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Tanner Station Rifle Frolic

Coming November 6-7, 2010

By Steve White

Tanner Station rifle frolic is a celebration of the Kentucky flintlock rifle. Now in its fourth year, this premier shooting event is drawing the best traditional flintlock shooters to Kentucky’s historic Blue Lick’s Battlefield State Park. The offhand championship on Saturday November 6th is composed of ten timed matches. Targets range from 20 to 200 yards, loading will be from the pouch. Rifles are to have fixed sights with a wooden ramrod that fits his or her rifle thimbles. This year’s top shooter will earn a custom smoothbore made by noted maker Bud Diehl. Other prizes include hand made knives, powder horns, tomahawks, shot bags, priming horns and art prints by noted artist and makers.

The frolic was founded to revitalize shooting skills with a traditional Kentucky rifle used during the Kentucky settlement period, and the efficient use of a shot pouch and powder horn. All matches were researched from sources found in historical documents describing shooting events of the 18th Century and accounts of shots that were made by historical figures. At Tanner Station modern shooting skills are compared to historical records to see how the best modern shooters stand up to those in the past.

Sunday’s November 7th team event is open to any three men. Matches are timed and loading blocks are allowed in both days’ events. No shaders please. Shooting will begin at 10:00 a.m. each day.

The original Tanner Station site was founded by David Tanner in 1784 to protect salt makers as they boiled salt water for salt, which was obtained from a nearby spring. Tanner used 12 men in the protection of the station and all had to use sign and counter sings to enter the stockade. Tanner was paid with a portion of the salt. 

The station was also located mile from the site of the 1782 battle of Blue Lick’s. 182 Kentucky militiamen were ambushed and routed by 300 Indians led by British Captain William Caldwell and Simon Girty. This battle was noted as the last battle of the American Revolution.

In keeping with these historical events on this location the founding members encourage participants to come ready to shoot in clothing that was worn during the Kentucky settlement period of 1784. Participants should appear in clothing that they have researched for the occasion. Speakers on various subjects concerning correct clothing and accoutrements of the period will be on hand to answer questions. This information is presented for the general public, newcomer and seasoned living historian.

The members of Tanner Station are raffling a hand made shot pouch and powder horn strap made by Calvin Tanner, a descendent of David Tanner. Tickets can be purchased for $1.00 or 6 for $5.00 from the Tanner Station members. The winning ticket will be drawn on Sunday, November 7th.

Period camping for vendors and participants is available on the grounds near the fort and stockade. Early set up begins on Wednesday November 3rd. Modern camping and rooms are available at Blue Lick’s Battlefield State Park, which is adjacent to Tanner Station.

Contact: Bud Diehl at 1-502- 744-5661, Steve White at 606-564- 4887, or Blue Lick’s Battlefield State Resort Park at 1-859-289-5507.


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