Skip to main content

Wild West

04/01/2014 02:07PM ● Published by Jon Lewis

By Jon Lewis
Photo by Brett Faulknor

The North State’s Louderback’s Black Powder Club

It’s rendezvous time for the muzzle-loading aficionados who belong to Louderback’s Black Powder Club, so Wade Bellinger and the 50-odd others in the club are busy oiling patches, measuring out powder and stocking up on lead balls.

When this group gets together, technology goes out the window and America’s frontier history—think mountain man types like Daniel Boone and Jim Bridger from the mid-1800s—takes center stage.

The 36th annual Rendezvous, to be held April 11-13 at Hooker Creek Campground near Red Bluff, is patterned after the yearly get-togethers of the past when trappers and traders would gather at a set location to exchange pelts and furs for supplies, socialize and engage in friendly competitions. The Rocky Mountain Rendezvous on the upper Green River in Wyoming is a good example.

The Louderback’s group, however, has toned down the bawdy partying that marked the original Rendezvous and focused instead on the competitions, camaraderie and old-fashioned camping. “It’s not a wild affair like it was in the mountain man era. When the competition is over, we have a potluck and that’s always a lot of fun. Everybody gets together and has a real nice meal,” says Sandy Winters, who has been a member of Louderback’s for 37 years along with her husband, Don.

“We’ll have traders, shooting competitions for rifles, pistols and shotguns, frying pan competitions and kids’ games,” says Bellinger, president of the club. Competitions will be open to adults, juniors and the peewee set (ages 6 to 11) who are under adult supervision.

“All my kids started shooting when they were 6 or 7 years old. It teaches kids how to handle firearms safely and appreciate history along the way,” Bellinger says.

His introduction to the world of black powder guns started in the 1960s when he would huddle in front of the TV and watch Fess Parker in his iconic role as Daniel Boone. In the 1970s, he befriended Bill Louderback, a retired machinist who had started building replica Hawken muzzle-loading rifles.

Louderback and a half-dozen like-minded buddies would take their rifles out to the Record Range in west Redding and blast away. By 1979, Louderback’s Black Powder Club was formally established and the Rendezvous tradition was started.

While the rifles, which are replicas of classic firearms made anywhere from the late 1700s up to 1864, are the stars of the show, the Louderback’s members celebrate the whole mountain man era, from flintlock and percussion cap pistols to buckskin clothing, primitive shelters, tomahawks (“hawks” as they are referred to by people in the know) and knives.

An avid outdoorsman, Terry Scott says he felt he had “done everything I could with high-powered weapons” so the idea of turning to centuries-old technology appealed to him. Bill Louderback built him a left-handed muzzle-loading rifle and he joined the club when it formed.

Scott, 75, got into the swing of mountain man things with a passion and soon began traveling the western United States with a 16-foot tipi and taking part in dozens of Rendezvous with his wife, Janis. “It’s a family sport and there’s something everybody can do, even the kids. It’s not very expensive and there’re a lot of good people. It gets in your blood.”

Scott and other Louderback’s members in the past have staged history days at North State schools, dressing in their period attire and exhibiting mountain man lifestyle tricks like starting a fire with flint and steel and throwing a hawk. 

Primitive camping will be encouraged at this month’s Rendezvous, Bellinger says, “to emulate and get the feel of how it was to live in that time, without the comforts of Coleman lanterns and stoves.” Only items that were available before 1840 are allowed in the primitive camp area.

“I enjoy the camping out, the Rendezvous, the camaraderie and the history,” says Sandy Winters, who will again be competing this year with her .54-caliber Hawken rifle. She also enjoys shooting a muzzle-loading pistol and competing on the “hawk and knife trail.”

Is she a good shot? “I don’t want to brag, but I’ve got some awards. I’ll put it that way.”

One of the highlights of the Rendezvous is the awards ceremony, where competition winners are invited to select prizes laid out on a blanket. The prizes are provided by the contestants themselves and have to be something homemade from the mountain men era, including shirts, pants, belts, moccasins, powder, balls or leather “possible” bags.

Scott estimates he’s been to every elementary school in the Redding area to give mountain man demonstrations, but now he worries that mounting restrictions are depriving children of a bit of the country’s heritage.

“It used to be you just needed an OK from the principal to bring a black powder weapon on the grounds. Now I don’t think you can do that. Children won’t get the actual history. They can’t get it off the Internet and they can’t get it on their phones.”

36th Annual Louderback’s Black Powder Club Rendezvous
April 11-13 at Hooker Creek Campground
For more information, visit www.subarama.com/louderback

Recreation, In Print louderback's black powder club wade bellinger terry scott sandy winters rifles pistols shotguns firearms
  • Football Season Is Here!

    11/23/2017
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    11/24/2017
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • Wildcard Brewery 5th Anniversary Party

    11/24/2017
    02:00PM — 09:00PM

    Wildcard Brewing Company is excited to announce the 5th Anniversary Party on Friday, November 24,...


  • Cascade Christmas

    11/24/2017
    02:00PM

    Produced & Directed by Jana Pulcini-Leard Redding’s holiday tradition returns with an all new ...


  • Wildcard Brewing Co. Foodie Friday

    11/24/2017
    05:00PM — 08:00PM

    On Fridays from 5pm-8pm, we bring you the best of both worlds: a frothy pint and a flavorful plat...


  • Cascade Christmas

    11/24/2017
    07:00PM

    Produced & Directed by Jana Pulcini-Leard Redding’s holiday tradition returns with an all new ...


  • The Redwoods Christmas Boutique

    11/25/2017
    09:00AM — 03:00PM

    Honestly, Santa's getting older and he can't keep doing that last minute stuff! Come on down to ...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    11/25/2017
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • Start Up Saturdays | Winter Market

    11/25/2017
    10:00AM — 03:00PM

    Easily shop local this Holiday season at the Start Up Saturdays Winter Vendor Market where local ...


  • REDDING RANCHERIA

    11/25/2017
    10:00AM — 04:00PM

    SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 25, 2017 IN THE WIN RIVER EVENT CENTER FROM 10:00 A.M. TO 4:00 P.M. FOR INF...


  • Cascade Christmas

    11/25/2017
    02:00PM

    Produced & Directed by Jana Pulcini-Leard Redding’s holiday tradition returns with an all new ...


  • Wildcard Brewing Company's Brewhouse Tour

    11/25/2017
    04:30PM — 05:00PM

    Want to know more about what goes on behind the scenes at Wildcard? Join us for a tour. This is y...


  • Cascade Christmas

    11/25/2017
    07:00PM

    Produced & Directed by Jana Pulcini-Leard Redding’s holiday tradition returns with an all new ...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    11/26/2017
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • Cascade Christmas

    11/26/2017
    02:00PM

    Produced & Directed by Jana Pulcini-Leard Redding’s holiday tradition returns with an all new ...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    11/27/2017
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • North State Giving Tuesday

    11/28/2017
    06:00AM — 08:00PM

    Each year at Thanksgiving and the week following, we have a day for giving thanks, two days for g...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    11/28/2017
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • Winter Concert

    11/28/2017
    07:00PM — 09:00PM

    The Enterprise High Music Department will be preforming several different song both from choir an...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    11/23/2017
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    11/24/2017
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • Wildcard Brewery 5th Anniversary Party

    11/24/2017
    02:00PM — 09:00PM

    Wildcard Brewing Company is excited to announce the 5th Anniversary Party on Friday, November 24,...


  • Cascade Christmas

    11/24/2017
    02:00PM

    Produced & Directed by Jana Pulcini-Leard Redding’s holiday tradition returns with an all new ...


  • Wildcard Brewing Co. Foodie Friday

    11/24/2017
    05:00PM — 08:00PM

    On Fridays from 5pm-8pm, we bring you the best of both worlds: a frothy pint and a flavorful plat...


  • Cascade Christmas

    11/24/2017
    07:00PM

    Produced & Directed by Jana Pulcini-Leard Redding’s holiday tradition returns with an all new ...


  • The Redwoods Christmas Boutique

    11/25/2017
    09:00AM — 03:00PM

    Honestly, Santa's getting older and he can't keep doing that last minute stuff! Come on down to ...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    11/25/2017
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • Start Up Saturdays | Winter Market

    11/25/2017
    10:00AM — 03:00PM

    Easily shop local this Holiday season at the Start Up Saturdays Winter Vendor Market where local ...


  • REDDING RANCHERIA

    11/25/2017
    10:00AM — 04:00PM

    SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 25, 2017 IN THE WIN RIVER EVENT CENTER FROM 10:00 A.M. TO 4:00 P.M. FOR INF...


  • Cascade Christmas

    11/25/2017
    02:00PM

    Produced & Directed by Jana Pulcini-Leard Redding’s holiday tradition returns with an all new ...


  • Wildcard Brewing Company's Brewhouse Tour

    11/25/2017
    04:30PM — 05:00PM

    Want to know more about what goes on behind the scenes at Wildcard? Join us for a tour. This is y...


  • Cascade Christmas

    11/25/2017
    07:00PM

    Produced & Directed by Jana Pulcini-Leard Redding’s holiday tradition returns with an all new ...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    11/26/2017
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • Cascade Christmas

    11/26/2017
    02:00PM

    Produced & Directed by Jana Pulcini-Leard Redding’s holiday tradition returns with an all new ...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    11/27/2017
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • North State Giving Tuesday

    11/28/2017
    06:00AM — 08:00PM

    Each year at Thanksgiving and the week following, we have a day for giving thanks, two days for g...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    11/28/2017
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • Winter Concert

    11/28/2017
    07:00PM — 09:00PM

    The Enterprise High Music Department will be preforming several different song both from choir an...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    11/29/2017
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • Wildcard Brewing Company's Midweek Madness

    11/29/2017
    02:00PM — 08:00PM

    Visit either Wildcard location on Wednesdays and get $3 off a growler fill! Come by the brewery a...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    11/30/2017
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    12/01/2017
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • Button, Zip & Snap Event

    12/01/2017
    10:00AM — 06:00PM

    12/01/17 10 am – 6 pm 12/02/17 10 am – 5 pm 2961 Churn Creek Rd, Redding, CA 96002 530-221-3970...


  • Strikes for Strays

    12/01/2017
    04:00PM — 09:00PM

    JOIN US AT STRIKES for STRAYS!!! ... Let’s ALL be a reason for the season!!! STRIKES for STRA...


  • World AIDS day

    12/01/2017
    04:00PM — 06:30AM

    December 1st is World AIDS Day. Join us in the Downtown Promenade for free HIV testing, informati...


  • Wildcard Brewing Co. Foodie Friday

    12/01/2017
    05:00PM — 08:00PM

    On Fridays from 5pm-8pm, we bring you the best of both worlds: a frothy pint and a flavorful plat...


  • First Friday on Main

    12/01/2017
    06:00PM — 09:00PM

    Join us at Enjoy the Store Red Bluff, home to Cedar Crest Brewing and Vineyard, for live music, f...


  • Cascade Christmas

    12/01/2017
    07:00PM

    Produced & Directed by Jana Pulcini-Leard Redding’s holiday tradition returns with an all new ...


  • Whitmore Christmas Bazaar

    12/02/2017
    08:00AM — 03:00PM

    The Whitmore Volunteer Fire Company, Inc. invites you to the annual CHRISTMAS BAZAAR on December ...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    12/02/2017
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • Start Up Saturdays | Winter Market

    12/02/2017
    10:00AM — 03:00PM

    Easily shop local this Holiday season at the Start Up Saturdays Winter Vendor Market where local ...


  • On Saturday December 2nd from 10AM-1PM, The Friends of the Shasta County Libraries will sell gent...


  • Button, Zip & Snap Event

    12/02/2017
    10:00AM — 05:00PM

    12/01/17 10 am – 6 pm 12/02/17 10 am – 5 pm 2961 Churn Creek Rd, Redding, CA 96002 530-221-3970...


  • Whiskeytown National Recreation Area and Shasta State Historic Park Partner for the Annual “Old T...


  • Cascade Christmas

    12/02/2017
    02:00PM

    Produced & Directed by Jana Pulcini-Leard Redding’s holiday tradition returns with an all new ...


  • A Celebration of Music

    12/02/2017
    04:00PM — 06:00PM

    On Saturday, December 2nd Dunsmuir will be celebrating the beginning of the holiday season with a...


  • Wildcard Brewing Company's Brewhouse Tour

    12/02/2017
    04:30PM — 05:00PM

    Want to know more about what goes on behind the scenes at Wildcard? Join us for a tour. This is y...


  • Cascade Christmas

    12/02/2017
    07:00PM

    Produced & Directed by Jana Pulcini-Leard Redding’s holiday tradition returns with an all new ...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    12/03/2017
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • B--Monthly Free Concert & Open Mic

    12/03/2017
    01:00PM — 04:00PM

    Redding - California State Old Time Fiddles Association, District 6 Free Old Time Fiddle, Bluegra...


  • Cascade Christmas

    12/03/2017
    02:00PM

    Produced & Directed by Jana Pulcini-Leard Redding’s holiday tradition returns with an all new ...


Enter to Win!

Check out our sister publication, Enjoy Magazine: South Valley Living
Wedding Style Guide 2017
Enjoy Magazine Facebook
Enjoy Magazine Instagram Instagram
Enjoy Magazine Pinterest Enjoy Magazine

Enjoy Our Sponsors