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Davis Journal

Rendezvous gives kids a taste of the past

Jun 07, 2021 02:05PM ● By Becky Ginos

It’s All Fun and games until… Emily gets the full baby goat experience when one starts chewing on her hair. Photo by Roger V. Tuttle

BOUNTIFUL—Archery, tomahawk throwing, horseback riding and cuddling with goats were among the activities fourth and fifth graders at Oak Hills Elementary got to take part in at the school’s annual Mountain Man Rendezvous last week.

“It’s usually for fourth graders but we invited the fifth graders because they didn’t get to do it last year,” said fourth grade teacher Jerilee Jones. “It was big but it was awesome. There were156 kids. That’s twice as many as we usually do but it was so great.”

Robert Christensen, leader of the Mountain Man group puts on the rendezvous, said Jones. “He does the Mountain Man Rendezvous in Wyoming and it’s the second largest event that happens there. He connected with all of his friends to come here. They do it for the love of teaching.”

The group set up a teepee and told stories of the fur trade, she said. “They made sure all of the archery equipment was authentic to the time period with curved bows. ‘True Story’ (Christensen) helped the children with tomahawk and knife throwing. The kids loved it. If they hit the target he gave them money. The targets had the principal’s picture on it and it got hit a lot.”

Kids also had the opportunity to ride horses with the Pony Express. “They’d go full steam and transfer bags with the schedule in them,” Jones said. “The man who brought the horses is a professional calf roper and barrel racer. Nine kids had never ridden a horse before.”

Cross E Ranch brought baby goats and the kids could get in the pen, she said. “The goats would climb on them and the kids got to snuggle with them. It was a huge crazy hit.”

Cold Springs Trout Farm in Ogden brought 156 fish. “They were 14 to 20 inchers and the kids caught them with their hands,” said Jones. “Then they gutted them to take home and eat or put in the garden as fertilizer.”

There is a functional skills/special needs class at our school and they were invited to come, Jones said. “One of the parents said when her son came home he was so excited. She said he was in the best mood and that she hadn’t seen him that happy all year.”

Jones said the event is fun because it’s all hands on. “All of the kids like fishing and catching them with their bare hands. They also liked the goats, horses, tomahawks and archery. We made Indian fry bread, crafts, pioneer games and a pie eating contest. The kids got sunburned and they were just exhausted but it couldn’t be better.”

There were more than 50 volunteers that helped, she said. “They spent the whole day with us. It takes a community of people that care to put this together.”

Jones started the rendezvous 25 years ago when she started teaching at Oak Hills. “In the beginning Mr. Jones (her husband) paid for it,” she said. “Now the PTA funds it. It costs about $1,100 and we had 30 parents who donated supplies. It just warms your heart. It’s a gift a teacher gets to meet with other people who care.”

After all those years of running the event, Jones is retiring. “They’ll keep it going at Oak Hills,” she said. “To do that for one day – it’s a thrill. I’ll be back helping wherever I can.”