8th annual North American Rendezvous brings record-breaking numbers
of sportsmen and women to Idaho, support for public lands and waters
MISSOULA, Mont. – North America’s hunting and fishing community united in Boise, Idaho, May 1-4 for Backcountry Hunters & Anglers’ 8th annual North American Rendezvous, a celebration of sportsmen’s and women’s monumental wins for public lands, waters and wildlife in 2019 that brought thousands to Idaho and broke fundraising records for the young organization.
A diverse offering of seminars, events and exhibitors along with delicious wild game offerings, friendship and palpable energy galvanized attendees from across the United States and Canada, many wearing the ubiquitous “Public Land Owner” hats and t-shirts that have become a hallmark of BHA.
Ryan Busse, chairman of BHA’s North American board, called the 2018 Rendezvous “second to none.”
“The energy of this organization and our members was on full display, pure and bright,” said Busse. “Between great wild food and entertainment there were earnest discussions on policy, constant development of new strategies and recognition of grassroots leaders ... along with smiles, high-fives and hugs from a group of conservationists second to none. ‘I found my people,’ was a constant chorus. High-five to that!”
Following two days of meetings and trainings for BHA chapter leaders, Rendezvous kicked into high gear on Thursday night with Beers, Bands and Public Lands, a live music festival that brought together BHA members with Boiseans to sample great beer and food from a diverse lineup of vendors and where Idaho Gov. Brad Little took to the stage to proclaim May 2 Idaho Public Lands Day.
“Being able to feed thousands of hungry public lands advocates may be the most enjoyably exhausting day of work we have ever had at Montana Mex,” said the chef Eduardo Garcia, a featured Rendezvous storyteller whose company, Montana Mex, brought gourmet offerings to Boise. “It was such an honor to fuel their bellies and spirits. We will be back!”
The days that followed included a live MeatEater podcast, the annual Wild Game Cookoff (defending champion, BHA’s Arizona chapter, bested the competition with a menu that included cactus buds and rattlesnake), and the final Storytelling event with speaker lineup featuring public lands champion Sen. Martin Heinrich of New Mexico.
“I am blown away by how much we have changed the conversation around public lands in the last five years,” said Sen. Heinrich. “In a short period of time, we have gone from defending the very idea of publicly held land, of the federal government being the trustee for land that belongs to the people, to public land now being almost a litmus test in elections, a thing that people constantly ask about and is viewed in a very positive light. I think that’s a big accomplishment and a there’s no doubt in my mind that BHA played a major role in making that transition.”
Influencers in the outdoor industry stepped forward to support public lands and waters in Boise, with BHA platinum partners sponsoring BHA Rendezvous including Camp Chef, Federal Premium Ammunition, Filson, First Lite, Gerber Gear, Global Rescue, goHUNT, Leupold, MTN OPS, New Belgium Brewing, onX, Seek Outside, SITKA Gear, Stanley, Traeger Wood Fired Grills, Under Armour, Vortex Optics and YETI.
“The Filson team deeply values the work that BHA and their passionate members are doing to protect our outdoor heritage,” said Mary Rondepierre, marketing and experience manager of Filson, BHA Storytelling sponsor. “The energy and momentum behind this group is undeniable and growing fast, driving important conversations in the halls of the capitol in Washington, D.C., as well as around campfires across the country. We couldn’t ask for better advocates for our public lands and waters.”
In 2020, BHA’s North American Rendezvous will return to Missoula, Montana, home of BHA headquarters.
“The revolution is alive and well,” said BHA President and CEO Land Tawney. “Rendezvous brought together people from all walks of life, all 50 states and most Canadian provinces and territories. The energy was palpable. While I immensely enjoyed the conversations, high-fives and cheers, what I’m most excited about is our people taking that energy home. We are building this organization one conversation at a time, and there could be no better advocates then those who just experienced what they did in Boise. We are just getting started, and our family grows daily.”
BHA was formed around an Oregon campfire in 2004. Since then, the group of sportsmen and women has established itself as the leading voice of North American public lands users, including hunters, anglers and other outdoor recreationists. BHA has chapters in 44 states, two Canadian provinces and one territory, and Washington, D.C.
Backcountry Hunters & Anglers is the voice
for our wild public lands, waters and wildlife.