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Come experience pre-1840 history at the 7th Annual Drifting Goose Rendezvous!

The 7th annual Drifting Goose rendezvous will be a primitive event with prizes in each contest. Bring your best and come enjoy Memorial Day weekend. Help Drifting Goose become bigger and stronger year after year by marking your 2014 calendar! Camp Fee - $20.00. Non-camping Events Fee - $10.00 per day.

The site is located only a few miles from where Magabobdu “Chief Drifting Goose” set up his primary village on Armadale Island along the banks of the James River in NE South Dakota. For all you 'gadgeteers' with GPS units, the GPS coordinates are: Latitude 45.256582, Longitude -98.538694

Standard Schedule of events (2012)
DayEventTime
FridayOpen/Challenge Shootingopen
SaturdayRifle Shoot9:30am
Rifle Shoot10:45am
Rifle Shootadd-in
Archery1:00pm
Rifle Shoot2:15pm
Pistol Shoot3:30pm
Rifle Shoot4:15pm
SundayRifle Shoot9:30am
Rifle Shoot10:45am
Archery1:00pm
Rifle Shoot2:15pm
Rifle Shoot3:30pm
Rifle Shoot4:15pm
Hawk & Knife4:00-6:00pm
Camp Meeting6:15pm



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6th annual Drifting Goose rendezvous!

The 6th annual Drifting Goose Rendezvous was held on Memorial Day weekend, 2013. After some hard work by a few club members, the site was mowed, wood was available, and everything was ready!

Several campers kicked off card nights in the cabin on Friday evening. The main events started Saturday with some interesting shoots. Sandwiched between various rifle shoots were archery and pistol shooting. More than a dozen kids enjoyed playing both organized and unorganized games around camp. All enjoyed multiple shots from the Candy Cannon! The day concluded with more card playing in the cabin.

Sunday started off a little wet, thanks to a barrage of showers that started in the early morning and ran through mid-morning. Shoots were delayed, but eventually caught up (none were skipped!). The final event before the camp meeting was a memorial archery shoot for Frank "Longbow" Zahn. Participants shot a blunt at a 4" target 30 yards down range, one shot only...and only after taking a 'shot' of Frank's favorite drink, Lord Calvert. The winner not only received one of Frank's personalized blunt arrows (which he often gave away as prizes), and also got to 'take the whisky' that remained. We'll miss you, but never forget you, Frank.

The Rendezvous wrapped up with a camp meeting on Sunday night. Some club business was addressed (see club minutes page for details), then prizes were awarded and drawings were held. A bonfire was held in the new fire ring for the campsite, with many people enjoying the warmth of the fire, taste of many samples that were passed, sharing of hors d'oeuvre, and music by Dacotah and John. Some cards were played and much fun was had (especially by those who won!) to wrap up the evening.

Special thanks to all those who donated prizes for the event. Every camp was able to win something in the drawings. ) was the 4th to win the traveling quilt. He has one year to create a personal design on a square. Past quilt winners are Ralph Jeschke, Mark Hubsch and Kyle Nilson. Many local businesses contributed, as well as club members and some national living history organizations. Special thanks to Cabelas and Kens Super Fair Foods for their assistance. A big THANK YOU to all of you for a successful and fun 5th year!


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5th annual Drifting Goose rendezvous!

The 5th annual Drifting Goose Rendezvous was held on Memorial Day weekend, 2012. After some hard work by a few club members, the road to the range was ready to get campers to Drifting Goose Rendezvous!

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The Rendezvous wrapped up with a camp meeting on Sunday night. Some club business was addressed (see club minutes page for details), then prizes were awarded and drawings were held. Later, some cards were played and much fun was had (especially by those who won!)

Special thanks to all those who donated prizes for the event. Every camp was able to win something in the drawings. Shelly Minske was the 4th to win the traveling quilt. He has one year to create a personal design on a square. Past quilt winners are Ralph Jeschke, Mark Hubsch and Kyle Nilson. Many local businesses contributed, as well as club members and some national living history organizations. Special thanks to Cabelas and Kens Super Fair Foods for their assistance. A big THANK YOU to all of you for a successful and fun 5th year!


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4th annual Drifting Goose rendezvous!

The 4th annual Drifting Goose Rendezvous was held on Memorial Day weekend, 2011. After getting down a muddy road and setting up a little damp, the weather cooperated and all had a nice weekend. 14 registered camps and one registered shooter were on hand to witness some intriguing shoots, nights of card games and a few sprinkles Sunday night. All packed up dry on Monday to end a great weekend.

In addition to the adult activities, 9 kids enjoyed beads and other games. The Dacotah Territory Muzzle Loaders conducted a brief business meeting prior to the camp meeting on Sunday night. While the road was muddy and the weather forecasts concerning, the site was dry and comfortable through most of the events.

Events started Saturday morning with the "Dartboard" Rifle shoot run by Jerry Smith. Joe Carda showed that accuracy is over-rated on some targets by winning with random hits. John Graves and Mark Hubsch placed second and third. Nick Hubsch then ran the "Mini Buffalo Shoot". You had to hit the scoring rings to score any points on a buffalo smaller than a playing card at 25 yards. Jerry won a tough shoot, beating Mike Thelen on a tie-breaker. Griz placed third. Kyle Nilson led the next shoot, the "Colors" shoot. Random shapes of different sizes, colors and values are scattered on a target. Mark again displayed his accuracy by taking first, hitting a number of the small shapes (some dime-sized). Nick and Gayland Weisenburger rounded out the top three.

After lunch, Mike led the first day's archery, a timed shoot. Shooting at bag targets, get as many arrows of as you can in 30 seconds. There were two rounds. Gayland showed his skill with a bow, making the most of the arrows he got off to take first. Kyle and Mike took second and third. Joe then followed with the "Hare Shoot". Nick (hereafter named "Sally" thanks to Joe) showed us his rabbit hunting skills by grabbing first place. Mark and Gayland continued their good shooting day by taking second and third. Gayland then conducted a Pistol shoot. Mark (who is a retired police officer, by the way!) nabbed first, beating out John and Ralph Jesche. Tyler finished the first day's events with the "Prairie Dog Shoot", a shoot-n-see target. While there were many dead prairie dogs at the end of the shoot, three people were tied for first. With a one-shot shoot-off, Nick walked away with first place. Gayland was able to hold off Mike for second.

Friday, Saturday and Sunday night, card games were held after dark in the cabin. Each night had its winners and losers, with a couple rookies being taught how to play (the hard way) on Sunday night. Many people enjoyed sitting in the cabin with a fire in the stove, socializing, laughing and watching the card players.

Sunday events started later, due to a small shower that passed through in the early morning. The first event was Tyler's "Big Game Hunt" at the archery station. Mike was able to dial in on the targets and come away with first place. Gayland and Kyle were second and third, respectively. The same three winners from day-one archery won day-two, just mixed up the order. Mike followed archery with the "Backwoods Shoot" on the primitive range. Some targets were hard to see, others simply hard to hit. Mike won this shoot, followed by Mark and Gayland in a shoot-off. Byron Gross then led the next shoot, which quickly earned him many enemies. The "Pinpoint Shoot" had six shots at a target with five different sized shapes. You had to get inside the borders to score any points, but two shots on any one shape wiped out the hit. The guys with the best eyes and best sights won this one. John squeaked by with first, with Mark chasing closely and Joe wrapping up third. Tyler followed the eye-test with "Love Your Neighbor". Everyone took one shot at everyone else's target. Three small bullseye targets with scoring rings per target to aim at. Miss the rings and your neighbor gets 10 points. Mark managed to hit near the center on almost everyone else's targets, but all that did was make everyone else focus on his. His accuracy bought him last place! The winners were Griz first, John second and Gayland with third.

John Thelen then wrapped up the weekend's events with the Hawk and Knife. Everyone went turkey hunting, no passing off. Tyler took first, throwing a knife. Mike took second, throwing John Grave's tomahawk, John himself snuck away with third place.

The Rendezvous wrapped up with a camp meeting on Sunday night. Some club business was addressed (see club minutes page for details), then prizes were awarded and drawings were held. Later, some cards were played and much fun was had (especially by those who won!)

Special thanks to all those who donated prizes for the event. Every camp was able to win something in the drawings. Kyle was the third to win the traveling quilt. He has one year to create a personal design on a square. Then he'll have to return from Alaska (again) to present it to the next winner. Past quilt winners are Ralph Jeschke and Mark Hubsch. Many local businesses contributed, as well as club members and some national living history organizations. Special thanks to Cabelas and Kens Super Fair Foods for their assistance. A big THANK YOU to all of you for a successful and fun 4th year!


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3rd annual Drifting Goose rendezvous!

The 3rd annual Drifting Goose Rendezvous was held on Memorial Day weekend, 2010. Everyone enjoyed good weather, good events, and good times. 19 registered camps were on hand to witness some new and intriguing shoots and a little rain on Saturday night. All packed up dry on Monday to end a great weekend.

Ladies enjoyed games and teas, while kids enjoyed numerous activities, including the popular candy cannon. Many campers tested their skills in shooting events. The Dacotah Territory Muzzle Loaders conducted a brief business meeting prior to the camp meeting on Sunday night. Many flatlanders wandered through on Saturday and Sunday, stopping to see history come to life.

Events started Saturday morning with the "Billiards" Rifle shoot run by Kyle Nilson. Hitting a billiard ball more than once only got one score (a billiard can only go into a pocket once!), so shooters had to try to hit multiple billiards to score well. Gayland Weisenburger won, with Nick Hubsch and Jerry Smith taking second and third. Tyler Carda followed with Archery, running "Around the Horn". John Graves, Leon Kaiser, and Gayland were 1st through 3rd. Joe Carda then ran another Rifle shoot, "Squirrel's Nut Shoot". The best scores hit the nut. Shooting the tail cost you. Griz captured first, followed by Mike Thelen and Nick. Gayland then conducted a Pistol shoot called "4 Bulls-eyes". Someone won, and someone placed 2nd...but those names magically disappeared from paper! The "Dartboard" Rifle shoot was the last shoot of the afternoon, run by Jerry Smith. Scoring was tough, with all the opportunities on a dart board. John G took 1st, Jerry took 2nd (rigged?!?!?!) and Mike took 3rd.

Late Saturday (just at dark!) John Thelen ran the last shoot of the day, the "Poachers Shoot". A large gong (28" diameter) was placed approximately 185 yards downrange. Artificial sun (a spotlight!) hidden in a tree shined on the target. Each shooter took one shot, then moved up 25 yards until winners were found. The target was easy to see, your sights weren't! Jerry took first, with his game hunting skills. Mark Hubsch made away with second, relying on his retired policeman's accuracy. Both shooters hit at 160 yards (2nd shot).

Sunday started with a rifle shoot by Mike Thelen, "Giveaway". Teams of 2 shot, but high team member had score difference subtracted, while low shooter had difference added. In a tough situation, Nick took 1st, Mark 2nd and Richard Underwood 3rd. Nick's teammate helped him win, but it cost him! After the chaos of the first shoot, John Graves ran a "Wild Game" Rifle shoot with much simpler scoring. Mike, Joe Carda and John took the prizes there. Tyler then ran another session of Archery, "Running". A couple shots at a moving target, followed by a tough scoring stationary target, resulted in a lot of heckling and fun. John won, Gayland and Leon followed up. Nick Hubsch then ran the "Bull" Rifle shoot. Competition was tough and required a shoot-off for 2nd place. Mark once again showed his accuracy, taking first. Joe managed to wrestle away second from Richard, who utilized his past police experience to come in third. Taking a break from Rifles, Ralph Jescke then ran the Shotgun shoot. There were only 3 or 4 shooters, but Ralph was able to get the win. The last shoot of the weekend was a Rifle shoot led by Joe Carda. The "Prairie Dog" shoot had people shooting at 2" diameter clays from 5, 10, 15, 20, 25 and 30 yards. Hitting the clay holder did not count as a hit. Mike managed to avoid the metal holders and take 1st, with Ralph grabbing 2nd and Nick completing the group.

The Rendezvous wrapped up with a camp meeting on Sunday night and a 35th wedding anniversary party for Leon and Julene Kaiser. Wine, cheese and homemade rootbear embellished the evening. Later, some cards were played and much fun was had (especially by those who won!)

Special thanks to all those who donated prizes for the event. Many local businesses contributed, as well as club members and some national living history organizations. A big THANK YOU to all of you for a successful and fun 3rd year!


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2nd annual Drifting Goose rendezvous!

Drifting Goose Rendezvous completed its second annual successful adventure on May 25. The weather was fantastic throughout the 4 days of rendezvous, with sun, breeze and cool sleeping weather. Everyone was able to pack up with dry canvas, stories and memories!

18 registered camps found their way to the Dacotah Territory Muzzle Loaders range site and enjoyed new "hooters", a new cabin (which worked great for playing late-night card games) and improvements to both the primitive and target ranges. We were fortunate to have two traders this year, a blacksmith and a candlemaker. Both were busy creating products and entertaining people. In addition to the campers, there were several day guests and even numerous flatlanders who strolled through camp Saturday and Sunday.

The participation was again excellent, with shooters up to the many challenges presented over two full days of activities. In addition, there were some comical women's games and lots of children's activities thanks to last-minute volunteers. At one point, there were over 12 children younger than 7 running all over camp. What a great thing to see.

2nd year contest winners were:
Day 1 - "Squirrel Scamper" shoot - 1. Joe Carda 2. Terry "Badger" Grimes 3. John Graves; "Dreamcatcher" shoot - 1. John G. 2. Gayland Weisenburger 3. Sue Graves; Archery - 1. Gayland W. 2. John G. 3. Nick Hubsch; 50yd "Buffalo" shoot - 1. Nick H. 2. Joe C. 3. John G.; Pistol shoot - 1. Mark Hubsch 2. John G. 3. Gayland W.; "Spud" shoot - 1. "Griz" 2. "Badger" 3. Gayland W.
Day 2 - "Rainbow Drops" shoot - 1. Joe C. 2. "Badger" 3. Mark H.; "Running Buffalo" - 1. John G. 2. Mike Thelen 3. "Badger"; Archery - 1. Nick H. 2. Leon Kaiser 3. Joe C.; "Skee-Ball" shoot - 1. John G. 2. MIke T. 3. Mark H.; Shotgun shoot - 1. John G. 2. "Griz" 3. Nick H.; "Spud, round II" shoot - 1. Mark H. 2. Mike T. 3 John G.; Hawk&Knife throw - 1. John G. 2. Leon K. 3. Joe C. (children's winners were: 1. Caden Carda 2. Willow 3. Zach Mzala)

We'd like to thank all those who donated prizes for the event, including (but not limited to) TSC, the James Valley Company, Carda Farms, Creekdancer Winery, Zee Winery, the Howling Wolf, Frohlings Meats, Powder Horn News, Smoke & Fire News, Fugawi, Track of the Wolf, Lodge Cast Iron, The Gun Works, Ken's SuperFair Foods, our candlemaker and blacksmith who were onsite and other businesses/individuals that we might have missed!

Everyone in attendance had a great time and is looking forward to celebrating our 3rd run next year. We hope to see everyone who was here again next spring, along with a few new faces.

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1st annual Drifting Goose rendezvous!

The Dacotah Territory Muzzle Loaders held the first annual Drifting Goose Rendezvous at their range. It was held over the windy Memorial Day weekend. The weather, not counting the wind, was great. Over the three day event the sun was shining except for a small shower that came through Saturday evening providing entertainment with only a brief period of necessary cover from the rain.

The turnout was great for a first time event (13 camps) and there was great participation in the activities that took place. The days were full of shooting. Folks sat around enjoying popcorn, tall tales and old memories at night while the little ones entertained themselves during the afternoons. Some of the activities that took place were archery, hawk & knife, pistol, shotgun, smoothbore, and rifle shoots. A few worth mentioning; the archers cloud shoot with a ˝ dozen primitive arrows going to the winner, the running buffalo, and the climbing squirrel rifle shoots entertained the participants.

Contest winners were: Archery – 1. John Graves 2. Trent Deyo; “Running Buffalo” shoot – 1. Gayland Weisenburger 2. “Griz”; Pistol Shoot – 1. John Graves 2. Mark Hubsch; Rifle Shoot – 1. Terry “Badger” Grimes 2. Mark Hubsch; Silhouettes (Primitive Range) – 1. John Graves 2. Gayland Weisenburger; Shotgun – 1. “Griz” 2. John Graves; “Bird” shoot – 1. Terry “Badger” Grimes 2. John Graves; “Turkey” shoot – 1. Gene Klug 2. Mark Hubsch; “Poker” shoot – 1. Joe Carda 2. “Griz”; “Squirrel Scamper” shoot – 1. Terry “Badger” Grimes 2. Gayland Weisenburger; Hawk throw – 1. Gene Klug 2. Kyle Nilson.

The rendezvous was a success, with everyone looking forward to next year as they were leaving. With a 90-yard range (both target and primitive), archery, hawk blocks and camp space both in the sun and the shade, the rendezvous will be ready to host even more camps during the 2009 event (with at least one new “hooter” in addition to the others!)

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From: The Life and Times of Magabobdu, 1821-1909 by Kathleen Newman

"Many men have loved the James River; many still do. But, Magabobdu, a Dakota Indian known as Drifting Goose was the original steward of this rich valley in east-central South Dakota. Born near his people's traditional hunting grounds north of Redfield in 1821, Drifting Goose was chief of his Hunkpati bank for 45 years. His is a story that keeps returning to the river against all odds.

Drifting Goose lived most of his life in the free area of eastern South Dakota. His people, the lower Yanktonai, migrated there in the late 1600's from Minnesota. French traders were the first white men to hear about and meet the Sioux, or Dakota, Indians. The name Sioux was a French term for snakes or enemies, given to the Dakota Indians by their enemies the Chippewas. Although the Sioux were the most feared Indians on the continent, and known to have been there since time immemorial, after years of bloody battle, the Chippewa pushed the Sioux west.

The Yanktonai were the "end people," on the edges of the area lived and hunted by the Dakota people; and, the Hunkpati were the most westerly of this group. That is why Drifting Goose was able to keep his bank hidden in the James River Valley and one of the last of the great Sioux to capitulate and move to the reservation.

With his father, Wounded, Drifting Goose traveled extensively in eastern South Dakota, up and down the James River, and into southwestern Minnesota. Yet, Drifting Goose's people also lived a more agricultural life than most: planting corn, gathering berries and wild turnips, and perhaps raising stock. They were even able to barter their surplus crops for horses and tools at the Dakota Rendezvous, a huge Indian trade fair held near Huron every spring and fall from the late 1700's to the early 1800's.

By 1840, the Drifting Goose band with 300 members set up permanent camp in abandoned earth lodges at Armadale Island in the James River about four miles northeast of Mellette. This village later became the heart of Drifting Goose Reservation.

In the spring, the Hunkpati cultivated about 40 acres near the earth lodges with corn, turnip, potato, beans and peas. They ran a fish trap in the James just west of the village and hunted antelope and "millions" of water fowl. They danced and played games and traded among themselves. Drifting Goose recorded his people's history on deer hide, the longest known winter count for the Yanktonai. And, they waited excitedly for summer, when the great bison herds migrating from the southern plains to Canada would crisscross the land near the James in smaller groups, heralding the hunting season that was both their sport and subsistence. Then, they would leave the swarming mosquitoes behind and escape, with their horses and arrows and teepees, to the windswept highlands of the coteau des prairies in glorious pursuit of the buffalo.

By the mid 1850's, Europeans and non-Indians came flooding into Dakota land through Yankton and up the Missouri River. The trouble began when the Sisseton Indians, in the 1851 Treaty of Traverse de Sioux, ceded land that was also claimed by the Yanktonai: Drifting Goose's hunting grounds west of Aberdeen. In the next ten years, as the Indians were forced to sign more treaties, 160,000 whites pushed their way into Dakota territory. Once unlimited, Drifting Goose's territory was shrinking fast.

As other Sioux ceded their lands all around him, Drifting Goose held out, refusing to sign any treaties relinquishing the homelands of his people. When the first Yanktonais signed a treaty at Fort Sully (Pierre) in 1865, 169 families left Drifting Goose for the Standing Rock reservation. In 1868, the Fort Rice Treaty ordered all Sioux to reservations. Drifting Goose knew the reservation lands were inhospitable. "The reservations at Sisseton and Crow Creek are not fit for a dog, we will starve on their rations," he said. He did not sign the treaty. Instead, Drifting Goose planted his heels at his village, built sturdy log cabins there, and planted crops.

During the 1870's Drifting Goose struggled to retain the traditional lands of his people, fending off squatters and surveyors, the railroad, and the government. A wise and wily chief in his 50's at the time, he is now credited with changing more courses of South Dakota development and having more impact on Washington bureaucracy than any other representative of his people. His intimidation tactics were so successful, that early settlers referred to his persistence over his home land as "The Drifting Goose War." Earlier, he had run off settlers near the Big Sioux River, delaying settlement of Sioux Falls by at least five years. He continued to run off squatters and surveyors near his home, scaring them in the night, taking their horses and equipment, even removing one man's clothing with a knife and leaving him to run naked in the woods. Confrontations between Drifting Goose and railroad surveyors are legendary. After he removed and covered the surveyors' landmarks numerous times, the railroad was rerouted for good ten miles west of the original right of way, a respectful distance from Drifting Goose village.

Drifting Goose was known as a peaceful, friendly man. He began to drift with his people between the Sisseton and Crow Creek reservations for food rations, camping along the James midway. His friend, Gabriel Renville, a mixed-blood chief at Sisseton gave him food when he could spare it, and together they persuaded a reservation agent to write to Washington for $2000 dollars in relief money during the severe winter of 1874-5. Even General H.H.Sibley, who Drifting Goose had aided as a scout after the Sioux outbreaks, wrote to Washington on Drifting Goose's behalf. These measures only served to delay the inevitable, however, and in 1878 his band was forced to go to the Crow Creek reservation on the Missouri river.

The Drifting Goose band returned to its village on the James the next year, however, only to find white settlers living there, having stolen their cached crops and occupying their homes. They returned to Crow Creek. In June of 1879 the Drifting Goose band experienced a rare moment of victory when President Hayes declared their homeland as Drifting Goose Reservation, a return of land unheard of for a minor chief; but, the order was revoked in little more than a year. At any rate, when Drifting Goose returned to his village, he found that the whites had multiplied; squatters were living in his home; the remaining land was barren with no trees or water access. Drifting Goose ordered his band to Sisseton where he spent the bitter winter of 1880 in a cotton tent while squatters lived in his comfortable log home. That winter his son died. In the end, he said, " I have struggled for a good cause, but there is no salvation from the white squatter."

Although Drifting Goose traveled to Washington to speak on behalf of his people in April of 1880, it was too late to stem the tide of white settlers in the James Valley. So, with a heavy heart, Drifting Goose gave up his James settlements in June of that year - but he never gave up the James. Long after he led 104 "very dilapidated" Indians to their new homes on the Crow Creek reservation, he was a familiar sight on the overland route through the Wessington hills and back to the James, often stopping at the gravesite of his daughter near Huron. In 1904, Drifting Goose bid farewell to the James at a July 4th picnic near Fisher's Grove. Although he had been forced to give up his beloved land near the James, he reminded the crowd that he had spared many white lives in order to ensure the survival of his people."

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