if you live in Yuma, Ariz., or Pierre, S.D., your chances of attending one of President-elect Ronald Reagan's official inaugural balls are probably better than if you live in the nation's capital.
To attend Yuma's officially sanctioned ball, all you have to do is show up at the Yuma Civic Center on Jan. 20 with $5. "Everyone's invited to our ball," said Yuma Chamber of Commerce manager Jim Bjornstad. "It's going to be a great party."
In Pierre, you have to buy a Reagan/Bush inauguration button for $3.
In Washington, tickets for the public cost $50 and there are only about 400 left at a satellite ball.
Weeks ago, inaugural officials announced that Reagan would invite 40,000 persons, most of them his staunchest supporters, to eight by-invitation-only formal balls and also host a youth gala for about 4,000 others.
Because Reagan wants his inauguration to be a "truly national event," inaugural officials said they also would sponsor dozens of satellite balls across the country. At the cheaper satellite balls, party-goers will see what is happening at Washington's formal balls via closed circuit television sets and dance to the same music playing at the fancy balls.
As of yesterday, the committee had sanctioned 109 official satellite balls in 41 states, including two in the District of Columbia -- at the Madison Hotel and Rayburn House Office Building.
According to the committee, tickets to the D.C. satellite balls will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis at a much cheaper price than the estimated $100 cost of formal ball tickets. Originally, inauguration officials said satellite balls probably would cost $10 per person.
Not so, said Doug Elmets, who along with 20 friends is sponsoring the Madison ball, at $25 a person. "We decided to sponsor this because it was so difficult to get invitations to inaugural balls. That's why we decided to have our own," explained Elmets, an aide to Iowa Sen.-elect Charles Grassley. "We invited 1,200 people and unless you got an invitation, you are not invited."
That means the only ball open to the public here is at the Rayburn building -- a dance sponsored by a group from Maryland. Tickets to that ball, which includes dinner, cost $50 -- or $65 if you want to ride in a limousine from Hilton hotels in Baltimore, Annapolis, or Pikesville to the party. So far, most of the 800 tickets have been sold to residents of Maryland and New Jersey, spokesman Richard Johnson explained, but "District residents can come, too."
News that satellite balls will be held in every state except Colorado, Iowa, Maine, North Dakota, West Virginia, Nevada, New Hampshire, Utah and Vermont surprised some officials. Enid, Okla., was listed, but a community spokesman said the city has scuttled its plans for a satellite ball.
In Lewiston, Idaho, Chamber of Commerce officials were dumbfounded when told their community was sanctioned for a satellite ball. Lewiston's high school band was not invited to march in Reagan's inaugural parade even though it had raised $28,000 and worked a year to make the trip.
"Are you kidding?" a Lewistown official asked. "I haven't heard anything about having a [satellite] ball here and I don't know anyone who'd want to go now."