SKAGIT MUZZLE LOADERS
March Newsletter 2020
Hello to All Black Powder Friends and Extended Family.
At a time when most of us are hunkered down in our homes I want to bring you all something newsworthy. And so, I have reached out to some of our members for ideas that may interest us all as readers and black powder enthusiasts. In this month’s newsletter we have a history of our club which you all might find interesting.
However, club business first. The Cascade Mountain Man Pioneer Craft Show was early last month. Because of the virus, turnout was poor, which was expected, or so I heard. I couldn’t make it myself, but I was able to catch some of the Highlights on Steve Buckskinners Bush Craft Utube video. Heres’ a link if any of you are interested or haven’t seen it yet. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V2shPJ3yZ0I .
The club did sell tickets for the raffle prizes and we have two new club members for March. Jamie McKenzie of Everett and Fredrick Vanderslice of Marysville WA. Welcome gents, looking forward to seeing you real soon.
Regarding our May Rendezvous.
The Officers did have a meeting via zoom to try and come up with a plan for future shoots and our May Rondy. As of now, it’s been decided that the Rendezvous will be postponed until October 2nd, 3rd, and 4th of October this year. We hope you all understand this decision wasn’t made lightly, there were lots to consider. With hunting season, and the possibility of a Burn Ban that happens every year around that time. And there’s also other clubs in our area, like Interlake, and The Hawken Birthday Shoot, etc. that holds their events around the same time. We certainly don’t want to take anything away from other clubs. More will be posted in the future regarding events as knowledge continues to trickle in. And the bottom line is a lot depends on what happens with this virus and our government’s response to the demands being made and our economy. One thing will be abundantly clear, we will all be ready to get out and enjoy a Rondy or two once this has passed.
Last week I sent out a email and snail mail for a vote on the clubs logos. Those voting members are members with up to date memberships. Please return your votes to firstname.lastname@example.org. By April 14th
Which brings me to some other news.
The PPR in Oregon has been cancelled too.
A little history of Skagit Muzzle Loaders. I was asked if I could write a little about the history of the days when SML started and the progress of the club thru the early years.
Thinking back it was actually in 1976 (the bicentennial year) and I was at that time with a group called George Washington Militia. Our group was in a parade in Mt Vernon. It was there I met a group of mountain men, dressed in their leathers who were shooting their muzzle loaders and having a great time; they were called The Mt Baker Long Rifles.
Also at that parade were a couple of the guys that had been getting together once in a while to go shoot their muzzle loaders, all together there were 6 of us that got together when we could, but we had never considered ourselves a club. When the parade was over, there a big gathering at the Moose lodge. That’s where I ran into Duck McKinney (who was one of our 6 guys) he said to me we should start a club like the Mt Baker Long Rifles.
At that time we were all fair-weather shooters, get- togethers were sparse because we all had life’s other than this new idea of starting a club. It wasn’t until 1978 when we finally got serious about starting the club. We were a rag tag group of 6 guys that liked to shoot muzzle loaders and we liked the fellowship we had doing it. At that time, we had no name, paid no dues, and had no bylaws. Now think about it… we had been shooting for a couple of years when we decided that we wanted to have a Rendezvous.
As it got closer to our Rendezvous, we started meeting regularly and picked the name "Skagit Muzzle Loaders". We wrote up some by-laws, decided to create a membership fee of $15. a year so that we would have the money to support our Rendezvous. It was $5 to shoot, all shoots were blanket prize shoots, that way all money went into the club’s kitty for that Rendezvous. We didn’t even give out ribbons at the shoot.
Our meetings were held at Duck McKinney’s home, and we started planning, with the help from all our 6 members, and a piece of property up in Hamilton that a friend let us use. We had our first Rendezvous in August of 1979, there were 12 people there at the rendezvous, it was held only on Saturday and Sunday, We had a great time and learned a lot.
We decided to continue doing the Rendezvous, but the next year the road up to the property in Hamilton had washed out and wasn’t passable so we moved our Rendezvous up to Marble Mount where we found property we could use, we ended staying on that property for two years 1980 and 1981, but Marble Mount was too far up out of our area to attract many people, by this time we had picked up some more members so we put out the word that we needed to find a property around Sedro Woolley since that is where our club called home. We needed a property that we could shoot on and also have our Rendezvous on.
That is when my good friend and club member Jerry Osborne and I got to talking about the property on F & S Grade Rd., we found out that in was owned by Tory Aarstad. We looked him up, called and asked if we could come and talk with him. When we asked him if we could use his property on the F & S Grade Rd. he said NO, But that is when Bernice Aarstad said, “why don’t we give them a chance” and we will go out and see what it is that they do.
The property had been used as a party place for years by High schoolers, and people also had dumped garbage there, so it was a mess, we agreed to clean up the property and put a gate on it plus a gate going up the hill on the other road.
By this time SML was starting to be known as having a good Rendezvous so we had also picked officers for the club and had drawn up new by-laws, but at this Rendezvous in 1982 we were going to introduce our new Logo.
Ray Selvig had joined our club by now (he had moved here from California where he had belonged to a Civil War group) He was interested in drawing up some ideas for our Logo, he came up with some ideas, We all decided on the idea that was much like the one we are using today, but the one we choose then had rifling inside the barrel, somehow thru the years the rifling has been left out of it, maybe because it is too hard to put it in, “I don’t know why” but I do like the old one with the rifling in it, since it was the one we chose in the beginning.
In 1984 SML went to a Rendezvous at Camus Meadows over in Eastern Washington, it was a Rendezvous that lasted for 10 days and was sponsored by a few clubs, they did the shoots for 2 or 3 days at a time. The SML members that went there decided that we wanted to help so we made a plan for the next year to go and help sponsor the Rendezvous.
By this time Skagit Muzzle Loaders was making quite a name for ourselves in the Muzzle Loading world, in fact SML had been voted for first place for a few years running by Washington Muzzle Loading Assoc. for having the best Rendezvous for the years, and were given trophies for the years.
In the 70’s and 80’s muzzle loading was at its peak, we had as many as 250 people attending our Rendezvous, and as many as 25 Traders, we have even gone to a 3-day Rendezvous rather than a 2- day one.
A few years ago I did a survey of why there has been such a decline in muzzle loading, I spoke to lots of clubs and lots of people about muzzle loading. What I found out is that the younger generation just didn’t have the money or the interest to put into muzzle loading.
I have seen the up’s and the down’s of SML, being the last surviving member that started this club my heart is in it forever.
I am glad to see a younger generation taking over the officers’ positions of the club, and I will support you as we go forward.
My only advice for you all is give the club a chance, Don’t move too fast Or you will burn out, Give the club a chance to change.