Ash Hollow Rendezvous
Ash Hollow State Historical Park is celebrating 100 years of Nebraska Parks with the Ash Hollow Rendezvous. The event will be held Sept. 10-12 near Lewellen, with the gates opening Friday at 9:00 a.m.
Ash Hollow superintendent Tamara Cooper says, “A rendezvous, historically held in the fall between fur traders and local Native American tribes, was traditionally a time to gather, share trade goods such as skins, furs, beads, food items, weapons and knowledge. It was a time to relax, make money and have some fun.”
Guests to the Rendezvous can expect to see demonstrations of black powder shooting, tomahawk throwing, recurve bow and arrow shooting, open fire cooking, trap setting, canoeing, as well as traders row. Many of the trade goods are made by hand, in the traditional way. Wooden spoons, leather goods, hide tanning and other craftsmanship will be on full display and also for sale.
Cowboy poet and singer/songwriter John Horton will be preforming throughout the day for guests as they walk through traders row or stop at locations to learn more about the fur trader era.
In addition to the regular rendezvous activities, there will also be daily presentations by North Platte historian, Gib Larson. Gib will be speaking on the women of the Oregon Trail at 3pm Friday and Saturday afternoon at the old pageant stage at the east end of the picnic area.
No Rendezvous would be complete without the offering of the Mountain Man Run. This event, which is fur traders version of the iron man, consists of tomahawk throwing, canoeing (pending water level), trap setting, black powder rifle shooting and fire starting. The competition is open to the public and you can register for the competition by calling Teaspoon Stots, the Rendezvous Booshway at 801-719-9330.
In addition to the festivities of the Rendezvous, Nebraska Game and Parks is also hosting a public dedication to the late Jack Mills, on Saturday September 11th at 2pm. The Nebraska senator was instrumental in securing appropriation funding for the building of the visitors center and museum for Ash Hollow in 1974. The public is invited to the visitor center for a short presentation of a plaque to the museum commemorating Jack’s work. Refreshments will be served.
Rendezvous opens at 9am and is free to attend. All vehicles require a valid vehicle permit which can be purchased the day of at the park or online at outdoorsnebraska.gov. Dogs are welcome to attend, but must be on a leash. Smoken Hill BBQ, Ma and Pa’s Frostbites and The Tiger Den (breakfast) will be on hand serving up some delicious treats.
Questions can be directed to the park office at 308-778-5651, 10-4 daily or by calling 308-778-7708 for more information.
Cooper adds, “It is unclear from past journals if multiple trading posts existed in or around Ash Hollow at the same time, or if they were erected as they were abandoned or destroyed. In 1848, Jospeh Brown wrote of ‘Rodedue’s (Robidoux) Fort, a trading post was kept by a Frenchman by the name of LeBleau where we traded for sugar, coffee, and buffalo meat.’ Ash Hollow even boasted a mail station that was erected in 1854 by WMF Magraw. The location, unknown, did not last long as it was destroyed by Lakota in 1855, months before the famous meeting of Little Thunder and Harney on the Blue Water.”