Champion, "Dud" (Unknown - May 17, 1830)


"Dud" Champion Goes Gunning for "Whitecaps," and is shot.

Bill Barlows Budget - May 24, 1830

Another "bad" man gone hence with his boots on, and another violent death added to the list of fatalities attending the memorable excursion of Wyoming cattlemen into Johnson county last spring in quest of cattle thieves.

Mike Shonsey, foreman, of the 77 ranch situated about seventy miles south-west of Douglas, rode into town at an early hour yesterday morning and surrendered himself to Deputy Sheriff Allen, stating that he had killed "Dud" Champion near his ranch, Monday night, in self-defense. Champion was a brother of Nate Champion who, together with Nick Ray, were killed by the cattlemen who went gunning for rustlers in Johnson county last spring, and Shonsey was a prominent member of the invading party. A week ago Champion was discovered in ambush near the Ogallala ranch by two cowboys, who found him lying in a gulch beside his horse asleep, and with Winchester and six-shooter by his side. He questioned the cowboys closely as to the whereabouts of W.C. Irvine-manager of the ranch and also one of the invaders: admitted his identity and hinted that he would "get" some of the regulators before he was many days older. He stopped at a road ranch in that section Sunday night, where he made similar threats, and rode away toward Cheyenne river next morning. Monday night about sundown Shonsey sat on his horse talking to the foreman of a Texas trail herd whose outfit was camped near his ranch, when Champion rode up and stopped within ten feet of him. Champion had taken his pistol from the scabbard and placed it inside his pantaloons, in front, and as he approached Shonsey he grasped the gun with his right hand. Shonsey recognized him as he stopped, and said: "Champion, is it true that you threatened to kill me on sight?"
"I never said no such d___d thing" replied Champion, but as he died so he pulled his gun as though to shoot. He was not quick enough. Shonsey had reached for his weapon as soon as he saw Champion make a similar move, and Champion fell from his horse shot through the body. Shonsey sprang from his horse and ran into a washout a few feet away. Champion lay upon the ground, holding his gun in both hands and evidently straining every nerve to to get in a position to shoot his man. Seeing that he was still in danger Shonsey fired another shot which finished his opponent; caught his horse and rode to the ranch. Soon afterward he set out for Douglas alone, and rode to the ranch. Soon afterward he set out for Douglas alone, and covered the seventy miles during the night. He declines to talk about the affair other than to say that he shot in self-defense and that had he hesitated even an instant he would certainly have suffered the the fate of the man who had attacked him.

County Attorney Maurer went down to Lusk yesterday, and the body was brought in last night, together with the witness who saw the shooting. Coroner Louger will hold the inquest today. Sheriff Virden came in from a western trip last night, and will go to Lusk today to inquire into the case. The hearing will probably take place on Saturday.

Champion bore the reputation of a dangerous man, and about two years ago, when in Douglas, hunted the town over with gun in hand looking for John Lawrence whom he swore he would kill. He did not find Lawrence, but came near killing Marshal Rouse when the officer arrested him. He has two brothers living in Johnson county one of whom is now enroute for Lusk.

Mrs. Shonsey came in from the 77 ranch last night, via Lusk and is stopping with friends in the city.

LUSK, WYO., May 24, 1:50 p.m.

The coroner's jury have just brought in a verdict. They find that Shonsey killed Champion in self-defense, and that he was fully justified in the act.
C.F. Maurer


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