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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

100 years ago in Spokane: Illegal cockfighting discovered in secluded spots outside the city

On this day 100 years ago, the Spokane Daily Chronicle reported on secret, illegal cockfights that were occurring in secluded areas outside of town.  (S-R archives)
By Jim Kershner The Spokesman-Review

Illegal cockfights were being held every second Sunday in Spokane, according to a shocking investigation by the Spokane Daily Chronicle.

The paper reported that “true Mexican fighting cocks” had been shipped into the city under the guise of being “show birds.”

“These have been used in the orgies, where large numbers of sporting men of the city have watched them do battle to the death, placing money on the outcome of the fights.”

The birds were harbored and trained in a large downtown storeroom. The fights were held in secluded spots outside the city, including a ranch and a forest opening.

Attendees were apparently carefully screened, and then “conducted to the scenes of the contests by devious courses, which would throw any followers from their trail.”

The paper said that “followers of the tabooed ‘sport’ have been enjoying the pastime in defiance of the law for three years.”

The secret was finally exposed by happenstance.

“When a gamecock escaped from its master’s pen and got mixed up with the chickens of a neighbor, the story of the fights finally leaked out,” said the Chronicle.

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