Little Bighorn Associates Conference 2005
Rapid City, South Dakota

LBHA 2005 Pictures

This year's conference of the Little Bighorn Associates was held in Rapid City, South Dakota from June 30 - July 2, 2005.  The hotel headquarters was the Best Western Ramkota Inn.

The agenda included field trips to Custer related sites in the Black Hills.  On Thursday we went to Ft. Meade in Sturgis.  The 7th Cavalry was stationed here after the Battle of Little Bighorn.  They have a pretty decent museum there and that day had a special display of artifacts from the Battle of Slim Buttes.  There was also a walking tour of the fort which included the house of Major Marcus Reno.  After Meade, we headed to the Journey Museum in Rapid City.  Here we ate lunch and did the tour.  In addition to having lots of  South Dakota artifacts, they also have an almost complete collection of the stereoview photos from the 1874 Custer expedition.  Then it was back to the hotel.  That evening, Paul Horsted gave a talk on the 1874 expedition into the Black Hills.  This was a type of preview of what was on the agenda for Friday.

On Friday morning the tour buses headed out and made their way to the Castle Creek campsite of the Custer expedition.  Here we were able to take photos of the camp area and from one of the actual Illingworth photo sites.  The book Exploring With Custer lists the campsites of the expedition as well as diary entries from the soldiers themselves.  The book also features stunning photos from the expedition along with the modern views.  After Castle Creek, it was off to the Heritage Village.  Here was an awesome buffet lunch.  (Noteworthy tip -- don't eat a full turkey dinner at noon in the middle of summer).  After lunch we went east of the town of Custer to the Permanent Camp of the 1874 party.  Here we got off the bus, a storm moved in, we got back on the bus, and it started to hail.  I did manage to shoot a few pictures of this site before we had to leave.  We drove through the town of Custer where the site of an 1874 drinking party was shown to us.  It is in someone's yard now.  If they only knew.  We stopped at Crazy Horse Memorial on the way back to Rapid City.  This place has a very impressive museum, theater, and gift shop.  Highly recommended.  Back at the hotel, it was time to hit the book room at the conference.  More books on Custer and the Indian Wars than you can shake a coup stick at.  I bought my share.  I also bought other person's shares.  None of the dealers accepted credit cards.... Thank God.

Saturday was the seminar day.  We were treated to the following talks:

Custer's 1873 Battles on the Yellowstone by John Lubetkin
Buffalo Bill and the First Scalp for Custer by Paul Hedren
Marcus Reno at Ft. Meade by Ron Nichols
Custer in Fiction by Father Vince Heier

This was followed by a panel discussion with an incredible list of participants: Paul Hutton, Robert Utley, Don Horn, Bill Boyes, and Jerome Greene.  The big names in Custeriana discussing "Custer the Indian Fighter".  What more could you ask for?

This was followed by a social hour and the annual banquet.  (Again, I over ate.  I should try to remember what my Mom used to say about my eyes being bigger than my stomach).  Then one last walk through the book room.  A trip to the hotel bar for cocktails followed.

All in all, it was a great time.  I finally met some of the guys I have been chatting with on the Internet.  That was especially cool.  I also had the pleasure of meeting many of the authors I have been reading over the years.  I bought books, had them signed, took photos, ate great food, drank beer, and generally had a lot of fun.

In 2006 the LBHA will be holding their annual conference in Richmond, VA.  In 2007 it moves back west to North Platte, NE. 

LBHA 2005 Pictures