AR-News: Big Talking Cockfighters Turn Tail and Run in Cotton County, OK

Political Animal politicalanimal13 at
Sun Apr 18 11:16:18 EDT 2004

The night before the big event that is reported on in
several articles below, cockfighter Bobby Jones issued
an email statement about how they were going to make
history on Saturday with their defiance of the
cockfighting ban.  He waxed on about tyranny, and the
founding fathers defiance of oppression.  I guess he
was just blowing hot air.

Saturday, April 17, 2004
Today was supposed to be Mike Turner`s opportunity to
challenge Oklahoma`s ban on cockfights by staging one
on land he says is protected under tribal sovereignty.
Saturday morning he was greeted by a long-line of
Cotton County law officials. Sheriff Paul Jeffrey and
nearly 20 other deputies spent the morning just
waiting for the feathers to fly. The birds never
arrived... instead a small group gathered inside. Don
Davis raised and fought roosters for more than 30
years and he says the state is taking away the
livelihood of many rural communities. Jay Sabatucci
with the humane society says he takes offense to any
cockfighter saying they love their animals. He says
cockfighting is nothing more than a barbaric sport.
It`s a statement Turner says he is ludicrous and he
says if the only way to settle this issue is to take
his case to the federal courts, then that`s a venture
he`s willing to take. Because no roosters arrived
today.. There were no arrests.





Law enforcement presence prevents cockfighting event 
By Ron Jackson
Staff Writer

RANDLETT — A legal showdown between cockfighting
promoters and law enforcement officers never
materialized Saturday morning, because no one brought
any gamecocks or fighting paraphernalia to the
scheduled event in Cotton County. 
Organizers promised to stage cockfights “at high noon”
at the Hill Top Cultural Center near Randlett to test
the new Oklahoma law that bans cockfighting. Promoters
planned to hold the fights regardless of the legal
consequences, arguing they were protected under the
legal umbrella of American Indian sovereignty — or,
specifically, the Kiowa Association for Preservation
of Cultural and Rural Lifestyles. 

But the presence of about two dozen law officers
across the highway on public land may have presented
too great a risk for prospective participants. Mike
Turner, director of the Kiowa Association for
Preservation of Cultural and Rural Lifestyles,
certainly thinks so. 

“If someone shows up with birds, we’ll hold the
fights,” Turner told The Oklahoman. “For us, this is
our last stand for our rights — our cultural rights.
But I think they have scared a lot of people away.
They present a pretty menacing picture out there.” 

Cotton County Sheriff Paul Jeffrey, who brought 20
deputies and reservists, wanted it that way. Federal
agents from the United States Department of
Agriculture were also on hand by 8 a.m., armed with
handguns, bullet-proof vests, plastic flex cuffs and a
search warrant already signed by Associate District
Judge Leo Watson Jr. 

“This is definitely a victory,” Jeffrey said. “We got
the point across that if you are going to hold a
cockfight, you will be shut down. A lot of people
passed by here today, slowed up and drove away —
people who probably intended to go to the cockfights. 

“These people were obviously testing the ice to see
what they could do.” 

Turner, a Kiowa tribal member, says the cockfighting
arena is on traditional Indian land. But the property
is listed on the Cotton County tax rolls, Jeffrey

Promoters parlayed the nonevent into a public
relations cue by explaining their position and showing
off their newly refurbished fighting pits to
reporters. The 650-seat arena was anchored by a
12-foot high cage of chicken wire, complete with two
adjoining pens, freshly raked dirt floors and dangling
chicken feathers from previous fights. 

One source said the center’s owners — cockfighting
enthusiasts Frank Myers, Bobby Jones and Terry Hancock
— spent more than $88,000 to buy the property two
months ago. 

Myers remains convinced it was money well spent and
said 40 cockfighters were registered last weekend
alone for future fights. 

“Shortly after we purchased the property, we entered
into a lease agreement with Mike Turner and his Kiowa
organization,” Myers said. “We thought — and still do
think — his legal explanations are correct. My intent
is to fight (gamecocks) here legally under Kiowa laws,
which go above and beyond state law.” 

State Attorney General Drew Edmondson has said such an
interpretation would be a mistake, stating in November
2002 that Turner’s attempt to create a “safe haven”
for cockfighting on American Indian land is illegal.
Cockfighting, or even the possession of cockfighting
paraphernalia or gamecocks, is a felony punishable by
up to 10 years in prison or a $25,000 fine. 



Police, feds stake out potential fowl fighting venue 
By Jessica Langdon/Times Record News
April 18, 2004 

COTTON COUNTY, Okla. - Cotton County sheriff's
deputies and federal agents were ready for a showdown
at high noon Saturday near Randlett. 

About a dozen patrol cars stretched across the road.
Officers closely watched a big barn - an old bingo
hall - where a controversial cockfighting event was
set to start. 

On the other side of Oklahoma Highway 36, rooster
fighters and supporters gathered in the building,
saying they had a right to meet - and to hold this
type of event on American Indian land. 

The Kiowa Association for the Preservation of Cultural
and Rural Lifestyles planned and publicized it. The
group refused to cancel it when members met with
Cotton County Sheriff Paul Jeffrey Friday. 

Cockfighting is illegal at the state level, Kiowa
Association director Mike Turner said. But at the
tribal level, there's no law against it. 

But Jeffrey said for now, officers would shut down any
cockfighting event - because he hasn't seen any proof
that it's legal there, or anywhere. He said the land
is on the county's books as private land, not trust

"So we went ahead and did our job today." 

No arrests resulted. The association believed the
heavy law enforcement turnout kept people away.
Cockfighting enthusiasts said word of mouth kept them
away, but they drove by to see what happened. 

Oklahoma voters decided in 2002 to ban cockfighting.
The Oklahoma Supreme Court upheld the ban in March. 

"It's illegal to fight them," Jeffrey said, "or to
transport them." And a felony conviction can slap
violators with a $25,000 fine and up to 10 years in
prison. He said federal agents - including U.S.
Department of Agriculture representatives - stood by
Saturday because taking game fowl across state lines
is a federal crime. 

Members of the Kiowa Association called the intense
lineup of officers a waste of time and money. Rooster
fighter Mike Hancock snapped pictures of the scene
across the street with his digital camera and planned
to post them on the Internet. 

Fighter Don Davis said there were other crimes that
needed more attention than Saturday's meeting. 

But the sheriff didn't know what the scene would look
like Saturday morning, "or what mentality we'd have"
if a large crowd showed up. 

Officers camped out for hours, ready to step in and
make arrests if someone brought in game fowl to fight.
The Humane Society of the United States sent
representatives to support them. 

Turner said he understood law enforcement officers
were doing their job but was upset by the Humane
Society's presence. 

"They have no business out there," he said. He said
his group was fighting to protect tribal as well as
non-Indian rights. 

"It's about people control," Hancock said, "has
nothing to do with the chickens." 

"I'll fight it with might and means in the federal
courts," Turner said. 

Jay Sabatucci with the Humane Society said he was glad
to see officers and the state taking the law

He called cockfighting a violent crime and described
it as "strapping them up with knives to their legs,
letting them attack each other and throwing them away
with beer bottles." 

"Nice people don't do that," he said. 

But rooster fighter Mike Hancock said working with the
chickens becomes a way of life, and there's a lot more
to it than the fighting - and some of the best people
he's met are involved. 

"It's a gentleman's sport," he said. 

Davis said no one has ever been forced to go to a
fight, and the areas - especially in rural counties -
that want to have them should be allowed. 

"This is our last stand," Turner said. "This is about
our sovereignty, our rural rights, and I think the
world should get behind us and stop this cruel and
unusual punishment of turning us into felony

"We're sworn to uphold the laws of the state," Jeffrey
said. "They're going to a pretty large extreme when
it's a felony to have one of these shows." 

Turner said Saturday's stakeout likely won't be the

Crime reporter Jessica Langdon can be reached at (940)
763-7530 or by email at




With Officers Waiting To Make Arrests, Planned
Cockfight Canceled  
Saturday April 17, 2004 11:53pm 
Randlett (AP) - With dozens off law enforcement
officers waiting to make arrests, a cockfight planned
in southern Oklahoma today never happened.

Organizers had planned the cockfight despite state
laws banning the blood sport. They originally said
they didn't care if they were arrested as long as it
got the issue into a federal court.

But officers never had anyone to arrest. No fights
took place and there were no chickens to be found.

Organizers and supporters showed up anyway, but none
of the 40 people licensed to compete in the event

Oklahomans voted to ban cockfighting in 2002, and the
state Supreme Court upheld the ban last month. 



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