Millie and Billy, Together Again on June 25
Silver City's most infamous outlaw and madam will be teaming up—at least in spirit—once again on June 25 for the Millie & Billy Ball. This second annual celebration of "how the West was fun" will be another fundraiser for the Mimbres Region Arts Council, recently honored for the third consecutive year as New Mexico's top local arts organization.
Billy the Kid, of course, grew up and attended school in Silver City before blazing a bloody trail across New Mexico. His early years are chronicled in a newly published history of the Old West days of Silver City and Southwest New Mexico, Six-Guns and Single-Jacks, by noted Western history author Bob Alexander ($21.95 paperback, $34.95 hardcover, Gila Books, visit or order at www.gilabooks.com). "Billy" (aka Henry Antrim) strikes his famous pose on the new book's cover, along with the legendary Apache, Geronimo. (See story in this issue.)
The equally colorful story of Madam Millie, actually Mildred Clark Cusey, was told in a book by New Mexico author Max Evans, Madam Millie: Bordellos from Silver City to Ketchikan (University of New Mexico Press, $24.95). After moving west to waitress as a Harvey Girl in the 1920s, Millie began supplementing her income as a prostitute. That led to a career as "Silver City Millie," one of the most successful madams in the entire Southwest.
Attendees at the Millie & Billy Ball are invited to dress up in period garb—either the 1870s and 1880s for Billy or the 1920s on up to the 1970s in honor of Millie. Prizes will go to the best costumes in various categories as selected by votes ($1 each—ballot-box stuffing allowed!) from attendees. You'll also have the opportunity to have your photo taken with "Millie," "Billy" or both by local photographers George and Melinda Austin of Silver Imaging.
The $100 tickets for the ball include admission for two, barbecue dinner for two, and a raffle chance at a $10,000 cash prize representing the "reward" for Billy the Kid's capture. A limited number of non-raffle admission tickets will also be sold for $25 per person.
Music will be provided by South by Southwest, a Western swing band from Taos that was a big hit at last year's inaugural Millie & Billy Ball. There will be a "no-host" bar with beer, wine and non-alcoholic beverages for purchase.
The ball moves to a new venue this year, at the Flame Center, 2800 Pinos Altos Road in Silver City. The whole shebang kicks off at 7 p.m., and the cowpokes, owlhoots, fallen angels and other attendees will be dancing until midnight.
For tickets and information, contact the arts council at 1201 Pope St., 538-2505/(888) 758-7289, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.mimbresarts.org.