WANTED: Mountain men to relive frontier life
March 9, 2009
By Warren Kagarise
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.
Evergreen State Fairgrounds
14405 179th Ave. S.E., Monroe