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Jim Kershner’s this day in history

From our archives, 100 years ago

The Frontier Days rodeo in Walla Walla featured an unusual attraction: a bear-roping event.

A local man had captured a “big cinnamon bear” in the nearby mountains and “brought it home to train his bear dogs.” The bear would be turned loose in the central rodeo enclosure while cowboys tried to subdue it.

“Roping the bear will not be brutal, but will be exciting,” said the secretary of the rodeo. “The cowboys will have to look alive or they will be caught, as the bear has a bad temper.”

No doubt.

Also from the bear file: A rancher near the headwaters of Swift Creek, near the North Fork of the Clearwater River in Idaho, was looking after his cattle when he saw a pheasant that “seemed distressed.”

He looked around and saw a large black bear, about to eat the eggs from the pheasant’s nest.

He fired a shot at the bear and the animal dropped. But the bear was not dead.

It jumped up and charged “with fury.” The rancher managed to get a second shot off, just in time. This just made the bear “more angry than ever.”

The rancher fired six shots in all before the bear succumbed. The bear weighed between 250 and 300 pounds.