Convict Cowboys: The Untold History of the Texas Prison Rodeo
Convict Cowboys is the first book on the nation’s first prison rodeo, which ran from 1931 to 1986. At its apogee the Texas Prison Rodeo drew 30,000 spectators on October Sundays. Mitchel P. Roth portrays the Texas Prison Rodeo against a backdrop of Texas history, covering the history of rodeo, the prison system, and convict leasing, as well as important figures in Texas penology including Marshall Lee Simmons, O.B. Ellis, and George J. Beto, and the changing prison demimonde. Over the years the rodeo arena not only boasted death-defying entertainment that would make professional cowboys think twice, but featured a virtual who’s who of American popular culture. Readers will be treated to stories about numerous American and Texas folk heroes, including Western film stars ranging from Tom Mix to John Wayne, and music legends such as Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson. Through extensive archival research Roth introduces readers to the convict cowboys in both the rodeo arena and behind prison walls, giving voice to a legion of previously forgotten inmate cowboys who risked life and limb for a few dollars and the applause of free-world crowds.
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Chapter 3 The Simmons Years 19301935
Chapter 4 The Only Show of Its Kind in the United States 19361939
Chapter 5 The War Years 19401946
Chapter 6 A Sad State of Affairs 19471949
Chapter 7 The West as It Ought to Have Been 19501953
Chapter 11 Thats More Bull Than Id Like to Ride 19651969
Chapter 12 Huntsville Prison Blues 19701979
Chapter 13 The Last Roundup 19801986
Appendix I Texas Prison Rodeo Timeline
Appendix II Top Hand Winners
Albert Moore Allan Shivers American appearance attendance Austin band Beauford Jester Beto Bill Bill Bailey board members Board of Corrections bronc bronc riding bull Candy Barr cattle chutes clown Coffield File contestants convict cowboys convict leasing courtesy of texas crowd Dallas Dave Price E&R Fund East Texas Echo employees entertainment film free world George Beto Goree Girls Governor grandstand guards guest Gustafson H.H. Coffield Hard Money horse Houston Houston Post Huntsville Prison Huntsville Unit Ibid inmates Item Johnny Cash Lee Simmons livestock manager Minutes newspaper O.B. Ellis O’Daniel October October 29 performance popular Price prison farms prison officials ranch recreational Redshirts riders riding rodeo arena rodeo events rodeo season rodeo stock seats Souvenir Program spectators stadium stars state’s Texas Department Texas Prison Board texas Prison MuseuM Texas Prison Rodeo Texas prison system tickets tion tryout visitors Waid Walls warden Wayne What’s year’s