RodeoHouston News and Notes
This morning I was on the local NBC affiliate talking about calf roping and RodeoHouston. Check out the video here:
March 6 - Rd. 3
Today was our final preliminary round and only the top four in the money standings would qualify for the semifinals. I was sitting second in the average so needed to stay there to pick up money there and also wanted to place in the round to leave no doubt. I was second from last to go, so I knew what I needed to do. Clint Robinson had set the bar with an 8.0 second run. I got out good and got the calf tied but had a little trouble with the flank and ended up with a 10.0-second run. I finished 6th in the round but they only pay the top three in the round. The more important thing is I finished with an average time of 30.3 seconds on 3, which was good for second and a paycheck worth $2,250. All totaled I won $3,750 in our series, which placed me second, meaing I advanced to the semifinals. Scott Kormos finished atop the earnings board with $6,000, Ace Slone and Clint Robinson finished with $2,000 each and rounded out the four that advanced on. See you in a couple weeks for the semifinals.
Get to know your cowboys: Fred Whitfield – Tie down roper Fred Whitfield talks about what keeps him going after 20 years of being in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association. 03.06.11 Courtesy Fox Sports Houston (Click on Get to Know for a link to the video)
March 5 - Rd. 2
I was first out this afternoon and I set the pace at 9.6 seconds. My calf ducked to the right but I got him roped and tied. I then just had to watch the other guys go to see how my time would hold. It held pretty good finishing third and picked up another $500. Ace Slone finished atop the leaderboard with a 8.4 and Trent Creager edged me for second with a 9.5. Tomorrow will be our last round and will see which four advance to the semifinals. Remember you can watch us live at www.foxsportshouston.com. We start at 4 p.m. CT on Sunday. Talk to you tomorrow.
March 4 - Rd. 1
Tonight was Rd. 1 for me at RodeoHouston. Although I drew a runner I was able to finish with a 10.0-second run, which was good for 2nd in the round. Several guys broke the barrier tonight and had I not pulled my horse up right at the end, I would have too but made it out clean and got one roped and tied. Will be back Saturday (March 5) for Rd. 2 and hopefully more money. Scott Kormos got the win tonight with a 7.8 second run, good for $2,000 and Hunter Herrin was third in a time of 11.1 and picked up $500.
Earlier this morning I did an interview with the Fox station here in Houston. Here is a link to the interview. Hope you enjoy.Fox Interview 3/4/11
Cypress cowboy eyes win
Veteran pro Whitfield wants rodeo to count
By JASON McDANIEL
FOR THE CHRONICLE
March 6, 2011, 12:17AMLike a lot of cowboys in Houston this year, tie-down roper Fred Whitfield has an opinion on RodeoHouston severing its long-standing ties with the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association.
Only his investment runs deeper than most.
Whitfield, 43, grew up in the area, so this is his hometown rodeo. And before it lost its sanctioning, another win here could have helped him begin writing the closing scene for a storied career.
But now any money he earns won't count in the world standings — or help his chase for one more gold buckle.
"What needs to happen is they need to work on it together and figure out a way to let this rodeo count toward the National Finals (Rodeo), because in my position right now - I've probably got $5,000 won in the association - a $50,000 win here would make me No. 1 in the world," Whitfield said.
Of course, RodeoHouston's lack of professional status didn't keep Whitfield away. The Cypress native is searching for his first win here in 11 years.
Hometown role modelHe'll be looking to stay alive tonight in the third and final go-round of Super Series II at Reliant Stadium.
"Unfortunately, this year it doesn't count, but it sure counts in your bank account," Whitfield said.
Now in his 22nd season as a professional, Whitfield has deposited plenty of money in his account. He's closing in on $3 million in winnings.
Whitfield is black, which automatically makes him stand out from the rodeo pack and forced him to endure many of the challenges other blacks have faced when breaking barriers.
"When I first got in here, it was 'If he wasn't black he'd be just another face in the crowd,' so I had to put up with quite a bit of stuff," he said. "But over the years as generations change, people get a lot wiser to what's going on out here."
He's done his part over the years, helping bring more blacks to the sport. And race continues to play a role in his popularity at Houston's urban rodeo, where he's a role model to many.
"I'm sure it does, but I'm popular all over the world, as far as the sport goes," Whitfield said. "Not to pat myself on the back, but I've been everywhere and won every major rodeo in the world, and those kinds of accolades come with winning."
Whitfield has been winning for a while. He won his first world title in 1991, one year after turning pro, and his first and only Houston championship in 2000, before the Super Series was introduced.
That also means his rodeo days are nearing an end.
"I'd like to go to 20 NFRs, if it happens this year, if it happens next year," Whitfield said. "I didn't have a very good winter, I don't have a lot won right now, but I'm going to go up until the middle of July and just see what happens.
Redeem his season
"Things can turn around overnight out here rodeoing."
RodeoHouston's the perfect place for a turnaround.
Primed for victoryWhitfield came within a few seconds of winning a championship here last year, instead finishing second in the shootout and leaving with $23,000, which helped him qualify for his 19th National Finals Rodeo.
A win here this year would be the ultimate tip of the hat to his career.
"It really would be," Whitfield said. "I don't really have anything else to prove. I just love the competition, I love going and competing. It's a big bonus at my age that I can still go and beat these kids. It makes me feel really good."
2010 NFR News and Notes
With two rounds in the books Fred Whitfield holds the lead in the average race with a two run time of 16.7 seconds, ahead of Ryan Jarett and Jerome Schneeberger who are tied at 17.8. Whitfield of Hockley, Texas, shared the victory lap with Jerrad Hofstetter in the second round after stopping the clock in 7.6 seconds.
As ESPN analyst said, it was like old times with Cody Ohl and Fred dueling it out. Ohl, was the first gunner and stopped the clock in a time of 7.7 seconds, which would hold through three runs but the fourth gunner, Whifield would "raise the roof" stopping the clock in 7.6 seconds.
"It's an unbelievable feeling," Whitfield said of winning checks in both rounds thus far. "To come here last year and watch a couple performances and sit in the stands, it's an uneasy feeling. I told my wife, I'll never come back to a Finals in a year when I rodeoed all year long and didn't qualify.
"I'm a little older now - and I think a lot wiser - and I started this season off with a lot of urgency to win in the moment and not wait for different rodeos to come along. If I nodded my head in Rapid City, S.D., then I expected to win, just like I would in Bay City, Texas. I was in the top six until Omaha, then some guys had some good luck and they moved me to ninth. I'm a little ways back with nothing to lose, and I'm just going to go at them every night ad see what happens."
Whitfield has always been a fan favorite at the NFR.
"I feed off the energy of the crowd a lot," said Whitfield. "I tell you, it's an overwhelming feeling. Last night, I had to ride my horse forward a couple times. It was so loud in there, I couldn't hear myself think. I took a couple deep breaths and told myself, 'You've been in this position before. Just seize the moment.'"
There are eight more rounds for Whitfield to seize the moment.