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Shelby, Montana is the seat of government for Toole County. Situated along the Montana Hi-Line, which refers to the northern part of Montana, or the first one hundred miles of Montana south of the Canadian border. Shelby has four distinct seasons although, due to its location just off of the Rocky Mountain Front, wind is a constant presence. The city was named for Peter O. Shelby, general manager of the Montana Central Railway. A distinctive historical fact about Shelby is that, in 1923, hoping to put the town on the map, the town of Shelby opted to host a boxing match featuring the heavyweight champion, Jack Dempsey, a scheme that nearly bankrupted the town, which had a population of 2,500 at the time. Originally offering a $100,000 purse, the offer was somehow increased to $300,000 despite the fact that the town could not come up with the money. A massive stadium was built to accommodate the influx of people expected to attend the event, along with several temporary hotels. The town had trouble selling advance tickets; then, because the town had not yet come up with the final $100,000, Dempsey’s manager leaked word that the fight was off, resulting in the cancellation of its advanced ticket sales. By the time it became known that the fight was on, it was too late to sell tickets and for people to make their way to Shelby. The stadium, designed to hold 42,000 people, had only a handful of people in attendance, and they were mostly locals who bought tickets only after the ticket price was lowered from $25 to $10. Then, just before the opening bell of the first round, more than 4,000 pushed over the fence surrounding the stadium and entered for free. The fight itself was the first in which anyone had gone the full 15 rounds with Dempsey.



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