The contest is sponsored by the independently-wealthy Governor Griffon as a means of drawing publicity to Brimstone. It is also possibly used as a means for the governor to find the best and most ruthless gunslingers in the territory so he can hire them to serve in his personal army of bodyguards, as he has done with Mr. Kelley.
The event is overseen by Sheriff Bartlett, who announces the next set of contestants and introduces them before their duel. The winner receives a $5000 prize. Duels are held along Oak Street.
Before the game's main narrative, there had been five previous Battle Royales, of which Mr. Kelley had been the champion of the last four. The sixth annual competition takes place near the end of the story in Red Dead Revolver, during the mission "Battle Royale" with sixteen contestants, as listed below.
The following contestants took part in the Sixth Annual Battle Royale:
- Red Harlow
- Mr. Kelley
- Annie Stoakes
- Jack Swift
- Billy Cougar
- Gabriel Navarro
- Ten other unnamed contestants, seen only in a cutscene.
- The player first hears about the Battle Royale from a Newspaper Boy upon first entering Brimstone.
- The concept of the Battle Royale is very reminiscent of the competition that is at the center of the 1995 western movie The Quick and the Dead's plot.