Rifle Rendezvous has lots to see – and saw
Pearl Duncanson was happy not to take any pie home with her from the Rifle Rendezvous on Sunday. As a member of the local Rebekah Lodge, a women’s community service group, Duncanson was selling cookies, pies and coffee at the Rendezvous. Every year she packs up a few lonely pies no one wanted. Not this year.”It’s been busy,” Duncanson said. “It was better this year than last. Not double, but quite a bit better.”Andrea Reese, who travels with the carnival and sells homemade toys and art, said the Rifle Rendezvous is one of the smallest events she’s visited, but was impressed by the turnout.
“I was really surprised so many people came out,” Reese said. “I did pretty well here.” Rendezvous-goers enjoyed a carnival, a silent auction, several arts and goods vendors and museums. Shows and contests included cowboy music and poetry on Friday night, a fiddling contest Saturday, live music, regularly scheduled Main Street shootouts and a logging contest on Sunday.Paul Straw was the grand champion in the Rendezvous logging competition. He put in a good show Sunday as well. He competed in five categories – crosscutting (cutting a log across the grain with a one-man hand saw) log-splitting, log stacking, a pulp toss and chainsaw crosscutting.Straw knows what it takes to conquer each event because he’s worked in the logging business for many years. He owns Top Notch Log Works in Gypsum.
“Dad’s the best,” said Straw’s 3-year-old son, Josh.Straw said the key to winning crosscutting (his favorite, but what he thinks is his weakest event) is persistence.”You just have to keep after it, keep sawing at it,” Straw said. “Log-splitting, though, you just gotta pick the right log. Make sure it’s clean, it doesn’t have any knots.”Straw was at the Rendezvous with his wife and four kids. They all stepped out from under the logging tent at “high noon” to watch a shootout.
Ken Youland and his crew of gunfighters dressed in old west garb shot one another down in the mean streets of the Garfield County Fairgrounds.”Pray, daddy,” 13-year-old Kaitlin told Ken, who held a balloon in each hand and a water balloon between his legs. As she shot off rounds from a distance, the balloons popped.Later they demonstrated that even blanks are dangerous at close range, by placing a pop can on a log and reducing it to shreds with a single close-range shot.The group performs at several old west shows around the state, but the members are from Rifle and make an appearance at the Rendezvous every year.”It’s good to just get out there and have fun,” Ken said.
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