Curtis Blackwell

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Curtis Blackwell

Date of Birth:
Date of Death:
Place of Birth:
Known For: Bumblefoot Grey

Mr. Curtis

By James M. White

I have been visiting a lot in the last few weeks, trying to garner support for the new association and just visiting in general. I’ve met some of the finest people in the world through gamefowl.

I would like to say just a few words about one of the pure class people in our ranks –Mr. Curtis Blackwell—his name stands out as one of the greatest of all time in our sport, both as a competitor and as a gentleman.

My wife and I, along with Johnny Price and his lovely wife, Donna, spent most Sunday afternoon with Mr. Curtis. We found him sitting out at the farm on a picnic table with his pet goat. He said all the dogs had gotten run over, but the goat had survived.

We started talking about his love for gamefowl and he stated it began at an early age. He said Uncle Roy Greer took him under his wing and showed him all he knew about conditioning.

Once he said he received a phone call from a rich man in Montgomery, I believe. The man wanted Curtis to train a show of his cocks for a main. Mr. Curtis told the man he wouldn’t come for less than $25.00, feeling this was a lot of money. The man promised $50.00 if he won the main. Mr. Curtis said he didn’t have a cent for bus fare. He borrowed $5.00 from a friend who ran a shoe shop. The bus ticket was $4.40. He said he stepped off the bus in Montgomery holding on to his 60 cents. He was taken to the man’s house, complete with servants. The first night he dined with the man and his family, at the table, Mr. Curtis said every time he swallowed he knew everyone in the room heard him. From that time on he requested his meals in his room.

He won the main and was paid his $50.00. He said when he returned to Jasper he thought he was the richest person in the world.

He worked for Murphy for three months in New York, but was never comfortable there so he came back home.

He fought with Harold Brown and Dick Kleberg of the King Ranch for a few years.

He stated he owed more to Bubba Jordan than anyone else in his life, because Bubba taught him about business as well as being a great friend.

I’ve never been around anyone more gracious or humble than Mr. Curtis. I asked him who he thought had the best fowl he ever saw and he quickly answered, “Mr. Kelso”. He said Mr. Kelso was a class person. Once, while fighting at Sunset (there were 8 entries) he met Mr. Kelso for both of their money fights. He said he brained Mr. Kelso’s cock and he flew out of the pit. Gilbert Courtois was handling Mr. Kelso’s cock and was in no hurry bringing him back into the pit. By the time he finally returned Henry Wortham, the referee, had counted him completely out. Mr. Kelso was furious and challenged anyone with the same cock that had been counted out. His challenge was for $100.00 or $1,000.00. Mr. Curtis said “Mr. Kelso, I’m going to have to accept that challenge and it will be for $1,000.00. Mr. Curtis won with little trouble. The next month at Oaklawn Mr. Kelso came to Curtis smiling and said, “Young man, I’m not going to get that mad again.”

Mr. Curtis is a national treasure to gamefowl people. If I were to pattern myself after anyone, Mr. Curtis would be right at the top of the list. He says he has been blessed so many times in so many ways. Mr. Curtis, all cockers who have come in contact with you have certainly been blessed and I, for one, count it a privilege to be considered a friend.

(taken from The Gamecock Magazine, November 1988, page 125)

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