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Loaded for Bear on a New Frontier

October 27, 1987

Reliving the early West of the American fur trappers, nearly 100 rifle-toting, buckskin-clad Southern Californians came trooping into the Blackpowder Rendezvous, staged in the Rose Valley Recreation Area in the Los Padres National Forest. It was sponsored by the Ojai Valley Muzzle Loaders Club.

In addition to shooting contests with muzzle-loading rifles and cannons, the event tested other frontier skills, such as tomahawk throwing, fire starting with flint and steel and something called a "Seneca Run," a kind of Wild West pentathlon for these mountain-men look-alikes.

Contestants and their families danced and sang at night, ate food cooked in Dutch ovens or roasted over open fires and slept in Indian lodges or old-fashioned wall tents.

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