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A fine time was had at Bent's Old Fort

Rex 06 Dec 00 - 12:18 PM
Chanteyranger 06 Dec 00 - 12:24 PM
Rex 06 Dec 00 - 12:36 PM
Uncle_DaveO 06 Dec 00 - 03:13 PM
katlaughing 06 Dec 00 - 03:31 PM
Chanteyranger 06 Dec 00 - 03:48 PM
Rex 07 Dec 00 - 09:06 AM
WyoWoman 07 Dec 00 - 10:15 AM
Rex 07 Dec 00 - 10:59 AM
Chanteyranger 07 Dec 00 - 11:10 PM
katlaughing 08 Dec 00 - 12:02 AM
GUEST,Rex at work now 11 Dec 00 - 07:58 AM
BlueJay 11 Dec 00 - 12:36 PM
Rex 12 Dec 00 - 10:46 AM
Rex 25 Jul 01 - 10:01 PM
Rex 03 Aug 01 - 11:16 AM
Chanteyranger 04 Aug 01 - 12:48 AM
katlaughing 04 Aug 01 - 01:02 AM
Rex 04 Aug 01 - 12:40 PM
Rex 04 Dec 01 - 12:17 PM
GUEST,Phil 04 Dec 01 - 12:28 PM
Coyote Breath 04 Dec 01 - 11:02 PM
Rex 05 Dec 01 - 09:03 AM
katlaughing 05 Dec 01 - 10:22 AM
Rex 06 Dec 01 - 11:41 AM
Lonesome EJ 06 Dec 01 - 12:15 PM
Rex 06 Dec 01 - 12:42 PM
Lonesome EJ 06 Dec 01 - 12:55 PM
Chanteyranger 06 Dec 01 - 10:27 PM
katlaughing 07 Dec 01 - 12:05 AM
BlueJay 07 Dec 01 - 02:32 AM
Rex 07 Dec 01 - 10:48 AM
Rex 07 Dec 01 - 12:47 PM
Rex 12 Dec 01 - 01:23 PM
GUEST,Rex on the work 'puter 29 Jul 03 - 02:40 PM
Rex 02 Dec 03 - 01:22 PM
Midchuck 02 Dec 03 - 02:22 PM
Rex 17 Nov 05 - 01:50 PM
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Subject: A fine time was had at Bent's Old Fort
From: Rex
Date: 06 Dec 00 - 12:18 PM

I was at Bent's Old Fort down in LaJunta, CO the past two weekends. The previous week they had the "Millenium Tree Celebration". Every year the Christmas tree for the U.S. capitol comes from a different state. This time it was ol Colorader right from the Pike National Forest near me. And being on the edge of the "official" millenium it gets that catchy name. Well our illustrious senator, Ben Nighthorse Campbell is driving it to Washington on a big truck. One of the stops was Bent's Fort a reconstructed fort from the fur trade (1830s) and they asked me to entertain. I took the only two instruments that have been documented as being there, a fiddle and banjo and played Christmas tunes from the time. We also did some tunes and traditions held by the New Mexicans living around there. Then our senator gave a great speech to the masses and so did the mayor of LaJunta and they went on their way to Washington. Last weekend was their usual traditional Christmas celebration. I had a good time in the billiards room singing shanties with the Army corps. of Engineers and the Dragoon soldiers. Then each evening I would play tunes Christmas and others for folks in the dining area. We had a fine step dancer too. She was a delight to all of us. Then I headed SW for the very Mexican town of Aguilar where some friends live. The one evening we were playing bluegrass on banjo and mandolin and then celtic tunes on the harp and tin whistles in the saloon there. One of the vaqueros (cowboys) asked to play the guitar in spanish. (many of them don't speak english) About eight of them gathered around and started singing these wonderful vaquero songs. My friend picked up his banjo and I grabbed the fiddle and joined in. It was like something from another time but was a normal day in Aguilar. Later on I started singing some rowdy shanties much to the delight of the locals. It was a good mix of cultures, scotch whiskey and cactus whiskey.

Rex


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Subject: RE: A fine time was had at Bent's Old Fort
From: Chanteyranger
Date: 06 Dec 00 - 12:24 PM

Hey, Rex - I was just at Bent's Old Fort with WyoWoman four days ago! So, it looks like there was a mini-mudcat gathering there and we didn't know it. Small world.

-chanteyranger


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Subject: RE: A fine time was had at Bent's Old Fort
From: Rex
Date: 06 Dec 00 - 12:36 PM

Waitaminute. That would be Saturday. Wouldn't it? If it was during the day I was up in the billiards room. If it was in the evening I was in the, ah, the billiards room. Well where else would I be? That's the closest thing they got to a pub. Geez I sure wish I had seen you. You must not have gotten up there as Wyo Women would have recognised me, or the other way around. Well anyway you must have heard the noise coming from up back on the second level in that little adobe room. Wouldn't it have been great to meet? So sorry we didn't.

Rex


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Subject: RE: A fine time was had at Bent's Old Fort
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 06 Dec 00 - 03:13 PM

It's doubtful that your banjo was (other than the name) the same sort of instrument that was at Bent's Fort in the 1830s. If your banjo is a tenor, that came along in the last decade or so of the 1800s. If your banjo is a five-stringer, it's also out of time. The fifth (that is to say, the fourth long string) was only added in the 1840s or 1850s, and wouldn't have been common until later than that. What was at Bent's Fort probably had four strings, three long strings and a thumb string. And of course emphatically no resonator, although you don't mention that item.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: A fine time was had at Bent's Old Fort
From: katlaughing
Date: 06 Dec 00 - 03:31 PM

Those are my cousin's old stomping grounds and she's just had a new book, Little Fox's Secret - the Mystery at Bent's Fort, published for children. You can read about the book and the first chapter at marypeacefinley.com.

She was just up for a visit in September and had some interesting tales to tell of her research there and the wonderful people she talked with. She is also very musically inclined, so would have greatly enjoyed your music, Rex, sorry we didn't know about it; I'd've sent her a note.

BTW, you are not a native of Colorado? Generally I've heard all of my Coloradan family members say anything from Call-a-ra-doh to Call-a-ra-dah, but only my Eastern husband says Call-a-ra-deR!**BG**

kat


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Subject: RE: A fine time was had at Bent's Old Fort
From: Chanteyranger
Date: 06 Dec 00 - 03:48 PM

Rex, we got there about 2:45 and stayed til the 4 o'clock closing. Our guide was a man by the last name of "Kistart" or something like that. Yes, he took us up to his favorite haunting ground - the billiards room. Man, we must have just missed you, or were at opposite ends of the fort. Those pecocks walking around were really something. One of them displayed for me. I don't know, maybe he was getting tired of trying to impress the same old peacocks he sees every day.

-chanteyranger


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Subject: RE: A fine time was had at Bent's Old Fort
From: Rex
Date: 07 Dec 00 - 09:06 AM

Hmm, where to start? Down the list I go. Thanks for your reply DaveO. Did I say tenor? I have mentioned a tenor in some other posts but wouldn't bring one near the fort. This was a 5stringer, no resonator 'tall. It was made around 1885 and has one glaring feature that the banjo documented at the fort probably did not, frets. That's as close as I can get for now. I need to make one of those lovely tack head banjos like the one in the William Sidney Mount painting. (done in 1851) The time that the fellow was at Bent's Old Fort was in the 1840's and so would likely have the banjo we are familier with.

On to Kat, thank you for telling me of the book. I'll bet if I took the trouble to look in their gift shop I would have found it. But I'll look for it now. I guess the next time I am involved in an event at Bent's Fort I'll you folks know. I never would have guessed that anyone knew about it. You are correct, I was born and raised in the East. I come from a little town in the noble state of Catspawdom, also known as Ohio. But I was just saying Colorader in the spirit of the time. These folks also would say, Buffler.

And Chantyranger, I don't know how we missed each other. I was in the fort from seven in the morning to nine that night. I would think I was in the billiards room during the time you were there. You didn't see a crazed fiddler in the back corner in front of the whiskey bottles. I wouldn't have been in the other back corner where the fireplace was. That was taken up by the Army Corps. of Engineers! I sure wish I had seen you. I could have got a song in WyoWoman. I'd like to hear her fine voice again. Maybe even a yodel.

Rex


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Subject: RE: A fine time was had at Bent's Old Fort
From: WyoWoman
Date: 07 Dec 00 - 10:15 AM

CR-- We were at the Fort on Sunday! Remember? We started to go out there on Saturday but didn't get an early enough start and had to wait.

Rex, I wish we'd known you were going to be there. That would have been unbelievably cool. RATZ!!!!!

That's a place I've read about repeatedly in my research on Western history and had never had a chance to see yet, so I was really happy to finally make it out there. Wish we'd been able to see it the day before when it was full of people, as it probably always was back then. AH, for my Time Machine ...

ww


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Subject: RE: A fine time was had at Bent's Old Fort
From: Rex
Date: 07 Dec 00 - 10:59 AM

Ah, at that time Sunday I was in the Sunset Saloon with the vaqueros in Aguilar. Well that explains it. Still its good that you got to see the place. I think its pretty keen and have had some great times there over the years. In years past we did a good job of recreating rowdy trappers in a fort. To think of some of the things we did in a federal historic site. I'm sure sorry I missed the both of you. That'll learn me to speak up _before_ I go to an event. So, anyone going to be in Silverplume this weekend?

Rex


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Subject: RE: A fine time was had at Bent's Old Fort
From: Chanteyranger
Date: 07 Dec 00 - 11:10 PM

Allright, I'm sufficiently beet-red with embarrassment. Yeah, Sunday. Never mind.

-chanteyderanger


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Subject: RE: A fine time was had at Bent's Old Fort
From: katlaughing
Date: 08 Dec 00 - 12:02 AM

Rex, I guess I didn't know the half of it with my cousin. Just received this from her when I emailed her about this thread and told her what you'd been up to at the Fort:

I was doing the same sort of thing as Rex weekend before last at Fort Garland, only I was speaking and playing my flute instead of singing and playing banjo---but wish I could. There were Civil War reenactors, story tellers, Las Posadas, etc. I loved it! Three of my books are set in part at Bent's Fort. SOARING EAGLE ends there and WHITE GRIZZLY starts there. (Hum. I guess you haven't seen WHITE GRIZZLY yet. It came out in September.) LITTLE FOX is set mostly there.

Sounds like Aguilar is a fun place, too!

Thanks,

kat


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Subject: RE: A fine time was had at Bent's Old Fort
From: GUEST,Rex at work now
Date: 11 Dec 00 - 07:58 AM

Well thanky Kat, I found Little Fox. I'll be looking for the others now. I just logged in another weekend at Silverplume. A friend and I were playing music Saturday and Sunday in an 1890's setting. If some of you were there and I missed you I don't want to know about it!

Rex


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Subject: RE: A fine time was had at Bent's Old Fort
From: BlueJay
Date: 11 Dec 00 - 12:36 PM

Rex- what a cool coincidence. I work with Vickie, who along with her hubby own the Sunset bar in Aguilar. I've never been there, but will be this Friday for a Company Christmas party. Looking forward to checking it out. If you're ever by La Veta way, give a yell. BlueJay


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Subject: RE: A fine time was had at Bent's Old Fort
From: Rex
Date: 12 Dec 00 - 10:46 AM

Well that is something. Who'd have thought you knew the owners? Well have a cactus whiskey for me while you're there. And give my regards to the vaqueros. Oh, and thanky for the invite. Do let me know if you're up around these parts too. We'll drag EJ away from his doin's and go on a spree.

Rex


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Subject: RE: A fine time was had at Bent's Old Fort
From: Rex
Date: 25 Jul 01 - 10:01 PM

Just wanted to let Chantyranger, WyoWoman, Bluejay and anyone else in the vicinity that Bent's Fort will be having their Santa Fe Trail event 27th - 29th. That's this Friday through Sunday. Oh, and I'll be there. Hope to see some of you.

Rex


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Subject: RE: A fine time was had at Bent's Old Fort
From: Rex
Date: 03 Aug 01 - 11:16 AM

I'm back from my travels. Sorry I didn't see any Catters at the event. Colonel Kearny and the Army of the West was there preparing to go to war in Mexico the year being 1846. I hooked up with the Army Dragoons and the Army Topographical Engineers. We departed Bent's Old Fort and headed down to Trinidad and over Raton Pass into Cimarron in New Mexico and finally the Philmont scout reserve. At the south border is a restored kind of fort called the Riato built by Lucien Maxwell in the 1840's and we set up a Dragoon camp there in the year 1850. As my function there was as a private dragoon in the army I didn't play much music but in the evenings we would repair with the officers to the old St. James Hotel in the town and raise toasts to President Polk and Colonel Kearny and raise the roof with our singing disturbing the ghosts there I suppose as the place is said to be haunted. But then so is the Riato. This Saturday I'll join a Confederate Cannon crew along with 15 others and three brass bands in Clement Park in Denver. For the finale the band will play the 1812 Overture with the cannonade firing in time. Afterward we will fire the cannons in more demonstrations. I guess you could say I'll be a playing percussion for this one.

Rex


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Subject: RE: A fine time was had at Bent's Old Fort
From: Chanteyranger
Date: 04 Aug 01 - 12:48 AM

A former co-worker and friend from S.F. is at the fort now. Did you meet a ranger named Alex? Nice guy and very knowledgeable about 19th C. firearms.

-chanteyranger


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Subject: RE: A fine time was had at Bent's Old Fort
From: katlaughing
Date: 04 Aug 01 - 01:02 AM

Would that be the same Kearney that Ft. Phil Kearney is named after in Wyoming, I wonder?

Your descriptions are wonderful, thanks, Rex.

kat


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Subject: RE: A fine time was had at Bent's Old Fort
From: Rex
Date: 04 Aug 01 - 12:40 PM

Ah, I was beginning to wonder if folks were seeing this. Yep, Chanteyranger, Alex was there and I got to visit with him some. It was busy during the day but we would all get together after hours to sing the old songs and down some cold ones. Those 9:00AM to 9:00PM days got long. And nope, Kat, this was General Stephen Watts Kearny. A veteran of the War of 1812. He was a rugged character, "a soldier's soldier" yet the Missouri Volunteers would tease him for drinking wine when they considered whiskey best for a soldier. He led his troops through many battles but died at the end of the Mexican War from disease. I'm off to burn plenty of black powder with my cannon crew. Yeeha!

Rex


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Subject: RE: A fine time was had at Bent's Old Fort
From: Rex
Date: 04 Dec 01 - 12:17 PM

It's happening again. Bent's Old Fort outside of LaJunta will be having their Traditional Christmas Celebration on the 7th and the 8th. I'll be there playing fiddle and banjo Friday evening and all day Saturday. I put this out in case Bluejay and anyone else nearby feel like coming out to attend.

Rex


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Subject: RE: A fine time was had at Bent's Old Fort
From: GUEST,Phil
Date: 04 Dec 01 - 12:28 PM

You guys are talking banjos-- did you see the reproduction banjo that was in the fort? It is in the bookeepers room. It is a 5string banjo just like the one in the W.S.Mount painting, but it, like the painting, is not a takhead but a 6 hook tension head. If you missed it, YOU MISSED IT. It is a way cool banjo. Pitty that they don't play it! I would love to get my hands on one, does anyone know who made the one at the fort?


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Subject: RE: A fine time was had at Bent's Old Fort
From: Coyote Breath
Date: 04 Dec 01 - 11:02 PM

I meant to say this quite a while ago. Dave O, commented that the fifth string wasn't added till the 1840's or 50's. I am not an authority but a friend of mine, George (Butch) Wunderlich is and he sez that the banjo had five and sometimes six (double drone) strings as early as the end of the 18th century. All banjos were homemade. The maker built it the way he wanted it to be. Some have a drone 4th string and no fifth. He played it the way he wanted it to be played. Bents Fort was around for quite sometime. It went way past the rendezvous period, which ended roughly about 1840. Wunder Banjo Company sells an 1837 Boucher Tackhead which, except for it's 14" diameter head and 'treblecleft' fretless neck looks and plays like a "modern" banjo. I'll bet the banjo in the bookkeepers room is from around 1845 to 1860 (given the brackets) It surely seems like it is pre-civil war.


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Subject: RE: A fine time was had at Bent's Old Fort
From: Rex
Date: 05 Dec 01 - 09:03 AM

A banjo in the fort you say? I will be tracking it down while I'm there. Thanks for the mention. And yup, Mr. Wunderlich knows his banjos.


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Subject: RE: A fine time was had at Bent's Old Fort
From: katlaughing
Date: 05 Dec 01 - 10:22 AM

Rex, any chance you be there the following weekend or thereabouts? We may have reason to travel down through that area to a job interview south and would love to stop by, IF you were there and IF it is on our way. I have to look at a map, first.:-)

I'd tell my cousin who wrote the book I mentioned way back when in this thread to come this weekend and hear you, but she's got an elderly mother on the way out and can't go out of town for now.

Have fun and know that I'll be thinking about ya and your fine playing and singing. Those folks are in for a real treat.

kat


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Subject: RE: A fine time was had at Bent's Old Fort
From: Rex
Date: 06 Dec 01 - 11:41 AM

Hiyah Kat! long time no see. Bent's Old Fort is about 3-1/2 hours from here so I usually just get there twice a year. Oncet in the summer and oncet about now. So I'll only be there on the 7th and the 8th I'm sorry to say. 'Course you could come up to Conifer on your way through Coloraddy eh? If not, I understand limited time and tight schedules.

Rex


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Subject: RE: A fine time was had at Bent's Old Fort
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 06 Dec 01 - 12:15 PM

Rex, what time do you quit on Saturday? I'm thinking about going, but couldn't leave here until about 3, so it would be seven by the time we got there. Are there motels near by?


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Subject: RE: A fine time was had at Bent's Old Fort
From: Rex
Date: 06 Dec 01 - 12:42 PM

Well there is an evening program on Saturday 7-9. "Candelight tours - Las Posadas - period refreshments and music" so says the brochure. The music, um, that would be me. As I said before EJ, it's a 3-1/2 hour drive. I don't know if I would go that far for a two hour tour of the place but that's up to you. As for lodging. On Friday night I'll be staying at the Best Western Bent Fort hotel in Las Animas a bit further East on Hwy. 50. There is also a Best Western in LaJunta and another Hotel that escapes me.

I just looked at the Yahoo Yellowpages for LaJunta and there's a boatload of hotels. I was thinking of the Westerner Motel. I've also stayed at the Stagecoach and the Mid-town. They are more on your way than continuing on to LasAnimas and they are considerably cheaper. Something I will remember next time. Also, after the program ends on Saturday I am going directly to Aguilar for a late night music session so I won't be sticking around town I'm sorry to say. Well, that's about everything and more than you need to know I suppose.

Rex


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Subject: RE: A fine time was had at Bent's Old Fort
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 06 Dec 01 - 12:55 PM

Yep, sounds like a long haul for a two hour tour. Sounds like fun though. If there was a chance to come earlier we might reconsider.


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Subject: RE: A fine time was had at Bent's Old Fort
From: Chanteyranger
Date: 06 Dec 01 - 10:27 PM

Alex tells me of La Junta's monthly tradition of shanghaiing someone who's passing through town, putting him or her up for the night in a motel, then having them come to the chamber of commerce monthly breakfast as a guest!


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Subject: RE: A fine time was had at Bent's Old Fort
From: katlaughing
Date: 07 Dec 01 - 12:05 AM

HeyaRex! I dunno about Conifer, but we'll see. If it's at all possible, I'll get in touch with you and/or LeeJ, 'kay? Sorry we didn't go down this weekend, I would love to have seen the Fort and heard you there.

Have fun!

kat


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Subject: RE: A fine time was had at Bent's Old Fort
From: BlueJay
Date: 07 Dec 01 - 02:32 AM

Hey, Rex- Will you be playing publicly in Aguilar? BlueJay


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Subject: RE: A fine time was had at Bent's Old Fort
From: Rex
Date: 07 Dec 01 - 10:48 AM

to Kat, 'kay. Y'all come and see us when you can. Don't cha know.

to Bluejay, nope. I'll be at my banjo pickers house. This 100 year old adobe relic that they've restored quite well. If you'll send a PM with your phone number, I'll call. I will arrive sometime between 10 and 11 so any real effort towards music and such will be Sunday morning. I'm leaving for Bent's in about two hours. I'll check here again before I go and see if you got this.

Rex


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Subject: RE: A fine time was had at Bent's Old Fort
From: Rex
Date: 07 Dec 01 - 12:47 PM

Ah, no message from Blue Jay. If you want to reach us Sunday morning. Call the Sunset and tell you want to call Fred, the banjo/harp player. They should be able to get you hooked up. I'm off to the fort now.

Rex


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Subject: RE: A fine time was had at Bent's Old Fort
From: Rex
Date: 12 Dec 01 - 01:23 PM

The "Traditional Holiday Celebration" at Bent's Old Fort was quite a success. Very well attended. One of the highlights was hiding a large log out in the cottonwoods along the Arkansas river and sending the kids out to find it. It had a ribbon tied around it so they would know. A blast on a cow horn told us at the fort that they had found it. Two oxen were hitched to a wagon and several of us piled on and headed out to the woods. I had the fiddle with me and was playing tunes. In the woods, we unloaded and chained the log to the wagon and headed back to the fort. The kids took turns riding the log on the way back. I was up in the wagon again playing tunes. This procession stopped at the front gate. The log was unhitched from the wagon and dragged into the fort. A large bonfire was started around it. Later folks gathered around it to keep warm while singing carols to the tune of the fiddle. Often they would start in their own arbitrary key which made it a challenge to play with them like when the key was Bb and a quarter maybe. Other times I would get the jump on them and then they would follow me.

A note to Chanteyranger, Alex says to tell you he is leaving the fort and heading out your way later this month I gather from what he was saying.

The banjo. The banjo in the collections at the fort is a repro from Wunder Banjo Co. It is a very close copy of a William Boucher from the 1850's from the collection of Peter Szego. Right down to the false grain finish on the neck and rim. While this copy is from the 1850's, Boucher made banjos very like this during the 40's as well so it fits in very nicely to the fort's 1846 setting. There are few extant and documented banjos from that time and this is one of them. A good choice for the fort. The banjo is not currently on display but will be in bookkeepers quarters so I hear. Unfortunately it is unlikely that it will see much action. They want it only for display. The false grain finish is on the fingerboard as well and doesn't appear likely to hold up under much playing. Curiously, the original has this same feature and does not show significant wear. The false grain is not so apparent on the upper part where wear would occur, but the color is uniform throughout the fingerboard. Perhaps it did not see much use either. The curator there was kind enough to take me to see it within their collections area. A vault within a building within another building. Temperature and humidity controlled. Snazzy.

Rex


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Subject: RE: A fine time was had at Bent's Old Fort
From: GUEST,Rex on the work 'puter
Date: 29 Jul 03 - 02:40 PM

Ayep they are having their Santa Fe Trail event again. That is where Colonel Kearny came through with the Army of the West just before they crossed the Arkansas River to invade Mexico during the U.S.-Mexican War. The event will run from Friday through Sunday, Aug. 1st through 3rd. I will be there as a Missouri Volunteer with the Army Dragoons. I'll also be playing music in the courtyard on fiddle and banjo. Come out if you can.

Rex


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Subject: RE: A fine time was had at Bent's Old Fort
From: Rex
Date: 02 Dec 03 - 01:22 PM

Bent's Old Fort in LaJunta will be having their holiday celebration this weekend with an evening program Friday and Saturday and events happening through the day on Saturday and Sunday. They bring to life the victorian Christmas traditions and add a New Mexico slant here and there. I'll be there with my fiddle. Any of you catters in the vicinity I hope you can come by.

Rex


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Subject: RE: A fine time was had at Bent's Old Fort
From: Midchuck
Date: 02 Dec 03 - 02:22 PM

Read new Larry McMurtry last night - "By Sorrow's River," the third book in the Berrybender series. Part of it takes place there.

Peter


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Subject: RE: A fine time was had at Bent's Old Fort
From: Rex
Date: 17 Nov 05 - 01:50 PM

Bent's Old Fort will be having their holiday celebration again December 2nd through the 4th. There will be an evening program Friday and Saturday with events happening through the day on Saturday and Sunday. I hope you folks out in Southern Colorado will come on by. I'll be there with a fiddle and a banjo.
Also tomorrow KNGU will air the little gig we did at the Tattered Cover. Friday, the 18th from 12:00 to 1:00. 88.5 FM - Boulder, 1390 AM - Denver. We did a book signing of our Jack Thorp book and a reporter was there. I don't figure all of you will be pulling in a signal out where you are but it can be gotten online at:
KGNU online
Rex


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