DEADWOOD (4/2/2010) -- The battle of Old West towns is on. Census style.
The cities of Tombstone, Ariz. and Deadwood, S.D. are battling for another honor, one that requires the involvement of every citizen in each historical community. It’s a head-to-head contest to see which community has the highest participation rate for the 2010 Census. Deadwood Mayor Francis Toscana and Tombstone Mayor Dusty Escapule are challenging one another in hopes of spurring resident’s awareness of the importance of the 2010 Census – and for old west bragging rights.
“Tombstone, like Deadwood, has been pretty successful in keeping their heritage alive, and now they've issued a challenge. For us to win, all residents of Deadwood need to mail their census forms as soon as possible,” Toscana said. “As we know, the Census information is important to Deadwood's schools, roads and emergency services – and now it's even more important to our pride. We aren’t going to let Tombstone beat us in this Old West showdown.”
Deadwood (population 1,380) and Tombstone (population 1,504) are destinations on the itineraries of travelers looking for Old, and Wild, West history. Both communities began as mining camps, complete with lawlessness and violence – Tombstone with its OK Corral famous gun battle, and Deadwood with its infamous murder of Wild Bill Hickok.
Today, the guns are holstered and it’s the rhetoric that’s a blazing. With a complete and accurate count the basis for over $400 billion in annual federal funds for community services, Tombstone Mayor Dusty Escapule isn’t afraid to lay down the challenge.
"Deadwood we're ready to take you on," says Escapule. "Tombstone didn't get the name 'the town too tough to die' by being lazy."
The 2010 census has been ongoing and Census officials are hoping residents - not just in Deadwood and Tombstone but across the country - return their Census forms post-haste.