Sunday Rendezvous starts with church service
June 16, 2003
Seated on hay bales under a shade net, re-enactors dressed in buckskins and cotton sang along with Russ Pitts from River of Life Christian Fellowship.
Wearing camouflage pants and orange mirrored sunglasses, Pitts was on the main stage at the Carson City Rendezvous Sunday morning strumming an acoustic guitar.
“I am a wounded soldier,” he sang, “but I will not leave the fight, because the Great Physician is healing me.”
Two deputies with the sheriff’s mounted posse rode quietly by as Pitts started the final song, “Amazing Grace.”
Most of the audience joined in. A morning breeze brought tufts of cottonwood fluff. Birds chirped in the silence after the song, then the Rev. Robert Bledsaw — the “Pipin’ Padre” — climbed onstage.
Wearing his royal tartan kilt, Bledsaw used humor to get the audience thinking about their relationship with Jesus Christ.
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“You know that Verizon commercial where the guy says, ‘Can you hear me now? Can you hear me now?'” asked Bledsaw. “Well, we don’t have to worry about that with God. We have direct access to God through the Holy Spirit.”
The nondenominational, hourlong morning service was the first event on stage at the Rendezvous Sunday. About 100 people sat on the aluminum bleachers and hay bales.
“I feel like I’m inside the world’s largest snow globe with all this cottonwood,” joked Bledsaw on stage.
From there it went right into musical entertainment with David John and the Comstock Cowboys. At the end of their three 1:30-2:30 set, they had a dozen “groupies” dancing on the stage and singing along.
“Everybody loves David John and the Comstock Cowboys,” said organizer Maxine Nietz, describing how well the three-day event has gone.
“We’re very happy — the main stage went until 9 last night,” she said. She also described a campfire in the Mountain Man Encampment where children were roasting marshmallows.
“It was just charming,” she said.
She estimated Sunday’s turnout at 10, 000 to 12,000 — enough to put the weekend total at 40,000.
Park Ranger Bub Richardson said the only complaint he’d heard was of missing doors in the women’s restroom stalls.
“To my knowledge, it’s been a very safe, fun event,” he said.
Vendor Mitch Windwalker from Stagecoach was having fun. He said the key was the Crazy Burrito booth.
“They make very good burritos,” he said of one of the many food vendors.
He recommended the pork/beef combo. He and his wife, Denise, make their own sage brush smudges, wind chimes, prayer sticks and rawhide rattles.
“That sage comes from San Diego,” he said. “It’s the cream of all sage — the Cadillac of sagebrush.”
He explained how it only grows at a certain latitude and a certain altitude.
“It’s hard to come by.”
Donna Barrios was volunteering with the Carson City Tobacco Prevention Coalition run by Healthsmart.
She and Debbie Currie were using real, inflatable pig lungs to show the effects of tobacco tar.
Barrios, an Americorps volunteer from Fernley, said she likes the re-enactors and living-history encampments.
“I love the Rendezvous,” she said.