Cockfighting was introduced in Hawaii by Filipino immigrants during the early 1900s and was a regular Sunday event in Kauai in the 1960s.
At least 200 gamblers and spectators gathered at Kumukumu Camp to witness the weekend cockfights. Other popular cockfighting locales during that time included Hanalei Valley, Anahola Bridge, Kapaa’s Waiakea Canal, Keapana Valley, McBryde Camp 7 and Kekaha.
It wasn’t illegal in the United States back then. But the owners whose chickens were fighting could be charged with cruelty to animals or gambling offenses.
A known advocate of stiffer cockfighting laws during those years was Kauai Police Chief Edwin Crowell.
Louie Gonsalves, then a Board of Supervisors member, had a different view.
“I’m much in favor of legalizing chicken fights. I’d rather see 500 to 1,000 people at the fights than in a bar creating a disturbance. The fights are like a picnic to them. They aren’t disturbing anyone,” Gonsalves said.
Taking the middle ground was County Prosecutor and future Kauai Mayor Eduardo Malapit.
“Sure, legalize chicken fights. They are no worse than putting two men in a boxing ring or 22 men on a football field. I condone cockfighting, but gambling is something else,” Malapit said.