The Billings Outpost

Reenactments mark battle’s anniversary

Hardin Chamber of Commerce

HARDIN – In the United States, there are few battles more famous or controversial than the Battle of the Little Bighorn. Fought on the plains of present-day Montana (then a territory) on June 25 and 26, 1876, the battle saw Sioux, Cheyenne and Arapaho warriors, led by dual legends Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse, clashing with Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer and the U.S. Army Seventh Cavalry.

Nicknamed Custer’s Last Stand, this famous battle comes to life every year on a plain six miles west of Hardin, Montana. Now in its 24th year, this reenactment features more than 300 reenactors on foot and horseback.

“This is open-air theater at its best,” says Bill Joseph, chairman of the Custer’s Last Stand Reenactment and a former portrayer of Sitting Bull. “We give people a taste of what it was like on that day and during that time in history. In addition to the Indian warriors and cavalrymen, we have people who portray settlers, we have an Indian village with tipis, and there is a fort set up.”

Also this weekend, a reenactment is held on the Real Bird Ranch near the Little Bighorn Battlefield. The reenactment takes place at 1 p.m. Friday through Sunday.

The reenactment script for the Hardin reenactment is based on the notes of Crow Tribal historian Joe Medicine Crow, whose grandfather, White Man Runs Him, was Custer’s Indian scout. Medicine Crow, who lives south of nearby Lodge Grass and turns 100 on Oct. 27, 2013, used his grandfather’s passed-down accounts to craft the story through the eyes of his forefathers.

He has also attended the reenactment since it began, singing “Son of the Morning Star,” a Native American warrior song, to all those engaging in the battle.

“Each performance begins with the cavalry riding in military formation from the west, and the Indian warriors riding in from the east,” says Joseph. “They meet in front of the grandstands while Lee Greenwood’s ‘Proud to Be An American’ plays over the PA system. After the battle, the scene is repeated. It’s very powerful and it gives many people chills.”

Joseph says seeing the battle reenactment provides a deeper understanding of America in the 1870s, and especially of Native Americans as they dealt with the wars, treaties, relocations and other difficulties resulting from America’s westward expansion.

He says people travel from around the United States and the world to experience the annual event.

This year, one performance of the Custer’s Last Stand Reenactment will occur at 2 p.m. each day on Friday, June 21, Saturday, June 22, and Sunday, June 23. Visitors will be able to meet and take photographs with many of the reenactors as well as participate in other Little Big Horn Days events.

Last Updated on Thursday, 20 June 2013 11:28

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Williams plays Custer

HARDIN — A familiar face will lead the U.S. 7th Cavalry into battle at this year’s Custer’s Last Stand reenactments at Little Big Horn Days in Hardin (June 19-23). For the seventh straight year, veteran reenactor Rick Williams will portray Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer.

Williams began his reenacting career as a dismounted private in Company B, 1st Kentucky Cavalry, reenacting Civil War battles. He eventually volunteered for mounted duty and instantly fell in love with mounted combat, riding at every opportunity.

He first appeared as General Custer at Cridersville, Ohio, in July 2003. “For several years I had reenactors approach me and tell me how much I looked like Custer,” said Williams. “It finally got to the point where I couldn’t ignore it.” Today, he portrays Custer regularly, speaking at Civil War Round Tables, historical interest groups, school programs, reenactments and many other functions.

Much of his focus has been on Custer’s lesser-known Civil War record, but he embraces the role that made Custer a household name. In addition to portraying Custer at Little Bighorn Days, he also appears twice yearly in Custer’s birthplace of New Rumley, Ohio, where he is also a member of the Custer Memorial Association.

Williams’ movie credits include “Gods and Generals” and “Reel Injun.” He has also appeared in numerous short films and documentaries on the History Channel, National Geographic Channel, the Outdoor Channel and Our Ohio. Williams is the author of “The Beginner’s Guide to Civil War Reenacting.”

His research on famous killer Clyde Barrow was published in the United States and Great Britain in November 2003.

He is the father of four and has nine grandchildren.

Last Updated on Thursday, 20 June 2013 10:04

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Variety of events planned for weekend

HARDIN – Hardin’s Little Big Horn Days continues through Sunday, June 23. During the annual event, put on by the Hardin Area Chamber of Commerce and Agriculture, the town’s population swells from 3,500 to more than triple that amount as people from around the state, the United States and the world gather to enjoy a celebration of local history and culture.

“Little Big Horn Days is an authentic American West experience,” says Al Sargent, who chairs the event for the Hardin Chamber. “It’s a terrific mix of history, music, art, food and events, and it’s all family-friendly. Everywhere you look there is something to see or do.”

Sargent says the crown jewel of Little Big Horn Days is the Custer’s Last Stand Reenactment.

Other planned events for Little Big Horn Days include a street dance featuring country music band Confederate Railroad, a parade featuring a California-based Lamborghini Club, a demolition derby, parades, a street fair, Native American dance demonstrations, suitcase relay races, historical symposiums and exhibits, and much more.

“We are also going to bring back our military ball, which we reintroduced last year,” Sargent says. “It will be held Thursday night, before the reenactments begin on Friday. We hold it under a large outdoor tent, and people wear period costumes.”

Last Updated on Thursday, 20 June 2013 10:01

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Sports cars on display

HARDIN — A group of 22 1960s and ’70s vintage Lamborghini sports cars will be in Hardin on Saturday, June 22. They will drive in the Little Big Horn Days Parade at 10 a.m., and then be on display from noon to 3 p.m.

It’s all part of Little Big Horn Days, a four-day celebration of Western culture and history presented annually by the Hardin Area Chamber of Commerce and Agriculture.

“We’re thrilled to have these classic Italian cars on display as part of Little Big Horn Days,” said Al Sargent, chairman of the Little Big Horn Days Committee. “It’s not every day you get to see an auto show like this.”

The Lamborghinis, or “Lambos” for short, are being driven to Hardin by their owners from all over the United States and Canada as part of a touring trip to nearby Billings. The owners are members of an internet forum called the Vintage Lamborghini Garage ( This worldwide group has about 1,100 members (up from six when it started in 2002) and is dedicated to the preservation, restoration and enjoyment of vintage Lamborghinis.

One of the founders of the Vintage Lamborghini Garage is Jack Riddell, a Billings native and 1956 graduate of Senior High School. He currently lives in San Diego, but is making the 1,250 mile trip to Montana to participate in the parade and show. He will be driving his 1967 400 GT 2+2 model, which he calls an “IRA on wheels” due to its stellar appreciation in value over the years.

“It’s always great to show off our Lambos, and to catch up with each other,” said Riddell. He added that though he hasn’t met some of the group’s members in person, “We chat so much online, I feel like I know them extremely well.”

The Lambo owners also plan to watch the signature event of Little Big Horn Days: the reenactment of Custer’s Last Stand at the Battle of the Little Bighorn.

Little Big Horn Days is an annual multi-day event presented by the Hardin Area Chamber of Commerce and Agriculture. The centerpiece of the event is three reenactments (June 21, 22 and 23).

Last Updated on Thursday, 20 June 2013 10:00

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Crow Native Days to be celebrated

While thousands celebrate Little Bighorn Days in Hardin this weekend, a concurrent celebration, Crow Native Days, goes on in Crow Agency.

The event was begun during the Clara Nomee administration during the 1990s. It expanded during the Carl Venne administration but retains a goal of helping native children and adults live better lives.

The Ultimate Warrior Challenge, at 8 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday, is a key part of the celebration, emphasizing the skills and strengths needed to make powerful warriors.

Here is a schedule of events:


Fun run and walk, 8:30 a.m.; youth rodeo, 9 a.m.; coal summit, 9 a.m.; buffalo feed, 6 p.m.; round dance, 7 p.m.; fireworks, 10 p.m.


Parade, 10 a.m.; veterans program, 11 a.m.; chairman’s reception, noon; reenactment, 1 p.m.; Indian relay, 3 p.m.; powwow, 6 p.m.


Ultimate Warrior competition, 8 a.m.; Indian relay, noon; art show, noon; reenactment, 1 p.m.; arrow tournament, 1 p.m.; powwow, 7 p.m.


Ultimate Warrior competition, 8 a.m.; Indian relay consolation, noon; reenactment, 1 p.m.; arrow tournament, 1 p.m.; powwow, 7 p.m.

Last Updated on Thursday, 20 June 2013 09:58

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Wedding wisdom:

Creating the perfect registry

(StatePoint) Just engaged? Before those wedding bells ring, you’re going to do lots of planning in the months ahead. While most of your preparations will only matter on the first day of your marriage, your wedding registry will impact your happily ever after.

Wedding experts say to ensure domestic bliss, make the most of your registry with proper planning, research and free resources.

“Determining what you want and need for your future should be an exciting process,” says Audrey Stavish, wedding and gift registry expert at Bed Bath & Beyond. “An expert consultant can help demystify product details and ensure you don’t miss any categories.”

As you think about registering, Stavish is sharing tips on creating the perfect registry:

• Don’t delay: You’ll likely have multiple occasions that requires gift-giving on the part of friends and family. From the engagement party to the shower to the main event, guests will want giving guidance. So register early.

Opt for a registry that offers convenience and good customer service. A store with locations nationwide and an online ordering system will make it easy for you and your guests.

• Take inventory: Assess what you already have, what you don’t have and what needs replacing. A walk through your home using a registry checklist can help you build a list. Talk to your fiancée and work together.

Also, think about what you need now and in the future – you might be dining for two, but soon you could be hosting a dinner party for 12 and will want dinnerware worthy of the occasion.

• Ask for help: Don’t be shy about seeking advice. Visit a store and talk with an expert consultant who can help with gift selections and offer tips on what you’ll need to enjoy your home.

Be sure to research the items that go on your registry. Touch the towels, hold the flatware — you may need to visit the store multiple times to get it right. If you change your mind, remember it’s always possible to update your registry online at any time.

• Dream big and small: Not all guests will be working with the same budget, so include a range of items at various price points. Guests will appreciate the variety for individual and group gifts. Dream big and include a few big ticket items and gifts that last a lifetime.

• Keep in touch: From save-the-date notifications, personalized announcement cards and registry details, keep in touch with your guests stylishly with a complete, customized wedding stationery ensemble. You can visit and click on “personalized invitations” to visit their online-only stationery store.

• Return Policy: Did you get duplicate gifts or gifts in the wrong color or size? Or maybe you just changed your mind. Check a store’s return policy before registering so you can return or exchange any gift on your list and live hassle-free ever after.

This is your chance to get everything you ever wanted. By using the help of experts and free resources, you can build the perfect registry.


Last Updated on Saturday, 15 June 2013 10:08

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Local artists teach courses in Art Academy

By JANE WHITE - The Billings Outpost

Artists in Billings teaching creative arts classes in Rocky Mountain College’s June 17-21 Summer Art Academy include Susan Germer, a jewelry maker, and Jason Jam, a cartoonist.

Ms. Germer will teach “Jewelry, Art and You,” which provides kids from ages 8-14 with four jewelry projects, while Jam, whose father is an English and art teacher and whose mother is a pre-school teacher, will teach “Drawing Comics” for the third year with Rocky’s academy.

“Comics is a huge mystery for those who want to do it,” he said. “Any book is incomplete - but with hands-on and showing them how you create, it knocks down any wall of impossibility.”

His mother, Jeanie Jam, had a comic strip in the 1970s in the Times Clarion, a newspaper serving Harlowton and Ryegate, where he grew up for part of his life. The strip was called “A Day in A Jam Jar” and focused on family antics, similar to “Family Circus,” he said. Originally from Billings, Mr. Jam returned after about 12 years in Ryegate.

Ms. Germer’s mother was an artist also. 

“I took a lot of inspiration from my mother,” said Germer. “She was a jewelry maker, painter and did a wide variety of other art, too.”

This year is Ms. Germer’s fourth year teaching jewelry making, in which she and the students use many kinds of tools and materials.

“We will be using round- and flat-nosed pliers, wire cutters, found objects and jump rings,” said Germer. “There will also be wire-wrapping, where we encase a beautiful stone or other object in wire.”

Ms. Germer also paints with watercolors and oils, makes cards and sculpts fine jewelry in Precious Silver Clay. 

“I fell in love with beading … I use buttons, wine bottle foil, sticks … it’s getting lost in the process … [sewing with beads] it’s very meditative,” said Germer. “I respect the meditative quality of the process.”

Regarding her young charges at Rocky’s summer academy, she said, “I really enjoy being with the kids … I learn so much from them every year … what their imaginations produce. They have shown me different ways of putting together design components … they always surprise me.”  

Rocky’s Summer Art Academy began 13 years ago thanks to the diligence of Ryniker-Morrison Gallery Director Sally McIntosh. McIntosh said kids come not only from Montana but also from other states.

“Many times they are visiting relatives, and they are able to participate in the Art Academy as well,” she said. “Our Parent-Student Studio Day is June 21. That day is the only day completed student works will be available to see.”

Ms. McIntosh plays a major role in organizing each Artwalk, in which both Ms. Germer and Mr. Jam participate. 

Both Ms. Germer and Mr. Jam are open by appointment and during each Artwalk.

Ms. Germer’s Studio is susang at (406) 671-7176. Mr. Jam’s business is Jason Jam Gallery at (406) 530-4344, website

For information on the Art Academy, call Ms. McIntosh at 259-6563.


Last Updated on Saturday, 15 June 2013 10:04

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Symphony picks members

The Billings Symphony has announced results of auditions for the upcoming season orchestra roster.

Auditions were held Sunday, April 21, at Montana State University Billings with 15 musicians performing.

Selected for the symphony’s 2013-2014 season roster were: Elizabeth Crawford, Great Falls, principal bassoon; Mark Soueidi, Billings, principal trombone; Sandy Stimson, Fort Wayne, Ind., section oboe/English horn; and Mike Nelson, Great Falls, section horn.

In addition, Rosie Weiss, Billings, violin; Taylor Shea, Billings, viola; Maria Fulton, Billings, cello; Rebeca Strong, Billings, cello; and Rich Gonzalez, Laurel, bass; were selected for intern positions with the orchestra.

Substitute musicians chosen for the Symphony’s roster include Dan Brockelbank, Billings, trombone; Vincent Hurtig, Hardin, tuba; and Michelle Maurer, Laurel, flute/piccolo.

Auditions for the Billings Symphony Chorale will be held in August.


Last Updated on Saturday, 15 June 2013 09:38

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Correction - Blaming GMOs

In a story about a protest against Monsanto last week, Shannon Kahler was quoted as stating that she thought Genetically Modified Organisms gave her thyroid cancer. Ms. Kahler notes that she did not specifically say that GMO food gave her cancer. She said she does not know with certainty whether GMO food caused her cancer.

Last Updated on Thursday, 06 June 2013 20:27

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‘Gracious Space’ helps opens up conversation

By BETTY WHITING - For The Outpost

Civil dialogue among people with diverse interests and backgrounds is a needed but lacking quality within the United States. It’s just plain difficult these days to talk about anything important, not only at work and in organizations, but within families.

The League of Women Voters of Billings is committed to public learning programs, but wanted more tools for opening up conversations of concern to everyone.

Mary Hernandez of Invisage Consulting is a trained facilitator for “Gracious Space.”

Through a grant from Humanities Montana, seven other Montanans have also become trainers. A thin book titled “Gracious Space,” by Patricia M. Hughes with Bill Grace, has the subtitle, “A Practical Guide to Working Better Together.”

In a retreat with Ms. Hernandez on May 20, the board of the League of Women Voters of Billings explored how to “invite the stranger to learn in public.” All groups can appreciate and use the following ideas.

“Gracious” is described as generosity of spirit. Each of us has something to bring to the space; recognizing the gifts others have, as well as our own, is a first step. Knowing we can learn from others becomes an act of graciousness. That spirit of interest in others is what we bring to the space.

Setting up the space, the vessel in which we engage others, comes next. The space needs to be comfortable and safe for all. Being open to others, allowing them to come within our bubble, makes us vulnerable, so it takes courage to set the stage where others are free to speak. We develop questions so others speak out and we really hear, understand, and learn the answers.

With this gracious space, we are ready to invite the stranger, those who think/act/feel differently. It also demands that we recognize the stranger within ourselves, ideas that we have not felt comfortable expressing. The stranger is to be honored and valued for providing another perspective.

Finally, as we meet with the stranger within this gracious space, learning in public means letting go of what you’ve learned and what you think you know to enable the possibilities of new ideas. It means letting go of being right long enough to consider that things may have changed or may be different from what was previously known.

Creating a gracious space where we can invite the stranger in order to learn from each other in public is a valuable process by which we can promote the common good. It allows for creative potentials for diverse, divergent thinking and for the possibility of joining together in solving problems.


Last Updated on Thursday, 06 June 2013 20:25

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