Book Review: Convict Cowboys: The Untold History of the Texas Prison Rodeo

y6ctuJaaT8Lzjtfu.jpgThe story of the Texas Prison Rodeo is one that I will never forget.

And I will admit, I shed a tear as I read the last few words of this book.

Not because it was overemotional or even emotionally written, but instead, because I relate to the reality that the popularity of the sport of rodeo is dwindling and the extinction of Texas Prison Rodeo is an example of that. Although it has been gone for over 30 years, the history inside that arena will live on forever. Movie stars with hidden secrets, like John Wayne to all time greatest Country music artist George Strait performed there for attendees from all over the country. The events taking place in the dirt stirred up my rough stock were covered my national tabloids across the country.

U4NC0dCtpwOlKK9q.jpgBut, to me, that wasn’t the most intriguing part of it. For me, it was reality that the prisoners down on their luck from bad choices in their past, had something to look forward to and strive to be better at. This rodeo gave them hope. Hope, when they could not find it anywhere else. I think we can all relate to that, at least a little. When you are competing, it’s just you, in the moment. Nothing else in the world matters at that point. I’ve always been someone who pulls for the underdog and although these contestants were convicted criminals, I found solace in knowing that they were able to find that part of themselves that said, “I can be better.”

We all need that right.

You can pick up a copy of Convict Cowboys by Mitchel P. Roth at major book outlets and Amazon. It might make for a wonderful Christmas Present for history buffs and rodeo enthusiasts alike.

Thank you to the University of North Texas Press for the opportunity to review this book.




1 Comment

  1. Wow, I love history and I have never heard of Convict Cowboys. I read your article then I did some Googling to read a bit more. Fascinating! And, to be honest, I think this is a good idea assuming it’s voluntary. A way to raise funds for prisons, a way for local communities to be entertained, and a potential new skill for the prisons. I also think the competitive element of rodeo would be healthy for anyone in prison. This concept could be taken even further, like other sports. And, the prisons could introduce caring for the animals as well. Really good read and a new one for me! Nikki

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