All-Around Champion Cowboy, 1999
Calf Roper, Champion , 1991, 1995-1996, 1999-2000
Born in 1967 and raised in the small town of Cypress, Texas, African-American Fred Whitfield grew up wanting to cowboy. He and his brother, Anthony, made do as children riding Shetland ponies bareback and roping with salvaged extension cords.
Whitfield specialized in calf roping, commencing his rodeo career with the 1990 overall and calf roping PRCA/Resistol Rookie of the Year titles. In 1991 he captured his first professional calf roping championship, at the same time becoming the first African-American world champion calf roper in the sport. He followed with two more titles in 1995 and 1996.
Fred Whitfield made rodeo history in 1999, capturing both his fourth calf roping title and the all-around, thus becoming the first professional African-American world champion cowboy ever. “I’m very proud,” Whitfield observed, “that I’ve accomplished something no one else has ever done….But overall, from the fans’ standpoint, I don’t think skin color has anything to do with it.”
With career winnings of more than a million dollars, Whitfield continues to compete from his hometown of Hockley, Texas.