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2014 Bitterroot Valley Knap-in Report

By Richard and Joan (photos complements of Joan, Jim Keffer, Mick Hill, Henry Payne and Judy Thomas)

Pending - over 500 photos to sort through and a dozen activities!

(You can see some of host Joan Urata's great photos here:Joan's 2014 Bitterroot Valley Knap-in photos)

The setup for our 4th annual knap-in started Wednesday morning when we got there.  As usual there were some early birds waiting to help us.  Wednesday was a little rainy but everyone was in a good mood and the setup was completed by early afternoon.  Tall stories and knapping started after lunch and up to the lasagna dinner.  Thanks to Don Safford for the great shade/rain shelter that he set up for all of us.

Enough people who planned to make drums were present Thursday morning so a drum making class started.  Thanks to Jim Keffer and Woody Woodside for their suggestion and efforts to put on this class. Woody volunteered to purchase the drum kits and Jim delivered the kits to the knap-in.  Jim and Beverly also provided the templates, tools and their expertise in making the drums.  After the class was completed, we all had a hot dog lunch with raspberry shortcake.  The raspberries were from the Urata Farm.

Flintknapping, atlatl throwing and archery shooting were the activities for the day.  Several ‘community’ points were started and were worked on for several days.  Three were completed and two were raffled off.

Jim and Karen Rayner came to the knap-in today for a couple of hours to visit his friends.  He was on his way home from the hospital.  He also came on Friday for a couple of hours and on Saturday for drum making and the potluck. We were all happy to see them there!

Every night the fire was started at twilight, about 9:30 pm, and people gathered to tell tall tales and to listen to music around the campfire. 

We were fortunate to have several musically talented people this year so people didn’t have to listen only to the didgeridoos,  flute and drums jamming.  Two brothers, Sean and Nolan McQueen who are  knappers, came to the knap-in this year.  Sean plays the guitar and Nolan the fiddle and they played a bunch of songs.  Holly Hill (flute) found out about the boys so she practiced with them and they all played some Celtic songs for us.  They were good!  Mick Hill played the bagpipes and Donn Paris surprised us by playing his guitar and singing lots of ‘cowboy’ songs for us.

A sandwich lunch with ice cream for dessert broke up the flintknapping and atlatl throwing for the day.  A Boy Scout troop of 10 boys and 4 scout masters showed up about 5:00 pm Friday.  They were eager to learn flint knapping and atlatl throwing.  We had a one-on-one on teaching flintknapping and about a 5 to 1 on atlatl throwing.  Don Safford sure had a lot of patience teaching the scouts about the atlatl.

In the evening, we got a treat from Joe and Arlene Wernex when they made some scones.  The scones disappeared as soon as they were taken out of the pot.

Saturday morning we had another great drum class.  Between the two classes our attendees completed 11 great hand drums.  The flintknapping  and atlatl lessons continued to noon until the scouts left.

We then played the 2-inch goat and the 10 speed games.  Jack Reynolds won the 2-inch goat and Sean McQueen won the 10 speed.  Watch out for that kid in the future.

Jack Reynolds gave a class in making figurines from saplings and Mel Beattie demonstrated fire making.

A pulled pork pot-luck with all the goodies started at 5:00 pm.  There were BBQ bean dishes, Moose Stew, lots of salads and lots of deserts.  The auction followed the potluck and there were some great pieces of art auctioned off.  Thanks to all those that donated items.  Jim Keffer was the auctioneer and as usual everyone was generous with their bids.  The auction was a success.

Joe and Arlene treated us again, this time with sourdough pancakes, on Sunday morning.  Other people brought eggs, bacon, and sausages.  We also had a great lunch to eat up all those pesky leftoversJ

The ladies had their own arts and crafts exhibits going over the weekend including quilting, crocheting, knitting, rug making and of course their cooking expertise.  We ate quite well and appreciate all the help we got in setting up our community meals! 

We didn’t have an Ooga Booga Ceremony this year because the two chiefs were not prepared for one.  Maybe we will have one next year if we can coordinate things better.

Thanks to all for making this another successful knap-in!  Attendees this year came from WA, OR, ID, MT and Canada.  The weather was great from Thursday through Sunday, everyone got along well, lots of creativity was flowing, there was lots of food and lots of fun!  See you all next year!


Richard & Joan Urata Bill & Judy Thomas
Ray & Harriet Alt Barry & Karen Rogers
Jim & Beverly Keffer Dick & Laura Kocan
Mick & Holly Hill Jim & Karen Rayner
Rich Pettersen John  & Sue Pearson 
Henry & Rosalie Payne Erik Pearson 
Mel Beattie Don Safford
Danne Guthrie Warren ‘Smitty’ & Joyce Smith
Mike Prescott Tammy Rayner
Brian, Ben, Caleb & Mara Rayner Jim Smith
Sean & Nolan McQueen George & Cheryle Bryce
Jack Reynolds Donn Paris
Gary Peck Stan Norgaard
Matt, Gunnar & Steyr Ulberg John Clement
Kirk Kuehl Greg, Benjamin & Arthur Olsen
Jim Rempp Joe & Arlene Wernex
Posey Nickens Faith Farley

What better place to hold a Knap-in

Bitterroot Valley Photos and Videos!

The Knappers

The Drums

10 Speed Competition


Don Paris, Holly Hill, Shaun and Nolan McQueen 

Holly Hill and the McQueen Brothers!

The McQueen Brothers!

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