2010 Montana Summer Rendezvous
By Jamie Freed and Mike Baugh, Montana State Co-chairs
There is nothing like putting a group of RMEF volunteers together to pull fence. This year’s work project during the 15th Annual Montana Summer Rendezvous at the Battle Creek Ranch June 25-27 was no exception. True to form, we shocked landowners Larry and Shelly Richtmyer with the amount of fence we pulled and rolled in a very short amount of time on Friday. In two hours we had pulled three and a half miles of fence and were looking for more.
The wild game potluck that evening was a highlight once again, followed by the awarding of the Golden Rolling Pin for the best dish by popular vote. We had 23 entries which made choosing quite difficult. In the end, Lyle Happel, who made marinated elk tri-tip with wine finishing sauce, was our winner.
Saturday was education day. Kids ages 4-11 enjoyed a morning of scavenger hunts and crafts, and even made a picture frame out of items that they had collected on the ranch. The older kids learned survival skills, including how to use a compass correctly with topo maps. Then they were led on a hike so they could try out what they had learned.
The adults were fortunate to have the best informal talks we’ve ever had at a rendezvous. Battle Creek Ranch is under a conservation easement with RMEF, offering a great opportunity for volunteers to learn more about how easements work. Lands program manager Mike Mueller explained the process and talked about it from the RMEF’s point of view. Then Larry Richtmyer gave us his prospective from a landowner’s point of view. Afterward Elk Foundation land specialist Ron Marcoux briefed us on the Tenderfoot Land Exchange, we received national and state updates, and finally had an open question and answer period.
Saturday night E.D. and LaDonna Maxwell treated us to a fantastic catfish dinner with all of the fixings. A barn dance topped off of the weekend of fun and friendship.
If you have never attended a summer rendezvous, you are really missing out. It is such a wonderful opportunity for our volunteers to get together and celebrate their accomplishments, meeting people from all over the state who have the same goal in mind: “to ensure the future of elk, other wildlife and their habitat.”