Rat Baiting in Kansas, 1893: a local entertainment
The Kansas City Star reported on a rat-killing contest in Junction City, Kansas, at Albo Miller's rat pit. Six dogs were entered, each to face twenty-five rats. Charles C. Arthur's "Dude" won first prize, killing the rodents "in good style" in two minutes, fifteen seconds. Several matches followed, "upwards of 300 rats being destroyed." There are, added the Star report, "plenty of rats in that vicinity and weekly tournaments will be held as long as the supply of rodents holds out."
The winning owner, Mr. Arthur, offered to wager "Dude" against any Kansas City dog for "a reasonable amount," but the victorious Dude does not appear in the story in the Kansas City Times (January 3, 1893, p. 5,) describing a later gathering of "nearly 100 well known local sports" at the "rat pit in Albo Miller's boxing school" to witness a tournament between "four bull pups."
The winning dog, "Crib," owned by "the two Johns", won $20 for his owner, killing all twenty-five rats in "the good time of two minutes and sixteen seconds." Wagering was intense. F. Newcomb's "Buckshot" took four minutes, twenty-two and a half seconds to dispose of the rat horde. Not fast enough: his owner lost $100 -- over $2000 in 2012 money -- in a bet against Fred Allen's "Snow," who required only 2'51".
A later story in the Kansas City Mail (February 7, 1893, p. 1) reported that the two victors, "Dude" and "Crib," were to meet for a contest that evening. No report of the outcome appears, however. Perhaps Junction City had run out of rats.
Albo Miller was a busy man. In addition to maintaining a rat pit and boxing school, he owned a store that advertised itself as "the only exclusive men's shoe store in the city."
February 17, 2012