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Bill Williams Mountain Men ride in the 1998 Fiesta Bowl Parade in Phoenix
Bill Williams Mountain Men ride in the 1998 Fiesta Bowl Parade in Phoenix

Bill Williams Mountain Men

The group known as Bill Williams Mountain Men originated in Williams, Arizona, in 1953 to perpetuate the heritage and spirit of those adventurers, mountain men and trappers, who first came to the American West in the 1820s. Wearing buckskin outfits, hats and moccasins and riding horseback in parades and rodeo grand entries, these Williams businessmen, doctors, judges, and ranchers raise money for charities and scholarships for Williams High School graduates. They also visit schools and hospitals to bring the story of Arizona's western heritage to youth. In their annual spring 200-mile Rendezvous Ride, they ride the trail for six to seven days from Williams through the mountains, canyons and deserts of Arizona to the Phoenix rodeo. The chuck-wagon food, bonfires at night, and sleeping under the stars are part of the re-enactment of the rides of the early trappers who made their trips to rendezvous in the early spring to sell their furs. Thirty active members of the group plus lifetime members and guest riders take part.

The group is named after the legendary fur trapper known as "Old Bill Williams," who was born in the state of North Carolina and ventured to the mountains of the West for adventure and to preach. It is believed Old Bill was killed in Southern Colorado in 1849. Bill Williams Mountain Men have represented the state of Arizona five times in the United States Presidential Inaugural Parade in Washington, D.C., and continue to perpetuate the lore, memory, and romance of the intrepid group of mountain men, particularly Old Bill Williams.

The project is documented with four pages of text, one 8 x 10 color photograph, newspaper articles, a map of the Annual Rendezvous Ride, and several photos from the book Bill Williams Mountain Men, published by Golden West Publishers, Phoenix.

Originally submitted by: Jon Kyl, Senator.

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The Local Legacies project provides a "snapshot" of American Culture as it was expressed in spring of 2000. Consequently, it is not being updated with new or revised information with the exception of "Related Website" links.

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