Wenaha Rendezvous


Senior Member
Nov 30, 2012
Northern Idaho
It was my weekend to go to Troy, Oregon for the Wenaha Rondie. I really enjoy this event, it is the first full scale Rendezvous of the spring for me. There is a ton of things to do and a lot of people to watch doing them.

One of the more interesting parts of the event is the drive to Troy, Oregon from Moscow Idaho. It is really an up and down trip! I start in Moscow at an elevation of around 2600’ drive south to Lewiston, Idaho with and elevation of 700 ft. Lewiston is nestled in between the confluence of the Clearwater River and Snake River. It, Lewiston, is Idaho’s only seaport city. And for you history type people south of Lewiston is Hells Canyon, the deepest river gorge in the US. Towering above Hells Canyon is the Seven Devils reaching an elevation of 9000 ft. above the Snake River and the Snake at that point is 14-1500 ft. above sea level. Interestingly… if you were to hike to the Seven Devils and look hard and long you could find some fossilized sea creatures (Continental Drift at work) in the Basalt rock on the mountains. But, that give you an idea of the ups & downs of Idaho.

Back to the drive… After leaving Lewiston you cross to Clarkston (Lewis – Clark expeditions fame) travel south along the Snake River to Asotin then up to Anatone, Wa. The current highway is built near or on an old historic Nez Pierce Native American trade trail. The trail connected the Grande Rhonde River to one of the home of the Nez Peirce Nation in the Clearwater River Valley. In their day I am not sure about their skills in navigation as there is very little direct route once you start down Rattlesnake Creek headed out of Anatone headed down to the Grande Rhonde. They had to loose 2000 ft. in a very short distance…

To many it would remain to be called a ‘Trail’ even though it is paved. Very narrow, very windy and not may places with guard rails. And no trees on the vertical faces to stop you or slow you down if you fell off the trail. Non-the-less it is an exciting trip down and UP the grade. Just cannot imagine doing it on horse or walking with pack animals…

The drive along the Grand Rhonde is great, again a narrow winding river grade road. But if you dare while driving you can watch the folks floating the river or the fishermen working one of the best fisheries in Oregon – but as a driver you cannot look too long. Even stopping to look is hazardous because of the lack of sight distance on most parts of the road you never know from what direction another vehicle might be coming.

The Rondie… because of the size of this event I really did not get picture of everything happening. There was just too many events all going on at the same time. And I, for the most part, just do rile shooting events. So this is heavy on rifle shooting.

The ‘walking trail’ at Wenaha is a challenge for me… There is a tremendous variety of targets from 150 yard uphill and I mean uphill targets to the shorter 25-40 yard shots. This year’s trail had 21 rifle stations, so you do get to launch a few balls down range. I actually shot the trail 3 times. The first time with the score card and what I consider my better PRB shooter. A second time to see if I could do better with the same rifle and the 3rd time with a different 50 cal. Renegade.

I was going to say the first shot of the day is a very difficult shot, but actually the first shot is at the tie breaker bull on the shot card. It is only tough because you try so hard to hit such a little spot in the card. But, the next shot is a huge full sized buffalo gong some 150 yards up the hill and probably a 45 – 50* shooting angle. For the last two years I have scared the buffalo by hitting the dirt just below the belly. This year, and I have know why, I got him! I was ready to call it a day, even though the guys in my group told me I gut shot him.

In this group of pictures, the picture on the upper right shows two of the longer shots on the trail with the buffalo being the target on left.

The lady on station #1 is going after the buffalo… The other pictures are showing different shooters on other stations.

I missed six shots on the day with my better Renegade on the first trip through the course. I was disappointed that I missed that many. Three of the 6 there really was not that good of an excuse for… I just missed –dang it! Two of the misses were kind of my fault… I do not like horizontal small targets even when they are close range. On this trail there were two such targets. The first was a horizontal pipe at about 20 yards, I was the first shooter in my group at the target but as soon as I saw it – I already had decided I did not like that target and it would be difficult for me – it was… But two on the guys in the group hit it – so I know it can be down. The next horizontal target was a large chain with very big links. I listened to the guys talking about how to shoot this target and get a score. One of the theories was to shoot the center space of one of the links… Reasoning? If you shot the middle void space and it you missed up or down a bit you would hit the chain! Fair enough right! I called my shot before hand and told everyone I was shooting the middle space. I shot and I am sure I hit the middle – but the air movement of the bullet passing through the middle space did not cause the chain to move. I pleaded my case but ‘no score’

I though this turkey gong shot in as a difficult shot just because of the amount of brush you had to shoot through. By the end of the day I am sure this target got easier to shoot just because of the pruning the shooters were doing.

Another shot I recall missing was a ‘Triple Teaser’, one of those stations with 3 hanging targets worth 1 – 2- or 3 points. I chose to shoot the small target to try to get the points... No points!

The last shot of the day was kinda appropriate for the location of the shoot. One of those gimmick shots! The last station was right on the bank of the Wenaha River, and they had placed a small kids wading pool on the ground. Then they filled it with water and placed 3 large river rock in the pool. But here is the tricky part… The big one on the upper left was a flat bottom rock and it was pretty stable – the other two ‘rather round’ and unstable. If and when you got your foot on one of the round rocks – got it stabilized and most often the recoil and movement of the rifle would cause a great loss of balance and a wet foot or both feet wet or even stumbling out of the pool. It was fun to watch and listen to the conversation.

Here are some additional pictures you might enjoy…

Feb 25, 2012
Brighton Colorado
Great pictures. Thanks for sharing. I am looking at attending my first rondy this year (as a participant) Why just read about it when you can experience it.Watch yer top knot.