An Untold Tale, Indeed …
Fred Whitfield is one of the greatest cowboys to ever compete in professional rodeo. When he joined the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) in 1989, African-Americans comprised only 1 percent of its 10,000 members and Charlie Sampson won one gold buckle championship for bull riding, in 1982. Then along came Fred who won eight of them with his roping skills. He’s considered a legend. It’s important to point out that besides his eight gold championships, he also won more than $3 million before he was 49 years old. A much different chapter than his childhood.
“Whitfield grew up in Cypress, Texas, 25 miles northwest of Houston. His family was so poor that his mother, Marie, gave up two of her five children for adoption. It was a violent household. “Growing up, I thought everybody lived like we did — but once I got out and looked back, I saw I was wrong,” Whitfield wrote in his 2013 autobiography, Gold Buckles Don’t Lie. “Most families don’t try to kill each other as much as they did at my house.” (SOURCE: https://theundefeated.com/features/fred-whitfield-and-the-black-cowboys-of-rodeo/ )
This book shares the dark secrets that Whitfield avoided in public interviews as he competed his way to roping history. Stories about his abusive father, who was jailed for murder, and the death of a sister, along with his own stumble into drugs, and dealing with racism, Whitfield shares it all, according to the author. Many of the stories are told in his mother’s narrative. If you can stay with the story, through the grammatical errors, it’s one grand read!
Written by Fred Whitfield with Terri Powers.
249 pages. Hardcover.