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Frontier Days

October 08, 1992

With its attention to historical detail, the film "The Last of the Mohicans" may have renewed the public's interest in life on the colonial American frontier. Set in 1757 during the French and Indian War, the film is replete with homespun clothing, gunpowder, and all manner of flintlock weapons and tomahawks.

But latter-day Daniel Boones and Molly Pitchers can live their fantasies of that era Wednesday through Oct. 18 at the 22nd annual Sespe Rendezvous in Ojai. Two weeks before Halloween, fans of authentic and re-created muzzleloader weapons who make their own costumes and accouterments, will meet at the five-day camping get-together to enjoy marksmanship competitions, exhibitions, dancing, food and a trader's row.

People who shoot muzzleloaders usually are interested in the costumes and culture of America between the French and Indian War to the close of the Civil War in 1865--not in brute firepower. They shoot at paper targets, not animals.

"The whole event is a family-oriented affair," said Helen Haverly, president of the Ojai Valley Gun Club "Muzzle Loaders," which sponsors the event. "This is a hands-on living and learning experience for children."

The public is invited to the 22nd annual Sespe Rendezvous at the Rose Valley range in the Los Padres National Forest. Organizers anticipate at least 500 day visitors. And half of the additional 500 campers-in-residence are expected to participate in events, so early arrival is advised.

Check-in and registration for campers will be between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Wednesday through Oct. 17. The event continues through Oct. 18, but Oct. 17 offers the fullest day of events, including a pancake breakfast from 8-10 a.m. and a barbecue at 5:30 p.m. for the first 350 people who buy tickets at $6 each. And a dance with a live band will begin at 7:30 p.m. Sites for modern and primitive camping are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Shooter's fees include camping cost and shooting: $15 per adult, $25 per adult couple and $5 per junior, aged 15 and younger. Camping cost for non-participants is $15 per tent or recreational vehicle. There is no admission charge for non-competing day visitors.

From the Ventura Freeway, take California 33 north to the California 150 intersection near Ojai. Continue north on 33, proceed about 14 miles to Rose Valley. Turn right on Rose Valley Road. Go four miles to the lake and the sheriff's work camp on the left. Farther down the road, enter Ojai Valley Gun Club gate on the left. Camping and event areas are marked. For additional information, call 485-8917.

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