Largest Cockfighting Ring in Floyd County Charged
Federal authorities charged three residents from Floyd County for operating one of the country’s most lucrative and largest cockfighting rings.
The Stumbo family, including dad Walter Dale Stumbo, 51, his wife Sonya, 51 and their son Joshua, 25, were charged for conducting cockfights illegally as well as for conspiring to operate an illegal gambling enterprise.
Their cockfighting pit was run at the Big Blue Sportsmen’s Club in McDowell and it featured laminated membership cards, a full restaurant and even arena-style seating.
Investigators worked undercover for over a year and witnessed vehicles from as far as Maryland, Illinois and Michigan visiting the Big Blue for the cockfighting events.
According to Stan Wojtkonski, who is an investigator for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, these cockfights, which left birds bleeding or dead, were also watched by children and hundreds of people.
According to Mrs. Stumbo, the club had over 6,000 memberships and they held over 30 events during the year including a ‘World Cup’ as well as a Kentucky state championship.
The Stumbo family made money by charging bird owners thousands of dollars to enter and according to investigators, they pocketed over $1 million dollars annually. It was alleged that entrance fees at Big Blue were $250 per entry with approximately 100 total entries per derby.
Thanks to this case, the issue of cockfighting in Kentucky has now been raised again in the U.S. Senate race. According to Walter Stumbo, members of the Kentucky government such as Alison Lundergan Grimes were in fact working to get the federal law changed in favor of legalizing cockfighting in the area.
The arrested Stumbo family will be pleading not guilty as they feel that their actions had nothing to do with gambling.