Story by Sue TL Fox
Latest update on Bill Dickson. Bill passed
away on September 5, 2001
In October of 1999, I had the pleasure of
meeting Bill Dickson and his wife, Jane, in Vancouver, Washington,
after not seeing Bill for over 20 years old, when I was a young fighter,
and he was a promoter!
It was an odd dejavu, to see Bill
eye-to-eye, as I was no longer the young fighter, nor, he was no longer
the young and ambitious boxing promoter. But I will say that it was
like no time had passed at all, when I saw him for the first time after
such a long time....
Before our October meeting, Bill and I
began to speak on the phone to one another, and he recognized my
burning desire to bring the history of women's boxing out of the dark...and
to set the record straight.
Little did I know... that Bill held some of
the most valuable documents of my past and other women boxers.... in his garage.....
He began sending me packets of hotel
records, food receipts, photos, newspaper articles, and he even managed to
send me some clippings that I had never even seen of "my own
career" when I was in
my twenties. With the historical documents he sent to me, I
was able to substantiate many of the events by the indepth documentation.
But, one thing I never imagined would have
happened on that 1999 October meeting....
Bill came to Vancouver with two boxes of records, data, photos, everything
you could imagine, and in that box it was obvious that the 90's had
seriously misdocumented the past.
One of the first glaring errors that I
caught was the hoopla of Dallas Malloy being the first woman to fight in a
sanctioned Amateurs bout. Bill had over two dozen documents to
disprove what the media had erroneously reported in 1993.
Bill also had in the two boxes of records
original documents with the first ever
all-women's card in the United States and the World. There
was original notes of meetings to organize women's federations, including
the now defunct WBBA, which will be posted at a later time on WBAN. He
had 8x10's of Julie Mullen and Britt VanBuskirk that are not posted on
VanBuskirk's Bio. There is so much history that I will have
to take it in bit and pieces to post a lot of the important findings.
WITH BILL DICKSON
May 20, 1999
T.L. Fox has a One on One with the man who started
women boxing in Nevada in the 70's and 80's.....
LAS VEGAS SUN NEWSPAPER ABOUT
what ever got you into promoting women's boxing in the 70's?
Bill: It was out of reluctancy. In about 1975,
Ted Walker, who is now deceased at the age of 75, was a manager and promoter
in Carson City, Nevada. Walker had started in Montana.
He is the one who
told me that he had a girl that was working out in a gym. Walker told me that her
name was Caroline Svendsen. Walker told me
that she was tending bar, and that when he saw her, he liked what he saw.
Svendsen apply for a Nevada Boxing license with the Nevada Boxing Commission, but was
turned down. They threatened to sue the commission, and the second time around, they
issued Svendsen a boxing license. Walker thought that it was something that I could
help her with, because we were having regular shows at the Hyatt in Lake Tahoe.
Svendsen became the first woman to not only get her boxing license, but
box at the Hyatt.
What kind of
response did you get from the public and the patrons at the Hyatt in Lake Tahoe when you
ran this first woman's bout?
We got a good response. Even though I was very apprehensive, we had a good crowd, and very little negative stuff.
TL Fox: How long were the rounds of that fight?
Bill: I don't hardly remember, it was a long time ago.
believe it might have been four rounds.
TL Fox: When Ted Walker approached you about
putting on a women's bout in Nevada, was that your first exposure to women's boxing?
Bill: Yes, it was. After Walker approached me about it, I
decided to try it as an experiment. It sort of caught on, and then the next girl
that Walker produced was Julie Mullen.
TL Fox: How often did you use Mullen on your cards?
Bill: We used Julie Mullen on many of the Hyatt cards.
She had a good
following, and fought as a welterweight. She was a good solid fighter. She did have
a fighter from Los Angeles that stopped her in one fight, could have been Kim Maybee.
TL Fox: Did the local newspapers cover the women's
fights at the Hyatt, and if so, which paper would have done so?
Bill: The local paper that covered the
women's boxing was the Reno Gazette Journal. Steve Sneedon, who wrote for that paper,
wrote more about boxing than most people.
Were there any other places, other
than Reno and Vegas that featured women's boxing?
Bill: We started a card at the "Gardenerville" in
Nevada - the Cow pasture festival in about 1975-1976. We put on the show every July
4 . The turnout would be anywhere from 2,000 to 2,500 people. ABC even picked it up.
We ran female boxing on the card for about 3-4 years. The paper that covered
that event was the Record Courier newspaper.
What else was happening with women's
boxing that you can remember?
Bill: I decided to experiment with an
ALL-GIRL show. We had Karen Bennett, Squeaky Bayardo, and others. (November
1978, substantiated in the North Lake Tahoe Bonanza, Friday, November 24, 1978, page 1A,
TL Fox: What was the reception for the All-Girl
Show, you do realize that I I was offered a spot on that card through Dee Knuckles, do you
The All-girl show went very well.
We got a good response. There was a lot of interest from the public and there
were a lot of photos taken. Yes, The place was filled up. We had a lot of publicity.
I noticed that some of the spectators came from other areas, to
see the show.
They thought it was some kind of circus stunt but we proved it wrong. Dee Knuckles was
helping book some of the fighters so that does not surprise me that you were offered a
spot on the card.
TL Fox: Bill, since I had some
of my fights
at the Silver Slipper in Vegas, can you tell how women's boxing got started in that club,
Bill: I was the matchmaker of the Silver
Slipper for one year, in 1977. I don't remember who the first women were to fight in
the Slipper. I do recall that in 1977, I had a match up of Lavonne
Ludian and Theresa Kibby.
Bom Arum and his ex-partner, Teddy B (can't remember his last name) came into the Slipper
to see the women's bout. They were having a televised boxing show on CBS
Spectacular and I believe that Norton, I can't remember, was fighting on that card.
The club was packed, and Ludian was a real draw night.
TL Fox: What was the reaction of Bob Arum after he
saw the fight with Ludian and Kibby?
Bill: Arum was very impressed.
loved it. He told me that he wanted Ludian and Kibby on his fight card that
was gong to be at the Aladdin. I helped set up that fight for Arum and the girls got
about $2,500. (four 2-minute rounds).
TL Fox: Did you know that I was also on that card?
I was suppose to be an alternate fighter, in case Ludian or Kibby got ill.
Two days before the fight, Dee Knuckles called me and told me that they wanted me to fight
Bill: No I didn't, in fact, I never went to the
fight. I hate to say this but sometimes I could be ringside at a fight and almost
fall asleep at times. Also, I believe that I was working at the time.
TL Fox: When did women boxing start losing some of
it's pizazz in Vegas, and why do you think it was losing it's appeal?
Bill: It seems to me that it was around in 1978
that it started losing it. Some of the problems was the difficulty in getting
fighters. Other underlying causes could have been due to mismatches.
TL Fox: Was money ever the issue as to why you had
difficulty in booking matches?
Bill: No, money was not the issue.
Just suddenly we just didn't have women's boxing on an ongoing basis, but I
just can't remember the reasons why.
TL Fox: Did you think that women's boxing was going
to make it in the 70's and 80's?
Bill: No, I did not.
Again, I can't
tell you exactly why I thought that, but it was just what I felt at the time.
TL Fox: Do you keep trace of boxing now, or keep up
with women's boxing currently?
Bill: Frankly, I don't watch boxing
TL Fox: What was your read on Dee Knuckles, the female manager for many of
the women's boxers in the 70's and 80's?
Bill: She was a straight-shooter.
a very limited knowledge but worked hard for the girls.
TL Fox: Bill, this is a tough question for you now,
and I want you to be totally up front and honest about what I am about to ask you. Do you
remember me as a fighter? And, if you did, can you remember what you thought of my
abilities as a fighter?
Bill: Just vaguely, one or two of your
matches. I can't remember who you fought or how you fought, because I booked so many
fights that they all kind of blended together. (Whew.... I didn't know how he
was going to answer this one. lol TL Fox)
TL Fox: Who were your favorite women boxers in the 70's
Bill: Karen Bennett and Squeaky Bayardo. I knew Karen for several
years. She trained with "Baby Mo" who was an excellent boxer at one time.
She destroyed that gal from Indiana, Bonnie Prestwood, it was a bloody fight.
Squeaky was a very colorful fighter. She had a very feminine body, and she
could punch. Hard puncher, fast, and very strong. Squeaky also had a good personality, and a very interesting history. If she had not gotten
into boxing, she probably would have been on the street. Boxing saved her.
She had a
very good Spanish man that managed her. Her family was always with her at the
TL Fox: When did you stop being involved in booking
Bill: In about 1982.
In Nevada, it
started to die out.
TL Fox: So what is going on in your life now?
Bill: I worked at the Hyatt Regency from
1975-1995, retiring in 95'. I am now in the Penn Valley, California area.
last few years before my retirement, my wife was very ill, and in 1994 passed away.
I just recently remarried in 1998, and my wife is a local
business woman where we are now residing.
A FEW WORDS FROM FOX
After my interview with Bill Dickson, he went
searching for documents about the women's boxing in the 70's and 80's.
He found some
original notes of a meeting that was discussing the beginning of the WBB Federation, six
photos of myself fighting Tony Lear at the Hyatt, an original contract showing that I got
$300 for fighting Lear and my expense sheet at the hotel, and two envelopes of contracts,
etc of women who fought at that hotel. Needless to say, I was thrilled! T.L.Fox
RESEARCH BY TL FOX
VEGAS SUN NEWSPAPER
Dated March 8, 1977
Subtantiating the Ludian/Kibby fight that
Bill Dickson spoke about in his interview
Las Vegas' Ludian Goes
For Women's Fight "Title"
LaVonne Ludian, popular
woman boxer and 21-dealer, fights Theresa "Princes Red Star" Kibby for the
mythical world women's welterweight championship Wednesday night at the Silver Slipper.
Ludian, who only took up the sport last June, taken an 8-1-1 record into
her rematch against the Indian from Smith River, Calif. Kibby defeated Ludian in the
Nevadan's pro debut.
So far, women have only been allowed to box four rounds but
"Strip Fight of the Week" promoter Tim Miller is asking permission from the
state athletic commission to make the fight a five or six round affair.
Ludian, coming off a controversial draw at the Hyatt Lake Tahoe
with lefthanded Sue Fox, is sparring with veteran middleweight Jimmy Sweet Sugar
Demon" Owens to get ready for Kibby.
The Slipper card begins at 8:30 p.m. in the upstairs ballroom.READ MORE ON THE FATHER OF WOMEN'S BOXING