In 1983, a contingent from South Dakota travelled to Canton, IL to bid on the Midwest National Rendezvous. These four people were all members of the Brookings Renegade Muzzleloaders.
They arrived at the Midwest in Illinois in 1983 and passed out flyers explaining their plan and got a lot of support from the campers that were at the rendezvous. The campers were supposed to vote at the camp meeting on whether South Dakota would get to have the Midwest. Before the vote, the Old Northwest Company advised that South Dakota couldn't bid because the state wasn't within one hundred miles of the Mississippi River.
At the camp meeting when the campers found out that South Dakota couldn't host the Midwest many people walked out of the camp meeting and only a handful were left. The Midwest went to Minnesota the next year.
When the vote failed, South Dakota was encouraged to start a new National Rendezvous. It was considered, agreed, and aptly named the High Plains National. It was decided that it would include the states in the High Plains of the country: North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska and Kansas. It was to be sanctioned by the NMLRA. Seed money of $500 was promised, but never delivered. The rendezvous was financed by private fundraising and by selling medallions in advance and at the event. Several members of the Brookings Renegade Muzzleloaders and also friends formed a committee to put on the first High Plains National in 1984.
The first High Plains National Rendezvous was held at Oakwood Lakes State Park in South Dakota which is about 25 miles northwest of Brookings SD. David Wright the artist from Tennessee and Curly Gustomski the gun maker from Ohio were there and were judges at the cook off. It was OK to bribe the judges and David and Curly had a little more to drink than they had planned. Several Native Americans were there, including Florentine Blue Thunder, who was a Medicine Man from Rosebud Reservation who did a Native American Pipe Ceremony. In addition, several Native American pipemakers from Pipestone MN were there including Dick Bryan; Pete Musil; Butch Taylor; and Lee Taylor. There was a drum group from Pine Ridge Reservation who sang and played the drum while we did a round dance and an honoring song for Bill White who passed away. Bill was from Missouri and had encouraged Julie to pursue starting the High Plains. People from nearly every state in the United States were present, as well as folks from Canada. Joe DelaRonde the blacksmith was there, Stosh and Norma who were exotic dancers were there from New York who had a red carpet in their oval marquis and a chandelier. Kathy Smith was there, who does quilling and designs Native American costumes for movies like Dances with Wolves. At this first High Plains, there were several seminars on various topics such as some of those mentioned above. There were also canoe races where the person paddling the canoe had to be blindfolded while the other person had to give directions.
At the camp meeting it was decided that the High Plains would rotate each year to a different state in the High Plains. Cameron Copple from Nebraska bid on having it in Clarks Nebraska in 1985, He was a big supporter from the beginning.
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