WANTED: Mountain men to relive frontier life

March 9, 2009

By Warren Kagarise

Harry Charowsky, a Cascade Mountain Men club member, dresses for a Muzzle Loading and Pioneer Craft Show as an 18th century ‘dandy.’ Contributed

Harry Charowsky, a Cascade Mountain Men club member, dresses for a Muzzle Loading and Pioneer Craft Show as an 18th century ‘dandy.’ Contributed

Dressed in buckskin and fur caps, the Cascade Mountain Men are a throwback to those hardy souls who roamed the untamed West to fulfill Manifest Destiny. They re-enact frontier life from the late 18th and early 19th centuries with clothing, guns and other items appropriate to the era.

The group, based in Issaquah, invites the public to leave the 21st century behind for its annual Muzzle Loading Arms and Pioneer Craft Show, which opens at 9 a.m. March 14. The weekend-long show will be held at the Evergreen State Fairgrounds in Monroe.Members said the show helps preserve the traditions of a bygone time.

“Many of the skills and crafts of the 18th century are being lost due to a lack of participation by the younger generation,” said Steve Baima, of Bellevue, the group’s secretary.

The show will feature craftsmen and vendors offering demonstrations of traditional skills, such as blacksmithing and yarn making. A main attraction will be the antique and muzzle-loading weapons.

“You can get everything there except the black powder,” said Bud Maune, of Sammamish, lead organizer for the show. Fairground rules prohibit the powder sales.

Hundreds of craftsmen and vendors will pack the fairgrounds for the show. Attendance tops 3,000 during a good year. 

The group claims members across Washington and the West, but most of its members hail from the Eastside. Many of those Mountain Men will make the weekend trek to Monroe, including longtime member John Abbott, of Issaquah. He said the event appeals to a wide audience with its mixture of activities and history.

“We’ve got stuff for the littlest kids all the way on up,” he said.

Abbott joined the group for its target shooting and then, as time went on, became interested in other aspects of frontier life, like camping and cooking. Abbott even made himself a pair of buckskin pants a few years back. He used an old pair of Levis as a pattern. 

“Those buckskins have sat around a lot of campfires,” he said.

Maune, who joined the Mountain Men in 1988, said the event reflects the welcoming spirit that drew him to the group.

“The camaraderie and the friendship are what I really like about it,” he said. 


If you go

Muzzle Loading Arms and Pioneer Crafts Show

9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

March 14-15

Evergreen State Fairgrounds

14405 179th Ave. S.E., Monroe

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4 Responses to “WANTED: Mountain men to relive frontier life”

  1. Jim Flint 1896 Homestead on March 20th, 2009 7:50 pm

    So glad to find you. This is what I am looking for. I am looking to organize this type of gathering in Packwood Washington for the Packwood Mountain Festival held each year in May. I am looking for information on how to get this started and to dind some mountain men to do deminstration as you describe.

    This would be an added gathering here on the this property. This is the oldest lived in house in the Cowlitz River Valley . The propety goes back to 1896. We have 13 acres jto use for this type of event.

    I am so glad to see that someone is continueing the old ways. I would appreciate any assistance or information you might be able to provide. This event would be held in an outdoors enviroment.
    Thanks Jim Flint

  2. TIM on August 9th, 2009 4:31 pm


  3. ralph a. kern on August 6th, 2010 5:51 pm

    I live in clint tx, when will you have an event near me? thanks and God bless…

  4. steven bayne on December 31st, 2010 3:47 pm

    i,m new to this and i,m slowly geting my mountinmen equipment together if anyone can give me some advise on what to do and not to do i would be thankfull you can e-mail me at stevstvb433@aol.com

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