Dubbed “The Fight That Won’t Stay Dead,” the Champions Park Committee and City of Shelby are diligently working to bring history alive by completing Champions Park, which commemorates the infamous Dempsey-Gibbons World Heavyweight Championship fight held in Shelby on July 4, 1923.
Champions Park is an outdoor interpretive museum, which features a smaller scale version of the original arena with a full size ring holding life-size iron silhouettes of Jack Dempsey, Tommy Gibbons and the referee. Six interpretive signs voice the story of the events leading up to the infamous day, including “The Set Up,” “The Money,” “The Fighters,” “The Main Event” and “The Con.” In addition, four heritage signs tell the story of homesteading on the HiLine, the coming of the railroad, the discovery of oil and the infamous fight.
Original plans for the park included donor bricks and stones to finance development. Fortunately, grant funding and commitment of the City and Champions Park Committee moved construction to this point, with just the lighting and monument sign to be completed. Generous donors who committed funds for a brick or stone have not been forgotten. The City and Champions Park Committee are now working with Eagle Scout candidate, Kaden Haight, in the creation of a monument sign for Champions Park, using the donor bricks and heritage stones, but we hope to include many more donor bricks and heritage stones. If you would like to donate to Champions Park personalized bricks are available for purchase. In addition, personalized fieldstones can also be purchased, with all donations going to complete the park.
Kaden would like to begin his Eagle Scout project in early spring, so a deadline of December 30, 2019, has been set to make a commitment to Champions Park and order a brick or stone. To honor a special person or loved one, recognize your farming/ranching operation or preserve your family’s name in history, please call Lorette Carter at (406) 434-5222, or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The legend of Shelby, Montana, lives on in Champions Park commemorating the 1923 fight, the historical events leading to the fight and the fortitude and strength in the survival of the community. Please help bring Champions Park to life with the purchase of a donor brick or heritage stone.