Sad news today out of Montana, where Leland Rock Sr., known to many as Crazy Horse, died Sunday of natural causes.
Rock played Crazy Horse for decades during the Battle of the Little Bighorn reenactment. Organizers say the aannual event won’t be the same without him.
Susan Olp of the Billings Gazette has the story:
Leland Rock Sr., a longtime actor in the Custer’s Last Stand Re-enactment in Hardin, died Sunday.
Rock, 56, who portrayed Crazy Horse for more than 20 years in the annual re-enactment of the Battle of the Little Bighorn, died at home in Hardin of natural causes. Services are scheduled for Thursday at 10 a.m. at Our Lady of Loretto Catholic Church in Lodge Grass.
Dressed in warrior garb and a headdress, he is well known to people familiar with the re-enactment.
“In any brochures for the re-enactments, he’s the Indian on the brochure,” said Laurie Tschetter, of Hardin. “He was the face of Native Americans for the re-enactment.”
Rock, who also enjoyed Indian relays, was at ease riding bareback during the performance, Tschetter said.
“He’d been riding bareback so many years, it was second nature,” she said.
Portraying Crazy Horse wasn’t his first performing role. According to the re-enactment’s website, Rock had a part in the movie “Little Big Man” when he was 14. He also appeared in documentaries about the Battle of the Little Bighorn on the BBC and A&E networks.
Betty Sader, re-enactment secretary with the Hardin Chamber of Commerce, said Rock took the part very seriously.
“And he was so proud to do it, playing that part, that was his life,” she said. “And most of his children and grandchildren played parts.”
Sader said Rock’s son, Leland Rock Jr., will assume the role of Crazy Horse this year, Sader said. The re-enactment is scheduled for June 22-24 just outside the town of Hardin.
Sader said a few moments will be set aside during the 1:30 p.m. show on June 24 to remember Rock.
“He’s been a tremendous asset to the entire performance, and he will be missed,” Sader said.