View Full Version : 2007 Colorado Rendezvous Report - Part I

05-20-2007, 04:48 PM
It’s hard to imagine a better place to be during a high-country storm than in a 16-man Kifaru tipi complete with large wood stove. Outside, wind-driven rain and pea-sized hail lashed the 2007 Colorado Rendezvous site. Inside, early arrivals lounged comfortably in T-shirts, sipped cold ones and talked hunting into the week hours.

On Wednesday, the first arrivals rolled into the ridgetop camp that has been the home of the Kifaru Colorado Rendezvous since its inception four year ago. The area is very near historic South Park, a favorite haunt of the early mountain men. If you’ve never attended, the view from the site is spectacular. The elevation is about 10,000 feet, and the site is ringed by snow-capped mountains. This is serious elk, mule deer, bighorn sheep and mountain goat country, with a few antelope thrown in for good measure.


I arrived on Thursday morning, only to discover that I’d already missed a big Wednesday-evening steak dinner put on by Herb. Herb, by the way, showed up with 4 pack goats that everyone found fascinating. Even Patrick admitted that a goat or six might be just the ticket for especially long and steep rambles.

As usual, Patrick erected a tipi city on the Rendezvous site, with Kifaru shelters of every size. As if to test the mettle of those shelters, daily late-afternoon and evening rain and hail storms pestered the area throughout the weekend. Thursday’s evening storm was fun. High winds howled, rain pelted and hail machine-gunned the camp site. But the tipis weathered it all without a glitch. In fact, the hail, which eventually blanketed the grounded, merely slid off the tipis, piled up around the bottoms and perfectly sealed the shelters.


In spite of a few wet and windy spells, the overall weather for the 2007 Rendezvous was superb – mild and sunny, with just enough breeze to cause shooters to hold Huntsman22’s Ruger .204 just off the left edge of the 500-yard gong. Of course Kifaru’s resident cowboy didn’t wait for the gong to get set up to start his shooting. Huntsman22 slipped out of camp at dawn on Thursday morning, strolled down the ridge, called in a fine mountain coyote and busted him. Later than morning, he demonstrated for all to see the proper technique for case-skinning a furbearer.


Shortly after that, the sun came out and the range shooting started in earnest.

Throughout the weekend, I attempted to photograph for you some of the Kifaru message-board regulars in action, thinking that you’d find it nice to put a face with all those posts.

Patrick, of course, was seemly available for everyone all the time – fitting a pack, explaining a stove, lending a firearm to shoot. And, like the rest of us, he damn sure never missed a meal.


Meals, in fact, were a gathering point. This is one of Herb’s big breakfasts. Eggs, country bacon and hash brown in the mountain air. Herb is standing at the stove right-center. Immediately behind this ravenous bunch is a cavernous Kifaru 16-man tipi.


Shooting was the name of game most days, and a firing line was carefully set to accommodate everything from .22s to big-boomer centerfires. Kevin (Message Board Moderator) moderated the shooting line. Screw up and you’d get deleted in a flash.


Sawtooth manhandles a Ruger Vaquero in .45 Colt. Late one evening, well into a tumbler of scotch, Sawtooth admitted that time posting on the Kifaru message board was somehow magically eating into his productivity. Imagine that.


One of the best things about the Rendezvous was the opportunity it afforded attendees to shoot a wide variety of firearms. At one point, we had four shooting benches that all pretty much looked like this. Feel free to shoot whatever you like. Just be safe.


We even set up a chronograph. Here Smokepole tries it out with his hot 7mm WSM.


Huntsman22 liked the shooting line so much that he parked his 9x12 wall tent just feet off that line and lived there day and night. Here he fiddles with his Kimber M84 in .260 Remington…a damn fine coyote gun.


Here’s a close-up of said Huntsman22 – cowboy, builder, coyote-king. “Where’s that coyote (or elk or deer),” he seems to be saying.


What did the rest of you Rendezvous participants observe?

Woods Walker
05-20-2007, 06:38 PM
Looks like a great time. Seeing that the gun and Rendezvous connection is just as strong out west as it was at the ECR. Like the tipi city too. Now wishing I had the time to fly down. Yea I agree that the 16 man tipi is a fine place to hang out/camp for a group and the outside weather does not much matter.

05-20-2007, 06:56 PM
Nice pictures Timberline!...sounds like a good time...

05-21-2007, 03:42 AM
Thanks for the photos and report Timberline. ONE of these years my work schedule will finally line up with a Rhondy. I already know I'm screwed out of the NW gathering in July too. /images/%%GRAEMLIN_URL%%/frown.gif

05-21-2007, 03:59 AM
Thanks Timberline, great photos. I just wanted to say a quick thank you to Patrick for being such a gracious host, and Herb for bringing the goats and all the food, and doing all that great cooking. Which triggered a thought, next year we need to add a dinner bell. I'm kind of surprised Huntsman didn't think of that already....

It was great to see all the regulars and great to meet the new guys too. There were many highlights, but for now I've just gotta say that the late-night stories spun by Huntsman, Rod Ralph and Timberline still have me laughing. More later....

05-21-2007, 05:19 AM
While Timberline could make going to the laundromat sound fun, with his photos and essays, this was indeed a good time.

I learned that tying yourself, or your baby sister, to a goat for a ride is a bad plan. I saw Herb's goats, which were just marvelous animals, curl into a tipi and nap. (The 8 goat/4 man tipi. The goats were better behaved than most dogs or children. Compared to the unpredictability of a horse...wow!) I watched a bunch of folks shoot, in many cases very well. I got to swap stories with Huntsman22 at the range, and watch him patiently go through brick after brick with the young kids. I saw Smokepole's 7mm WSM chrony results, and am now convinced the Federal Premium is code for "on steroids." I saw Singleshot with an impressive little TC with a peep sight, and a trigger that had to be shot to be believed.

Great fun.

05-21-2007, 06:27 AM
For those that don't know the beautiful rondy location, it's exactly 649 miles from my home. WOW, what a beautiful area, I was captivated by it from the time I crested the pass. Thank you to Patrick for sharing such a location.

Thank you Timberline for the pictures and narrative, makes me feel like I'm still there.

Not being one that has spent much time with a rifle, I found the range very interesting. Watching rifles, scopes, and loads being tested, with the results quickly noted for future review. Much more detail than I've ever been a part of. Ringing the 500 yard gong with Huntsman22's rifle 3 times in a row, the 400 yard gong with Singleshot's pistol, and hitting the 500 with my 270 just made my trip.

During my drive home I had to think of Brotzie's former signature that Patrick recently noted, "Associate with men of good quality if you esteem your own reputation; for it is better to be alone than in bad company," as it was certainly a weekend spent with men of good quality. Thank you to Patrick, Staff, and everyone there.

05-21-2007, 08:13 AM
Timberline, thanks for the great photos. I saw you walking around with your camera and I decided not to take any photos this year because you do such a great job!

It was another wonderful Rondy, with some new faces. We sure did miss all the regulars who couldn't make it, and hope to see them next year. The weather was superb (I don't care for hot weather), and at one point I think we counted 20 heads in the 16 man tipi. Snug. Some highlights for me were...

Stump shooting with Smokepole, Herb and Westy. We killed many elk, and one standing bear with a frontal shot (all stumps)!

Listening to yarns spun by Mr. Rod Hayes (a fellow educator) in a way that can only be fully appreciated by listening to him in person. My abs still hurt from laughing.

Staying up until 2:00 AM with Patrick...planning our next two rambles, discussing the merits of goat packing, and debating the secrets of the universe. I know you only have daughters, Patrick, but this is one fellow who sure feels like your son.

Shooting and testing revolvers on Sunday morning. Thanks to CCH and Ozarkrambler, I was able to shoot two barrel lengths in a S&W Model 60. Thanks fellas. I also had fun shooting up my cowboy wheel guns with Timberline.

Seeing some younger fellows show up this year. We sure need to perpetuate this lifestyle, and these guys are our future.

Talking gear with Pilgrim, Ozarkrambler, Smokepole and Westy.


Heading out on Sunday, knowing it might be a year until I see some of you again. /images/%%GRAEMLIN_URL%%/smile.gif

PS: Patrick, the brookies were safe Sunday afternoon. That creek was completely blown out.

05-21-2007, 09:43 AM
It should also be noted that Westy can reduce a block of Douglas Fir to splinters in a matter of minutes, fine work.

The stove side meetings in the 16-man are great. I wouldn't want it any warmer outside, as it's great to have the stove cranked up inside. How much fun could we have in the mythical 20-man??

05-21-2007, 11:10 AM
Herb, you and your goats are welcome anytime. Or just you. Or just the goats.

05-21-2007, 11:14 AM
I might add that Ralph S. cooks up a mean breakfast (or brunch)! Thanks for the grub, Ralph.

Kevin also brought me some ultralight toothpaste, which will come in handy. He knows how much I enjoy cutting ounces, or fractions of ounces. Maybe my mouth will qualify for an Orbit commercial, since I'll no longer have a "dirty mouth". /images/%%GRAEMLIN_URL%%/smile.gif

05-21-2007, 01:37 PM
Boy-where do I start? Thanks to Patrick for a great site and being such a great host. Thanks also for the great tipi/LHG tips. Thanks to Herb for all the grub and cooking, although I must say the ribeyes were not up to snuff and to the rest of you guys there is no point in showing up before Friday. In fact I will fall on the sword and eat the Ribeyes next year so you guys dont have to. Huntsman22, I will work on the howler so I can call in some songdogs for ya this fall. My first rondy and just had a great time meeting everyone and checking everything out. Oh, before I forget, I promise to bring real beer next year.

05-21-2007, 03:55 PM
Being new to Colorado and new to the Rendezvous, I wasn’t sure what to expect out of a get together of backcountry hunters. What I experienced was a gathering of men, women, and children that I doubt is paralleled anywhere. I have never had the pleasure of more gracious or backcountry-capable company.

A few “thank yous” to send off to people… Thanks to Patrick for hosting such a wonderful event – very kind to share your beautiful spot with us. Thank you Timberline for the wonderful recount of the Rondy – makes me feel like I’m still there. Herb, fantastic food – thanks for the grub and the time spent cooking for us all. Dan-O, an entire day of instruction with the short-sword was beneficial to all who attended – thanks for spending the time with us. Huntsman, thanks for going out of your way to make me feel at home on my first Rondy – you helped make it enjoyable from the minute I stepped out of my truck.

A few highlights…
It was impossible to step on the firing line without Singleshot, Huntsman, or one of the others pressing a perfectly tuned and zeroed firearm in your hand to take up the slack in the trigger.

Stalking tree stumps at dusk with Sawtooth and Smokepole was fantastic – no stump was safe with three archers on the loose. Maybe Smokepole will show up with a compound next year as I come strolling up with a longbow…the grass is always greener! :o)

The defensive pistol class was great. I had heard most of the content before, but the extensive knowledge of Cameron and Dan took my shooting and defensive mindset to the next level. I feel much more confident and capable after a few key tips from those guys.

More later – they’re going to shut the bank down on me…

05-26-2007, 12:12 AM
A little late posting. Had a great time and learned some interest things. Met some great people. Everyone there was top of the line. The food and location was 5 star. Got to do some long range shooting. Couldn't stay past Friday. Had to go watch my daughter graduate from college. But I like to thank everyone that was there and hope to see all next year at the Renedezvou.

05-26-2007, 12:15 AM
Oh as a PS... Hope to be able to stay the whole time next year.