A state senator has a plan for saving Oklahoma's gamefowl industry now that cockfighters are legally prohibited from pitting birds fitted with razor-like spurs `against each other`. State Sen. Frank Shurden, a longtime defender of cockfighting, is suggesting that roosters be given little boxing gloves so they can fight without bloodshed. "Who's going to object to chickens fighting like humans do? Everybody wins," Shurden said. myway.com, Jan. 27, 2005
From Sports Illustrated, Dec. 28, 2011:
The world of cockfighting lost one of its leading lights last week, when tragic circumstances claimed the life of a rooster whose name is practically synonymous with the sport. As a tribute to his memory, here is a definitive timeline of major moments in the triumphant and troubled life of heavyweight champion Tyson Parts.
Aug. 30, 2004 Parts is born on a free-range farm outside Tulsa. From his first day on Earth, his existence is one of abject poverty and intense loneliness. In the years to come, Parts will tell sports reporters that being raised not knowing his mother or father had a devastating effect on his social development. While factually correct, the severity of this claim is to be challenged by several of the cockfighter's unofficial biographers. They will accuse Parts of intentionally downplaying the nurturing influence of farmer Jim Hutchinson and his wife, Clara, who were reportedly mighty generous with the millet.
March 2005 While thrashing a rival rooster in an all-too-typical dispute over barnyard pecking order, Parts is spotted by Gus D'Agostino, a vacationing boxing trainer who is always on the lookout for fresh, corn-fed talent. D'Agostino approaches Parts and volunteers to mold him into the "biggest, baddest wreckin' machine this sport has ever seen." Parts, whose options at that point extend no farther than a starring role in a KFC combo meal, jumps at the offer.
June 2005 D'Agostino becomes Parts' legal guardian. The arrangement allows the trainer to purchase property for his protégé without paying taxes, and to hold him on his lap when they fly together on airplanes, bypassing the cargo-hold arrangement usually mandated for poultry. Late in the year, fate puts a cruel end to the student/mentor relationship when D'Agostino dies suddenly of chicken pox. Parts is not charged as a suspect, but still sinks into a deep depression.
Fall 2006 With the controversial Vince Perdue replacing D'Agostino as his trainer, Parts enjoys a spectacular return to fighting form. On Nov. 22, he knocks out Clayton "Drumstick" Burbidge in the second round, winning the World Gamefowl Commission heavyweight title to become the youngest champion in history.
"When I fight someone, I want to break his will," Parts tells SI in an exclusive interview. "I want to humiliate him. I want to rip out his puny little chicken heart and show it to him."
April 8, 2007 Now a bona fide celebrity, Parts marries actress Penny Henny, a glamorous supporting presence in the best-selling Mother Goose Rhymes series of children's DVDs. The marriage is short-lived, collapsing amid Henny's public claims that Parts is as prone to violence outside the ring as within. Parts endears himself to neither women's groups nor animal-rights organizations when he countercharges that he was "too much cock for that **** to handle."
Sept. 19, 2007 Parts retains his heavyweight title and cements his reputation for lightning-quick TKOs by sending challenger Nick "Turkey Neck" Delucca hurtling to the mat with a viciously aimed right cross while Delucca is still lacing up his tiny little sneakers.
Feb. 3, 2008 The announcement that Parts will judge the swimsuit portion of a livestock competition gets commentators' tongues clucking. "It's kind of like letting the fox guard the henhouse," says ESPN-7's Terry Greenjeans. "In fact, except for the part about him being a rooster and not a fox, it's exactly like that."
The contest's winner will later claim that Parts took advantage of her in the back of a flatbed truck after the fair. A paternity suit she files against the champ is thrown out when it is discovered that Exhibit A was beaten into a Spanish omelet before DNA tests could be performed.
Oct. 12, 2008 Parts knocks out up-and-comer Hector Leghorn by blowing on his face really hard four minutes before the bell rings.
Spring 2009 The sports pages are filled with news and gossip about Parts' messy split from longtime handler Perdue. "I gave everything I had to that kid, and he's just turned around and crapped all over my front yard," Perdue says. "Metaphorically speaking." Parts alleges that Perdue failed to earn him the big-figure purses to which he was entitled, and that he is getting too old to go on risking his life for "chicken feed."
Late 2009 Parts' behavior becomes increasingly erratic, even by his standards. In August, shocked officials have to put a stop to a title fight when he goes on a rampage against "Breaded" Leon Brown, thrusting his beak into the side of Brown's head over and over in a bizarre but curiously ineffectual assault. Parts later explains that he was attempting to bite Brown's ear but was experiencing unexpected difficulty locating the appendage. He is stripped of his title, barred from the sport for 18 months and forced to perform 100 hours of community service reading Aesop's fables to the underprivileged.
Jan. 28, 2010 In a rambling sit-down with an SI writer, Parts blames everyone but himself for his troubles. "I am not a rooster. I am a monster. I am what you made me," he tells the world at large. He heaps particular scorn upon the state of Oklahoma, which he says has consigned him to a life of perpetual terror by denying him the right to defend himself in the ring via the wearing of razor-sharp spurs. "All I have is these dinky boxing gloves," Parts bemoans conveniently forgetting that his left wing alone outweighs the next-largest cockfighter's entire body by a good 23 pounds.
2011 His exile over, Parts attempts a comeback. But thanks to an increasingly decadent lifestyle (rumors of tryptophan abuse are rampant), he returns to the ring a pale shadow of his former self. All fights end in humiliating defeats. Neighbors report that Parts is acting strangely, prowling the grounds of his mansion and waking them in the dead of night with mournful cries of "The sky is falling! The sky is falling!"
On Christmas Eve, Parts is found dead in his home, the victim of an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound to the gizzard. Former State Sen. Frank Shurden, recently released from a federal penitentiary on charges of greyhound abuse, delivers the eulogy at Parts' funeral.
"He ruffled some feathers, but he could open up a can of whup-ass like it was Campbell's Chicken Noodle," Shurden says. "And who's going to object to that?" Fellow mourners detect a gleam in his eye as he dons a plaid bib, scrapes a fork and knife together and whispers, "Everybody wins." Somewhere in the distance, an oven timer buzzes.
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