July 4, 2017
You are reading “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.
Today’s story is about a unique sports event that took place in Junction City on July 4, 1921 and at the same time in Jersey City, New Jersey. There was a big fight between two boxers. Their names were Dempsey and Carpenter. A large scale fight party was arranged by the “Daily Union” newspaper. An 18 foot arena, which was the same size as the actual ring the fighters would use in New Jersey, was erected in the front of the newspaper office at 108 W. Eighth Street. A direct telegraph line was installed to Kansas City. Two boxers representing Dempsey and Carpenter were to reenact the blow by blow account of the actual fight in New Jersey, but do it in Junction City as the information was received by way of the telegraph line and relayed to the boxers by Doc Reid, a local boxing enthusiast and trainer. The blows would be as fast as Doc Reid could read and pass on the information. In the case of a knockout, the blow by blow report and demonstration was to be stopped long enough to tell the crowd that the fight had been won. Then the blows leading up to the victory would be shown by the actors in a kind of instant replay. A special bulletin board was erected in front of the Central National Bank on which the returns from the big fight would be posted.
Long before television a large crowd in Junction City was able to celebrate the 4th of July by seeing how Jack Dempsey won the big fight….. well sort of.