animal's winter fur is more valuable than its lighter summer coat, trappers were basically off work in the summer and the rendezvous became an annual party to end all parties. The traders brought in mail, newspapers, and gossip, plus supplies, including raw alcohol which they watered down and flavored with tobacco, ginger, or chilies, then sold as whiskey.
With alcohol as a lubricant, everything else seems to have fallen under the heading of drunk and disorderly behavior. The trappers rejoiced greatly in their reunions with friends rumored dead. Representatives of all the Indian tribes came for the festivities, and their women folk were a major attraction. New recruits, missionaries, artists, newspaper reporters, and other "tourists" traveled west with the traders, and the mountain men and Indians delighted in initiating them into the spirit of things with rowdy welcomes. Tall tales, dirty jokes, feasts, gambling, horse races, fights, wrestling, shooting contests, songfests, and similar activities filled both day and night. A suit of ancient English armor was given to Jim Bridger at the 1837 rendezvous. Trapper Joe Meek tells of borrowing it and parading around camp in fancy dress.
A rendezvous was apparently great fun, unless you happened to be one of the unfortunate souls who got knifed, shot, raped, or as was the case at one rendezvous, bitten by a rabid wolf that rampaged through a group of men rendered defenseless by alcohol. Meek told of seeing four trappers playing cards using the dead body of a comrade for a card table, but whether it actually happened or not is hard to say -- Meek was a better storyteller than he was a historian.
Although the Gun Blogger rendezvous' haven't turned out to be quite as wild as the originals, there's no doubt that a good time is had by all who attend.
So, what are the details for this year's Gun Blogger Rendezvous?
: September 9, 10, 11, 12th.
Silver Legacy Resort & Hotel
All gun bloggers, Mil bloggers, readers of the gun and mil blogs, sports shooters of all kinds, firearms enthusiasts, and anyone else interested in the same stuff found on the gun blogs. Any one interested in the RKBA and 2nd. Amendment issues, shooting sports industry folks, suppliers, and just about anyone else with similar interests are also welcome.
Gun Blogger Rendezvous Registration is $30 per person.
Event Registration: Download the Registration form
, make out a check, and mail it in.
To book your hotel room, telephone the Silver Legacy
directly at 800-687-8733 and give them the group code of GBLOG10
. Their room rates are reasonable, and considering that the room rates include the use of the Hospitality Room for the Rendezvous, it's a pretty good deal. Yes, there are cheaper places to stay in Reno, but I really recommend staying at the Silver Legacy as you miss out on quite a bit if you aren't actually "On Site" for the Rondy. I have arranged for group rate pricing for not only the three nights of the Gun Blogger Rendezvous, September 9th, 10th, 11th, but also the preceding Wednesday the 8th, and for Sunday the 12th. This way you can arrive a day early and leave on Monday for home. I'd recommend staying the Sunday night if you can, as Sunday will be the Cowboy Fast Draw Intergalactic Blogger Championships
, and you won't want to have to rush off right after the event.
Once you have booked your room and sent in your registration, please send me an email with the details so I will know you are going to be there.
All money raised by the Gun blogger rendezvous goes to Project Valour-IT to buy voice actuated laptop computers for injured service personnel wh due to their injuries, are unable to use a regular computer, keyboard, and mouse to keep in contact with their family and friends through the internet. So far Project Valour-IT has given away close to 4,000 voice actuated computers to injured service folks.
For More Information:
Check out the Gun Blogger Rendezvous website.
Although there may be some changes and additions, the basic schedule and events from last year will remain mostly unchanged since it worked well last year for us.