Dode Bercot

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Name: Dode Bercot
Alias: Monroe Bearcat
Birth Name: Henry Bercot
Born: 1902-10-25
Birthplace: Cherry Valley, Washington, USA
Died: 1988-02-19 (Age:85)
Hometown: Monroe, Washington, USA
Stance: Southpaw
Height: 5′ 7½″   /   171cm
Reach: 72″   /   183cm
Boxing Record: click

Division: Welterweight
Managers: Earl Pownall & Lonnie Austin
Dode Bercot Gallery

Early History

According to the "Sports Log" column in the Feb. 3, 1942 Tacoma News Tribune, newspaper of Tacoma, WA, USA, the actual first name of boxer Dode Bercot (pronounced 'dOd 'bur-cot) was "Henry." "Dode" was a nickname. He was the elder brother of fellow boxer Bud Bercot. Their father reportedly was H. E. Bercot, who started the very first tavern in Mukilteo, WA.

Dode Bercot was born in Cherry Valley, near Monroe, Washington. He was a timber logger by trade, living in Monroe, when he began boxing. According to a November 17, 1922 Everett Daily Herald (Everett, WA) newspaper article, he had begun working in Monroe four years earlier, having been assigned the "most hazardous and strenuous of all occupations, known in the parlance of those who work in the woods as a 'high rigger.'" (A "high rigger" cuts off tree limbs/branches, then "tops them off" to prepare them for final cut.

Boxing Career

Bercot's first manager is believed to have been Earl Pownall, according to the Monroe Monitor (Monroe, WA) newspaper of June 29, 1923. The well-known Seattle manager/promoter Lonnie Austin soon became his manager.

Incidentally: Professional prize-fighting was illegal in Washington state from early in the century until 1933. The statute did permit "Sparring or fencing amongst members of private clubs for exercise only" or for the enjoyment of their fraternal brothers. Thus, virtually all bouts in the state were usually held in the various American Legion posts and athletic clubs for their "members." Anyone wishing to witness a match was required to obtain a membership card and levied an assessment for the seat.

Bercot quit fighting in the mid-1920s to devote his time to promoting bouts--staging virtually all of his shows in the various American Legion venues in the area. It was said that Bercot had severely injured an eye around this time that had left him blind in one eye, according to the locally-published booklet entitled Monroe: The Next Thirty Years (1911-1940), by Nellie Robertson. In February 1926, Bercot started another venture: He began selling Chevrolet-brand automobiles in Everett, Washington. He attempted a comeback with a bout on December 10, 1926, then continued boxing until early 1931. (The April 22, 1976 Whidbey Island Record (WA, USA) newspaper claims that he continued boxing until 1933, however.)

Bercot's half-dozen bouts with Ted Krache was one of the more popular rivalries in Pacific Northwest boxing history.

Post-Boxing Career

Dode Bercot in 1976

The Bellingham Herald newspaper reported that Bercot had a mixed wrestling/boxing bout on Nov. 28, 1929 at Liberty Hall. He was boxing/wrestling a Wenatchee, WA, wrestler named Ray Francisco. Bercot KO'd him at 0:50.

By early 1931 he was living on Whidbey Island, Washington, where he had bought a farm. According to an Everett Daily Herald article of September 23, 1931, Bercot was sued for $1,200.00 damages by Mrs. Mirzah Bell, wife of B. V. Bell, a radio announcer. (It is unknown whether Ms. Bell is a member of the well-known Bell family that includes generations of Everett-based attorneys.) She alleged that Bercot was speeding the night of May 18, when his car collided with hers, injuring her.

The Monroe, Washington, High School sports team--the Bearcats--was named after Dode Bercot in late 1924: [1] According to Ms. Robertson's book, p. 84: "In early October 1924, the Monroe Union High School called its team the Panthers but two weeks later the athletes became Bearcats...." The Whidbey Island Record newspaper of April 1976 confirms that the Monroe High School Bearcats chose their name to honor Dode Bercot.

After retiring as a boxer circa 1933, Bercot--because he allegedly was the biggest poacher around at the time--was selected to become the very first Washington State Game Warden of Whidbey Island, a position he held for 30 years. He was also a marshal for some time. He died of heart failure. His son, Don, died two to three weeks later of a similar ailment.

The Holmes Harbor Rod and Gun Club near Langley, WA, still honors Bercot with its "Annual Dode Bercot Shootout." [2] [3]

Birth and death dates are based on the Death Record in Social Security Index of a Henry F. Bercot from Freeland, WA.

External Links

  • Monroe Historical Society 'Bercot' page: [4]
  • Everett Public Library MP3 of Glenn Carlson Interview (where he talks of life in the logging camps during the 1920s--including a brief mention of boxing, Bercot and Krache): [5]
  • Everett Public Library MP3 of George Wardell Interview (where he also describes life in the early logging camps): [6]
  • October 2013 Monroe Monitor & Valley News 'Flashback' article: [7]