G&S Nov 1994
Interview with Duke Hulsey
Joe Mac: Mr. Hulsey, this is Joe Mac from Grit and Steel, how are you?
Duke: Pretty good. I know I have slowed up somehow. My wife and I are moving to Florida. Carlos Mendez is going to do the farm now. I'm going to help him with the brood pens and everything though.
Joe Mac: I guess you are like everybody else, you need to retire too?
Duke: Yes, everything is winding down now.
Joe Mac: First of all, I would like to tell you what an honor it is to talk to you and tell you how much I appreciate what all you have done for me and for the game rooster and I just want to let you know I really appreciate you.
Duke: Well, it has been fun to me, too.
Joe Mac: Mr Hulsey, when was the first time you saw a rooster fight, or how did you get started with it?
Duke: I got started with it while living in Fort Worth and a fellow across the alley from me was a chicken fighter and one day I saw some cars over there and I knew what they were doing. I went over there and right away they were going to run me away. I told them that if I was going to leave, I was going to call the police so I was a member right away then. So from then on, when he went to the fights, he took me with him.
Joe Mac: Well, who was this?
Duke: His name was Essie Green.
Joe Mac: How old were you at the time when you saw your fight rooster fight?
Duke: About 9 or 10 years old.
Joe Mac: Did you train with Mr. Green or who did you start training with?
Duke: The first person I went with was Joe Bolin in Fort Worth and from there I went with H. H. Moore.
Joe Mac: Which chicken did Mr. Moore have?
Duke: He had Clarets and odds and ends, not too much of anything, but he fought chickens a long tiime. I stayed there for about 8 weeks. He was really though. I went up to him at a fight, he had fought a main and lost it and I said the next time you are going to put a main, I'd like to come and help you. He said you would be like all the rest, you wouldn't be there a week until you would be telling me what to do. I told him no. I wouldn't be like that.
He let me know when to be there and I helped him for about 8 weeks. After this time , I wanted to leave and show somebody else what I have learned. He didn't like it but he gave me about 6 or 8 roosters and I loaded them in the Ford Roadster and I tooke those rooster back to Fort Worth and trained them and got them ready. I was working different shifts and Saturday was pay day and everybody would always gather up and go to fights. This one man wanted to fight one of his and I told him that I could whipped him easy. I did and ended up whipping about everthing he had. On his walk ropes and pens. I fought the second rooster and he got rattled and come back and beat him easy and he looked at me and said "you son of a bitch, you got trained roosters". I told him I didn't know what training was. So that Monday when I went to work, I had a pink slip in my box saying I was through. See, he was my boss. That was the best break I got. Then I went with Jack Walden for about a year and we made pretty good money.
Then I went to Madigan and asked if he would let me come and work for him. He said he would give me a call. Back then, you didn't give a call, it was always a letter. He wrote me this letter and when he started the letter, he would always give you some type of title. I went and fought with him for 3 years. When I quit , he walked me to the gate and told me I shouldn't quit him in the middle of the season. When he got real mad, his jaws would start poping, and his teeth would pop. So, we went to the backgate to go through and he says "Duke" you are the best man I have ever seen when you go up stairs ( that was where his cockhouse was) but when you come down, you are the sorriest one I have ever seen". He was wanting me to do carpenter work and other things and I wouldn't do it.