HOUSTON – With Rodeo Houston in full swing, all the ropers are coming out.
Fred Whitfield is a pro rodeo tie-down calf roper, and a “regular” at Rodeo Houston.
“I compete in the calf-roping… that’s where you give the calf a 10 to 12 to 13 foot head start,” Whitfield conveyed. “You chase him on horseback, rope him around the neck, you go and tie up three legs.”
Whitfield is a hometown boy done good, born and bred right in Cypress.
And in fact, he’s a rodeo champion – an eight-time world champion!
About 40 years ago, Whitfield’s neighbor showed him the ropes, and he’s been lassoed by the sport ever since.
“I’ve been doing this for quite a while, and their son had horses and roped in rodeo and stuff,” Whitfield recalled. “And I would go over every day after grade school and that’s how I got introduced to the sport of rodeo.”
So how did the calf roping competition come about?
“My event actually evolved out on the working ranch,” Whitfield explained. “Whenever they had a sick animal they would have to go out and catch him…versus bringing the whole herd in. They would rope one, tie him down, doctor him, turn him loose, and then they could continue to graze.”
What is it about this rodeo that gets the ropers so excited?
“It’s a family sport,” Whitfield shared. “We’re a tight-knit group and everybody pretty much gets along and pulls for each other, so why wouldn’t you want to come to the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo?”
As Whitfield put it, “We’ve got everything in the world to see here.”