Record Number Of Scouts Turn Up For 35th Trappers Rendezvous

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Saturday, January 14, 2012

For 35 years, Boy Scouts have met in Kansas, rain or shine, for the annual Trappers' Rendezvous.

The first Trappers' Rendezvous started out with only a little more than a hundred scouts. It's since grown to a major event that draws thousands of people.

Like skilled salesmen, the scouts who show up to Trappers' Rendezvous know a good deal when they see it. This is 12-year-old Kyle Kuehn's third year and by now he's developed a calculated strategy.

“Me, personally, I’m looking for pelts. You get out here you walk around a little bit, you trade and then you get back to your campsite and you set up a stand and just wait for people to come to you,” Kuehn said.

A huge crowd surrounded Kuehn's trading post Saturday. He says what really drew them in was his surprising prized possession, a skunk pelt. While skunk fur might not normally be seen as a hot commodity, in the scouting world, it's trading gold.

Bartering for goods is just one of the many different ways event organizers set out to teach scouts about history. The kids get the chance to travel back to the 1800s to a simpler time when tools were crafted by hand and meals were made with whatever was available.

KAKE News met part time mountain man Brad McCaffree while he was serving up traditional fried bread to scouts. He was dressed head to toe in hand-sewn leather and fur.

McCaffree has been helping teach young scouts a little bit about their fore fathers for a decade. He says in between trying new foods and learning to spot a fair trade, there's a very important lesson to be learned.

“Life is so easy for a lot of us. I don't think they realize what our ancestors went through to give us the life we have now,” McCaffree said.

Boy Scout officials say they saw a record breaking turnout this year. At last count, more than 6,000 scouts had signed in to participate.

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