Sierra Dufrenne took a hatchet and stood about 15-feet away from a wooden target. She raised her right arm, brought it to a 90-degree angle, and threw the tomahawk forward. It rotated in the air and stuck right into the target.
The 13-year-old Red Bud resident, who is a re-enactor with her father Jeff Dufrenne, demonstrated tomahawk throws at the Caseyville Frontier Days.
During her demonstrations, she walks people through the steps: hold the tomahawk at the bottom, with the thumb up, bring the arm back, and toss it, without flicking the wrist.
“It takes some getting used to,” Sierra Dufrenne said. “There’s a lot of kids who have never thrown a tomahawk and stick it.”
“Everyone is different in how they throw,” she added.
It’s about showing youngsters living history. (We) show kids how easy they got it these days. They come out and look at everything, see how you cook over an open fire. They’re amazed.
Eric Durbin, a re-enactor at Caseyville Frontier Days
This was the fourth year Caseyville held its Frontier Days event, which drew about 500 people on Saturday, and was expected to draw the same amount on Sunday. For many of the re-enactors, the weekend hobby allows them to show others life on the frontier.
“It’s about showing youngsters living history,” said Eric Durbin, a re-enactor who brought a small cannon with him. “(We) show kids how easy they got it these days. They come out and look at everything, see how you cook over an open fire. They’re amazed.”
On Sunday morning, a handful of the Frontier Days re-enactors lined up their cannons. They placed a wick into the cannon, and then packed in the powder and a wad with ram.
They shouted “fire in the hole,” an alert that was repeated throughout the camp set up at Caseyville Park.
After they lit the wicks, the cannons one by one let out a loud boom and a plume of smoke.
“That will wake Casevyville up,” Durbin said.
During the event, re-enactors made moccasins, cooked food, camped out in the park and played music.
Kenny Rogers, of Maryville, brought a forge and showed people his hobby of shaping metal into tools.
He had made swords, tomahawks, axes, knives and even a fish hook during this 20 years forging metal.
“Just about anything somebody asks me to make, if I can do it, I say ‘OK I’ll do that,’” Rogers said.
He has hardwood charcoal, connected to two hand-operated bellows to provide air to heat up the charcoal.
As he speaks, he pumps the bellows with his left arm to stoke the fire.
“Once you get your metal in there, you can get it red hot,” Rogers said. “Once it’s hot, you could work it with the hammer.”
Mindi Rendleman, a preschool teacher from Dupo, demonstrated songs on a string instrument called a bowed psaltery.
Stepping out of the Frontier Days time period, Rendleman showed how tunes such as Baloo Baleerie, a Celtic song, Greensleeves, and even the theme of Indiana Jones can be played on the instrument.
Rendleman has been a re-enactor for 11 years.
“It’s just fun,” she said. “I’ve always been interested in history; I get to go live it, bring my daughters with me, hang out with my friends, meet new friends.”