Battle of Little Bighorn will be re-enacted in June Custer: To see the ceremonies marking the famous defeat, fly into Billings, Mont.

Travel Q&A

March 02, 1997|By NEW YORK TIMES NEWS SERVICE

I would like to visit the re-creation of Custer's Battle of the Little Bighorn. Can you tell me where I must fly and if I need reservations?

To recall the events of June 25-26, 1876, in the valley of the Little Bighorn River in Montana, re-enactments or commemorative ceremonies are held at three sites in the area. It was on June 25 that Crow scouts for Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer spotted a large group of horses not far from an Indian village. Custer decided to divide his 600 troops into three. Little did he know that he had stumbled on 2,000 warriors.

The 260-plus troops he led were killed within hours -- or even less. The two other forces, led by Maj. Marcus Reno and Capt. Frederick Benteen, were themselves besieged for two days.

What made the incident so well remembered, according to Tim McClearey, historian at the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument, was the defeat of an elite fighting unit led by a noted officer. Compounding this ignominy was its occurring when the United States was celebrating its centennial.

In planning a visit, the place to fly to is Billings, where there are 3,400 guest rooms. The Billings Area Chamber of Commerce, which has a guide to lodgings, is at Post Office Box 31177, Billings, Mont. 59107-1177; (800) 735-2635 or (406) 245-4111. (The Chamber of Commerce in Hardin, nearer to the battlefield site, said all rooms had already been booked.)

Here are some highlights:

The Hardin Chamber of Commerce, 21 E. Fourth St., Hardin, Mont. 59034, will present five re-enactments -- June 27 at 1: 30 p.m. and 5 p.m., June 28 at 1: 30 p.m. and 5 p.m. and June 29 at 1: 30 p.m. -- six miles west of Hardin on Highway 87. Professionals will play the leading roles. Also scheduled each day are a carnival, quilt show and book fair. Admission is $10, $6 for children; (406) 665-1672.

The Real Bird Camp, a family-run enterprise, plans one %o performance a day June 25-29 in the afternoon. Most of the 100 participants on and off stage will be Crow Indians, according to Richard Real Bird. Information: Real Bird Camp, Post Office Box 5, Garryowen, Mont. 59031; (406) 638-2135.

At Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument, the focus of events will be recalling not only the battle but also the spirit of peace, unity and friendship, its superintendent, Gerard A. Baker, said. Admission is free. Events include a prayer for world peace at 7 a.m. June 25, a victory march by the Cheyenne Indians and a Lakota peace-pipe ceremony. Information: Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument, Post Office Box 39, Crow Agency, Mont. 59022; (406) 638-2621.

I will be in Japan in May. How do I get tickets to a professional baseball game in Tokyo?

The hottest baseball ticket in Tokyo is to a Yomiuri Giant game at the Tokyo Dome. Tickets go on sale a month in advance and are sold out in a day; the season, by the way, runs from April to November. A ticket for a Giant game at the 50,000-seat Tokyo Dome is $19.50 to $49 in the infield and $17 in the bleachers, at 118 yen to the dollar. Because communication may prove a problem, your best bet may be to ask a hotel clerk or travel agent to get a ticket for you. If a less popular Tokyo team suits you, then you have a choice between the Nippon Ham Fighters, who are also based at the Tokyo Dome, and the Yakulto Swallows, based at the 40,000-seat Jingu Stadium, in the Meiji Jingu Outer Garden Park.

Another way to get tickets is to write or call the Japan Travel Bureau, 810 Seventh Ave., New York, N.Y. 10019; (800) 235-3523 or (212) 698-4900. It can try to get you a ticket for a 10 percent service fee.

Tickets to Ham Fighter and Yakulto Swallow games may be bought over the phone or at the stadium on the day of the game.

Pub Date: 3/02/97

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