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Buckskinning in North Dakota and Minnesota

PLAINSMEN BLACK POWDER CLUB

The Plainsmen Black Powder Club was formed in 1972 to promote shooting traditional black powder firearms. We are a re-enactment/living history group from ND and MN, focusing on history from the late 1700 to 1840. This type of activity would normally be called buckskinning. In May each year, the Plainsmen sponsor a “rendezvous” on private land South of Kindred, North Dakota. During the great fur trade, a rendezvous was the time all the trappers would get together to sell their furs and buy supplies from the “traders” who would bring supplies to the rendezvous site. At the rendezvous, the men would renew old friendships and engage in various competitions to test their skills of every kind and character. There are black powder clubs in every state of the United States, in Canada and even in Europe. There are several rendezvous held annually in our region, including Bemidji, Perham, Detroit Lakes, and Gary, South Dakota. At each rendezvous, a “living history” or period encampment is set up and participants dress in period clothing and use period equipment. An area is also usually set aside for people to camp in modern tents or campers, known as “tin tepees.” This allows people to participate who for a variety of reasons choose not to have a period camp. There are events where only period correct camps are allowed on site. The sponsoring club runs many activities, usually over a weekend. There are “national rendezvous” around the country that last a week or more. These rendezvous are not just for men anymore, as men, women and children all spend time together camping, laughing, competing and participating in activities.

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