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Whitfield’s sights set on 19th NFR qualification and another world title

HOCKLEY, Texas (Aug. 24, 2010) – After watching the National Finals Rodeo last year from his home in Hockley, Texas, eight-time world champion Fred Whitfield got refocused and set his sights on backing into the box in Las Vegas on Dec. 2 for the start of the 51st edition.

That focus has not only helped the Hall of Famer qualify for his 19th NFR but has put him in contention for another gold buckle at the age of 43. One more and he’d have eight tie-down roping titles which would tie him with Dean Oliver, who currently holds the record for most tie-down roping titles in the PRCA.

“I’m not going to make any predictions, but all of a sudden winning another title isn’t out of the realm of possibility,” said Whitfield after winning the Sikeston (Mo.) Bootheel Jaycee Rodeo and the Lawton (Okla.) Rangers Rodeo in the same weekend. “A few years back, I probably would have popped off, but now all I’ll say is that I’d like to go to Las Vegas with a chance to win.

“There’s a lot of season left, and a lot can happen. Winning a world title has never been easy, and it won’t be easy now. It’s a full season, and you can’t win the world if you rope well in just one part of it. I’m happy to be where I am. I’m not quite a face in the crowd just yet.”

As of August 23, Whitfield was ranked fifth in the PRCA Tie-Down Roping World Standings with $76,466. He trails leader Trevor Brazile by $18,015 – or a little more than one round win at the NFR (a round win this year is worth $17,512) – with less than six weeks left in the 2010 regular season to cut into that lead before heading to Las Vegas. With rodeos in places like San Juan Capistrano, Calif. Ellensburg, Wash., Puyallup, Wash. (the Justin Boots Playoffs), Pendleton, Ore., and Albuquerque, N.M., over the next month and the prize money each of them offer, Whitfield could easily climb higher in the standings before packing his bags for the trip to Las Vegas.

Be sure to check Whitfield’s schedule at www.fredwhitfield.com to see where he will be next and where he will be ranked before the start of the 2010 NFR.


Whitfield kicks off 2010 rodeo season with win in Odessa

HOCKLEY, Texas (Jan. 18, 2010) – Eight-time world champion Fred Whitfield kicked off his 2010 rodeo season with a win at the Sandhills Stock Show and Rodeo in Odessa, Texas.

Whitfield of Hockley, Texas, finished with a total time of 16.6 seconds on two head and stuffed a total of $5,612 in his Cinch Jeans. In the first round he stopped the clock in 8.5 seconds to finish behind Clif Cooper with an 8.2 and Joseph Gernentz with an 8.4. Whitfield earned $1,871 for his third place finish. In the second round he stopped the clock in 8.1 seconds placing fifth and picking up another $1,210. With two consistent runs, he outdistanced the rest of the field in the average race with his closest competitor being Cooper with a 17.4.

“It felt good to get a win like this early in the season,” said Whitfield, who missed qualifying for the 2009 Wrangler NFR. “In some ways, I think the break did me well and hope this will be the beginning of several wins this winter.”

With the win Whitfield moved to fourth in the PRCA 2010 World Standings. Be sure to check Whitfield’s schedule to see where he will be next.


Tie-down roping: First round: 1. Clif Cooper, 8.2 seconds, $2,531; 2. Joseph Gernentz, 8.4, $2,201; 3. Fred Whitfield, 8.5, $1,871; 4. Samuel Luchsinger, 8.7, $1,541; 5. (tie) Adam Gray, Landon McClaugherty and Trent Creager, 8.8, $880 each; 8. Sterling Smith, 9.0, $220. Second round: 1. Randall Carlisle, 7.3 seconds, $2,531; 2. Cory Solomon, 7.7, $2,201; 3. Tuf Cooper, 7.8, $1,871; 4. Logan Hofer, 7.9, $1,541; 5. Fred Whitfield, 8.1, $1,210; 6. (tie) Trell Etbauer and Skyler Moore, 8.5, $715 each; 8. (tie) Josh Peek and Kody Curry, 8.7, $110 each. Average: 1. Fred Whitfield, 16.6 seconds on two head, $2,531; 2. Clif Cooper, 17.4, $2,201; 3. George Rowland, 18.1, $1,871; 4. Justin Macha, 18.8, $1,541; 5. Joseph Gernentz, 18.9, $1,210; 6. (tie) Caddo Lewallen and Trent Creager, 19.4, $715 each; 8. Casey Harmon, 20.4, $220.

Whitfield finishes third at “Daddy of 'Em All”

HOCKLEY, Texas (July 27, 2009) – Eight-time world champion Fred Whitfield recently finished third at the famed Cheyenne (Wyo.) Frontier Days Rodeo and picked up a check totaling $10,248 to help hold his position in the top 15 of the PRCA World Standings.

Whitfield of Hockley, Texas, finished with a total time of 40.0 seconds on three head. He failed to place in the money in the first two rounds but his average time on two head was enough to earn him a spot in the final round. In the final round, he posted a time of 11.0 seconds to take third behind Stetson Vest with a 10.2-second run and Tim Pharr with a 10.3. He won $1,037 for his third place finish in the final round but more importantly was his third place finish in the average, where he collected a check totaling $9,211.

Whitfield is currently 14th in the world standings with $43,587 with about two months left in the 2009 rodeo season. The top 15 in the world standings will qualify for the 2009 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas, Nev., Dec. 3-12. This year marks the 25th year for this championship event to play out in Las Vegas but the 51st year since the event began in Dallas.

Be sure to check Fred’s schedule to see where he will be next. In addition, be sure to check his site in August for an announcement about some Fred Whitfield memorabilia on EBAY.


Whitfield makes 18th appearance at the “Super Bowl” of Rodeo

HOCKLEY, Texas – Eight-time world champion Fred Whitfield is ready to throw his first loop at his 18th National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas. This year’s event marks the 50th annual NFR and action gets underway on Dec. 4 and runs through Dec. 13, when the world champions in each event will be crowned.

Whitfield enters this year’s Finals eighth in the world with $72,647. Josh Peek of Pueblo, Colo., leads the tie-down roping field with $153,771. Prior to last year, Whitfield hadn’t missed an NFR since his first qualification in 1990. However, after being sidelined for the first half of the 2007 season, he fell just short of qualifying but is glad to be back in the Entertainment Capital of the World.

“We rodeo all year to get to Las Vegas and it doesn’t get better than the NFR,” said Whitfield of Hockley, Texas. “I am not as close to the top spot as I had hoped, so I have my work cut-out for me at the finals, but with the amount of money up for grabs each night and in the average anything is possible. I plan to give them a run for their money.”

Besides the competition, Whitfield will stay busy making sponsor appearances during the 10 day event. He will be signing autographs for Cinch Jeans, P&P Trailer Sales and Cimarron Trailers as well as the MGM Grand.

P&P Trailer Sales and Cimarron Trailers will be conducting a Fred Whitfield Roping School drawing at their booth at Country Christmas at the Sands Convention Center. The sweepstakes begins on Dec. 4 and ends on Dec. 13. The winner will receive a day and a half private roping clinic with Fred Whitfield to be held January 17-18, 2009 in Hockley, Texas. The winner will also be provided hotel accommodations and meals for Saturday, January 17. The drawing is open to all legal residents of the United States and Canada that are 18 years or older. The winner will be announced at the Cimarron Trailers Booth at the NFR country Christmas.

Whitfield has once again teamed with the MGM Grand and he will be signing autographs in the lobby of the MGM Grand, along with three-time world champion bareback rider Will Lowe, bareback rider Royce Ford, eight-time world champion team roper Speed Williams, world standings team roping leader Michael Jones, five-time world champion saddle bronc rider Billy Etbauer, tie-down roping standings leader Josh Peek, on December 9 from 11 a.m. to noon and again on December 11 from 11 a.m. to noon. The group is also scheduled to participate in the Celebrity Poker Tournament on Saturday, December 13 starting at 10 a.m. at the MGM Grand.

For a complete list of Whitfield’s schedule visit www.fredwhitfield.com.

Each night’s performance will be televised on either ESPN2 or ESPN Classic. For a complete broadcast schedule visit www.prorodeo.com.


Whitfield wins New Mexico State Fair and Rodeo, currently 12th in the World Standings

Eight-time world champion Fred Whitfield captured a much needed win at the New Mexico State Fair and Rodeo in Albuquerque, Sept. 15-20. After a rough and inconsistent summer, Whitfield has been battling to move into the top 15 before the rodeo season comes to an end at the end of September.

Following the Pendleton (Ore.) Round-up, Whitfield had moved to 14th in the Crusher Rentals World Standings with $60,665 but with the big win in Albuquerque he moved to 12th in the standings with $66,430, all but securing his spot in his 18th National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas in December.

“I should now have enough money won to qualify for the Finals,” said Whitfield after his win in Albuquerque. “I still have the Ariat Playoffs in Omaha (Neb.) and Dallas as well as the Heartland Finals, so I will look to continue to close the gap on the top spot before heading to Vegas.”

Whitfield, of Hockley, Texas, finished in a tie for second in the first round at the New Mexico State Fair and Rodeo with a time of 7.5 seconds. Justin Maass won the round with a time of 7.3 seconds. In the second round, Jeff Chapman stopped the clock in 7.1 seconds to win the round with Whitfield right on his heels with a second place finish in 7.5 seconds. With two quick and consistent runs, Whitfield captured the average title with a two head total of 15.0 seconds. Blair Burk was second in a total time of 15.5 seconds. Whitfield won a total of $5,517.

From Albuquerque, Whitfield competed at the Tri-State Fair and Rodeo in Amarillo, Texas, placing sixth in the second round with a time of 8.1 seconds, picking up $264. He then headed home to see his family for the first time since Hurricane Ike hit the Texas Coast.

“It was good to get home,” Whitfield said. “Luckily, we didn’t have any major damage and my wife and girls are doing well.”


Whitfield wins Days of ’47 Rodeo

Eight-time world champion Fred Whitfield added another win to his resume, this one coming at the Days of ’47 Rodeo in Salt Lake City, Utah, which wrapped up on July 24.

Whitfield, of Hockley, Texas, tied with Blake Huckabee for the average title with a two head time of 15.8 seconds. Consistent runs were the key to Whitfield’s success. He finished fourth in the first round with a time of 8.0 seconds, a round that was won by Josh Peek with a 7.5 second run. Whitfield improved on his first round time stopping the clock in 7.8 seconds to finish in a tie for third in the second round with Jerome Schneeberger. Jeff Chapman won the second round after stopping the clock in 7.3 seconds.

“It felt good to finally put two good runs together and pick up the win in Salt Lake,” said Whitfield, who picked up $6,298. “My family flew out and spent a week with me during the Salt Lake rodeo, so it was nice having them on the road. It won’t be long now before the girls are back in school. It seems like the summer goes by faster and faster each year.”

Whitfield will be hitting some rodeos in Kansas before heading to the ProRodeo Tour Ariat Playoffs in Caldwell, Idaho. He will also celebrate his 41st birthday on Aug. 5.


Cassie Whitfield competes in her second marathon

Raises money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society

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On Sunday, June 1, Cassie Whitfield, wife of eight-time PRCA World Champion Fred Whitfield, competed in her second Rock-N-Roll Marathon in San Diego, Calif., in an effort to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS). Her first marathon was in 2006 and both times she has raised $4,500 for the LLS program. This year’s marathon featured over 23,000 runners, with over 5,000 of those participants being involved in the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Team In Training® program.

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“I had never attempted to run a marathon before the 2006 event, but I got involved in the Team in Training Program and it was a very rewarding experience,” said Cassie, who grew up in the San Diego area. “In 2008, I again decided to lace-up my running shoes to honor all those individuals who are battling this deadly disease.”

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Team In Training® is the world's largest endurance sports training program. The program provides training to run or walk marathons and half marathons or participate in triathlons and century (100-mile) bike rides. Since 1988, more than 360,000 volunteer participants have helped raise more than $850 million.

By helping to raise funds for leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma research and patient services, participants receive personalized fitness training by certified coaches for a period of four to five months, training clinics, a supportive group of teammates, a website to help with fundraising and lodging and airfare to more than 60 accredited events in the United States and abroad.

“I don’t think I would ever go through the whole marathon thing if it wasn’t for the cause,” said Cassie, a mother of two beautiful daughters. “Team in Training is responsible for getting me prepared for this endurance challenge and the friendships and people you meet along the way makes for an incredible experience.”

“So will Cassie lace-up her shoes again for another marathon?

“I don’t know that I will run another marathon but I plan on continuing to raise funds for this great cause,” Cassie said. “God has blessed my family and me with good health but there are so many unfortunate children and families out there that have to battle this disease every day. The least I can do is my part in raising money to help in finding a cure for cancer.”

“To learn more about the Team in Training program visit www.teamintraining.org.


February 20 , 2008

Whitfield back on top of Crusher Rentals PRCA World Standings

HOCKLEY, Texas – Eight-time world champion Fred Whitfield is back on top of the PRCA World Standings following a second place finish at the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo last weekend. Whitfield, of Hockley, Texas, has pocketed $23,137 to lead the way in the tie-down roping field for 2008.

“It feels great to be back on top again,” Whitfield said. “It has been awhile but it is great to have your name on top even if there are still lots of rodeos left. I hope to carry this momentum right into Houston next month.”

Whitfield picked up $11,809 at the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo after tying for eighth in the first round with a 9.4-second run, tying for second in the final round with an 8.2-second run and placing second in the average with a total time of 33.8 seconds on four head. Whitfield finished behind Clint Robinson with a 33.4.

Whitfield is also pleased to announce the new Coronado line of Cinch Jeans, which was released earlier this month. Cinch chose the Hall of Famer to be the signature cowboy for these new jeans that were designed with the athlete in mind. These jeans feature a loose thigh and knee to suit the needs of a guy with an athletic thigh but that still wants the tapered leg opening to stack perfectly over the boot. So stop by your local retailer and see why the Coronado jean is the choice of eight-time world champion Fred Whitfield.


November 19 , 2007

Hutto to ride Whitfield’s horse at the Wrangler NFR

HOCKLEY, Texas – Eight-time world champion Fred Whitfield won’t be backing into the box at this year’s Wrangler National Finals Rodeo after a shortened season due to injury, but a pair of his horses will be backing into the box all 10 nights. Houston Hutto of Del Rio, Texas, has called on the services of two of Whitfield’s top horses in an attempt to capture his first world title.

Hutto is currently second in the Crusher Rentals PRCA World Standings and trails top ranked roper Trevor Brazile by $22,126. Hutto plans to ride Whitfield’s 9-year old mare, Jewel, with the backup being Whitfield’s other top horse Gator.

“Fred let me ride Jewel at Cheyenne in the first two rounds and I really liked her,” said Hutto, who won the Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo. “She reminds me a lot of my grey horse and she has a lot of speed out of the box. I am excited to see how it works out in Las Vegas.”

Whitfield bought Jewel the end of May before he returned from injury and Hutto rode her a couple times during the year. Hutto had inquired about riding Jewel in mid-September at the Finals and once Whitfield knew he wouldn’t be competing, decided to give it a go.

“Houston had approached me about using the horse and since, he had success on her this year, I thought it would be a good deal for both of us,” Whitfield said. “She is a phenomenal horse that can do it all. She scores well, runs hard, stops fast and she is good in any situation. I am also taking Gator out as a backup horse.”

Whitfield qualified for his first NFR in 1990 and has qualified every year since until this year. After getting a late start in June, due to back and shoulder injuries, Whitfield ended the season ranked 37th in the world. Despite being in Las Vegas in a different capacity this year, Whitfield is still looking forward to the experience.

“It will be a different experience for me but I think it will be fun to see it from another perspective,” said Whitfield about being in Las Vegas but not competing. “I will have more time to visit with people and just relax, instead of always being in a hurry to go here or there. It might also give me a spark for the 2008 season.”

Whitfield will be making appearances on behalf of his sponsors, Cinch Jeans, Cimarron Trailers and P and P Trailer Sales, while in Las Vegas. Visit Whitfield’s rodeo schedule on www.fredwhitfield.com for dates, times and places he will be signing during the NFR, Dec. 6-15.


October 25, 2007

Whitfield finishes 2007 season 37th in the world after only three months of competition

HOCKLEY, Texas – Eight-time world champion Fred Whitfield finished the 2007 PRCA rodeo season ranked 37th in the world with $30,111 in earnings won in just a three month span.

Whitfield, of Hockley, Texas, was sidelined from January to June after undergoing two different surgeries in January. The first was to remove bone spurs from his C-5 and C-6 vertebrae and the second surgery was performed on his right rotator cuff. Whitfield returned to competition the second week of June after being released from Dr. Tandy Freeman on May 14.

From the time he returned to competition, Whitfield hit every PRCA rodeo that he could between June and Sept. 30 trying to make the top 15 and qualify for his 18th consecutive National Finals Rodeo. Unfortunately, it wasn’t meant to be for Whitfield this year falling just short of that goal. However, he plans to regroup and go hard in 2008.

“I knew it would be an uphill battle to try and qualify for the NFR this year, but I gave it my all and it just didn’t work out,” said Whitfield upon the conclusion of the 2007 season. “I plan to spend the next couple months going to the gym faithfully with my wife and getting in shape to hit the big winter rodeos in January.”

Whitfield captured wins at the Western Montana Fair and PRCA Rodeo in Missoula, the Kit Carson County Fair and Rodeo in Burlington, Colo., and the Mountain Valley Stampede in Heber City, Utah. His biggest win of the year came at the Calgary Stampede in July where he won the $100,000 round. However, the Calgary Stampede is not sanctioned by the PRCA, so his earnings didn’t count toward the ProRodeo Cowboys World Standings which determine qualifiers for the NFR.

If the early part of the 2008 rodeo season is any indication to the rest of the year, Whitfield will be atop the world standings in no time. He has already picked up wins at the Guadalupe County PRCA Rodeo in Seguin, Texas, and at the Harris County Fair and Rodeo in Houston. Since a PRCA cowboy has a limited number of rodeos they can count toward the world standings, Whitfield counted the rodeo in Seguin but not the one in Houston. Therefore, the money he won in Houston will not be applied toward his world standings for 2008.

Although Whitfield will not be in Las Vegas competing for another world title, he will be making appearances on behalf of his sponsors Cinch Jeans, Cimarron Trailers and P and P Trailer Sales. Be sure to check his schedule at for appearance dates, times and locations.


September 14, 2007
Fred featured on the September issue of
Spin to Win Rodeo Magazine

Click image to full size cover

Just wanted to let everyone know that I was featured on the September cover of Spin to Win Rodeo talking about my win in Calgary. I have put a photo of the cover here for you to see. In addition to being on the September cover, I was also featured in the October issue as part of editor Kendra Santos’ One on One article.

August 8 , 2007

Whitfield moves into Top 50 with two wins

HOCKLEY, Texas – Eight-time world champion Fred Whitfield moved into the Top 50 of the ProRodeo Cowboys World Standings the week of August 6, after capturing wins in Heber City, Utah, and Burlington, Colo.

Whitfield, of Hockley, Texas, won the Mountain Valley Stampede in Heber City, Utah, with a time of 7.7 seconds and collected a check totaling $2,404. He also won the Kit Carson County Fair & Rodeo in Burlington, Colo., with a time of 9.5, which was good for $923.

Since returning to competition in June after having shoulder surgery, Whitfield has won $21,048 at 22 PRCA rodeos. He is currently about $20,000 from the Top 15. The Top 15 after Sept. 30 will qualify for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas in December.

July 15, 2007

Whitfield wins $100,000 round at Calgary Stampede

Photo by Mike Copeman

HOCKLEY, Texas – Eight-time world champion Fred Whitfield has returned to his championship form just a month after returning to full-time competition. Whitfield, of Hockley, Texas, won the $100,000 round on Sunday afternoon at the Calgary Stampede after stopping the clock in 7.0 seconds in the final round.

Whitfield won or tied for first in three out of six rounds including the semifinal and final rounds. In the first round, the Hall of Famer tied with Scott Kormos for first with a time of 8.1 seconds. He finished second in the second round with an 8.7, was fifth in the third round with a time of 8.6 seconds and won the fourth round with a time of 7.4 seconds. He won $12,500 in the first four rounds to easily advance to Showdown Sunday.

In the semifinal round on Sunday afternoon, he finished in a tie with Hunter Herrin for third with a time of 7.4 seconds to advance to the finals. Once there, he roped and tied his calf in 7.0 seconds and was the only one of the four finalists to record a time. Four-time all-around champion Trevor Brazile, Blair Burk and Herrin came up empty in the final round and Whitfield was award the $100,000 check.

“It feels great,” said Whitfield of his $112,500 showing in Calgary. “I feel like I am back and hope to carry this momentum into the rest of the PRCA rodeos this year.”

This marks the third time that Whitfield has won the big money in Calgary. In 1993, Whitfield won his first $50,000 bonus round in Calgary and won it again in 2001. Now he can add the $100,000 round win to his list of accomplishments for 2007.

The Calgary Stampede is not sanctioned by the PRCA so the money does not count toward the ProRodeo Cowboys World Standings. Whitfield returned to competition the second week of June after undergoing neck and shoulder surgery in January.


July 9, 2007

Whitfield wraps up Fourth of July run

HOCKLEY, Texas – It was a mixed bag of success over the Fourth of July for eight-time world champion Fred Whitfield of Hockley, Texas. He competed at five rodeos – Greeley, Colo.; Cody, Wyo.; Red Lodge, Mont.; St. Paul, Ore.; and Window Rock, Ariz. – winning just shy of $6,000.

His best showing came at the Greeley (Colo.) Independence Stampede where he picked up $3,839 after placing fifth in the second round with an 8.5-second run, was sixth in the Tour round with an 11.9 and was sixth in the average with a total time of 32.2 seconds on three head. At the Home of Champions Rodeo in Red Lodge, Mont., he tied for 10th with a time of 7.9 seconds and picked up a check for $96. He finished his Fourth of July run in Window Rock, Ariz., where he tied for fifth with a time of 8.6 seconds and picked up $1,864.

“I feel good but just missed some golden opportunities, which happens in this business,” Whitfield said. “I am headed to Calgary now but then will be back to hit all the rodeos I can from here on out.”

Whitfield will compete at the Calgary Stampede, a rodeo not sanctioned by the PRCA, starting July 10-13 with the final round on July 15. This year’s event has a record $1.75 million purse and a cowboy has a chance to win as much as $118,000. After Calgary, Whitfield plans to compete in Nampa, Idaho, Salinas, Calif., Spanish Fork, Utah, and Cheyenne, Wyo. To see a complete list of his rodeo schedule visit www.fredwhitfield.com.


July 6, 2007

Whitfield featured on cover of Texas Horse Talk

HOCKLEY, Texas – Gracing the July cover of Texas Horse Talk is eight-time world champion Fred Whitfield. The story, titled The Whitfield Challenge, talks about his recent injuries and the challenge of qualifying for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo with just four months left in the 2007 rodeo season.

Texas Horse Talk is the only magazine of its kind in the state serving all disciplines from rodeo to dressage. Published once a month, this magazine provides authoritative information on the latest trends in training, veterinary care and equine nutrition, plus human interests stories about some of the best in the business.

To read the latest issue and the story on Fred log onto www.texashorsetalk.com and click on the July issue.

June 22 , 2007

Whitfield back in the saddle

HOCKLEY, Texas – Eight-time world champion Fred Whitfield has officially returned to the arena. After two surgeries and months of physical therapy the Hall of Fame cowboy is back doing what he loves.

Whitfield had planned that the 88th annual Reno (Nev.) Rodeo would mark his official return but a week before heading to Reno, he competed at the Crosby (Texas) Fair & Rodeo where he finished in a tie for third with a time of 9.6 seconds. He ran his first calf in Reno on June 19 during slack. He finished with a 10.4-second run, just out of the money by a second. He returned on June 20 for his second one. He roped him quick but as he went to tie, the calf began to kick resulting in a run over 16 seconds and too long for the average.

Whitfield will now get ready for the Fourth of July run that is known as “Cowboy Christmas” in the rodeo industry. He plans to hit five different rodeos during this busy week from Greeley (Colo.) to Cody (Wyo.) to Red Lodge (Mont.), to St. Paul (Ore.) and finally Window Rock (Ariz.).

Please check back for an update on how the champ does.

May 17 , 2007

Whitfield to make Reno his official return to competition

HOCKLEY, Texas – A familiar name that has been missing from the rodeo daysheets due to injury the last five months is about to change. Eight-time world champion Fred Whitfield will make his official return to the rodeo arena at the 88th annual Reno (Nev.) Rodeo, June 15-23, after getting the green light from Dr. Tandy Freeman on May 14.

Whitfield, of Hockley, Texas, battled through back and shoulder pains during the 2006 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo and immediately following its conclusion he spoke with three different doctors regarding his back injury. On January 5, doctors in Dallas removed bone spurs from his C-5 and C-6 vertebrae, which kept him in a neck brace for a few weeks following the surgery giving it ample time to heal.

While tending to his back, doctors also examined his shoulder and discovered that his rotator cuff on his right shoulder was badly damaged and needed to be repaired if he was going to keep roping. Figuring there was no time like the present Whitfield returned to Dallas the end of January for shoulder surgery.

“I was somewhat reluctant to have the shoulder surgery knowing I would be out for several months but I also knew I would just be wasting my time competing if I wasn’t 100 percent,” Whitfield said.

Now four months later, Whitfield is spending his time getting back in shape and anxiously eyeing his return to the arena. From lifting weights to riding his bike to going to spinning classes with his wife, Cassie, he is doing it all with the goal of being in Las Vegas in December for the 18th consecutive year and in a position to vie for another world title.

“I have spent a lot of time at the gym and feel that all the hard work will pay off in the end,” Whitfield said. “Since the surgery, I have had the goal of coming back at Reno and things seem to be falling into place for that to happen. Reno has always been a good rodeo for me. In 2005, I won the winter Tour finale there and so I am hoping for another big win there to get my year started on the right foot.”

It has definitely been a roller coaster for Whitfield since leaving Las Vegas in December. On Dec. 10, the day after the Wrangler NFR concluded, he received a call telling him that his famed horse, Moon, had to be put down after it suffered a broken hip out in the pasture with some other horses.

“Moon was by far the best horse I have ever owned and he was the biggest reason for my early success,” Whitfield said. “I got him in the fall of 1992 and rode him until 2001 winning four world titles (1995-96, 1999 and 2000) on him. He was a phenomenal horse and there will never be another one like him.”

With a shortened rodeo season this year, Whitfield plans to hit every rodeo, along with his horses Gator and Hays, from June to September with the goal of being in the top 15 on Sept. 30, the last day of the 2007 rodeo season.

“This might be my toughest challenge yet but sitting at home the past several months has made me hungry for the competition,” said the 39-year old. “As long as I am healthy, I am going to give it my all.”

Apr 03, 2006 - 06:47 am

Fred rock's Laughlin

It was a classic match-up in the tie-down roping at the 2006 edition of the Laughlin (Nev.) River Stampede on Sunday afternoon.

Seven-time and reigning world champion tie-down roper Fred Whitfield, four-time world champion Cody Ohl and three-time all-around champion Trevor Brazile were three of the final four ropers on Sunday.

Brazile (Decatur, Texas) was the first to go, turning in an 8.7-second run to move into the lead. Following Brazile was young gun Joseph Parsons (Marana, Ariz.), who took care of business overtaking the lead with an 8.4. Whitfield, who lives for pressure situations, backed into the box next and showed the sold-out crowd how a champion rises to the occasion. Whitfield (Hockley, Texas) finished with a time of 7.9 seconds. The final competitor was Ohl (Hico, Texas), who drew a tough calf and finished with an 8.8-second run.

When the dust had settled, Whitfield had collected the Tour Round victory, but Ohl hung on to win the average title with a total time of 24.4 seconds on three head, just one-tenth ahead of Whitfield with a 24.5.

"I didn't think I had drawn the best calf but I got a good start, got it on him quick and fortunately for me it stayed down," said Whitfield on his Tour round victory. "I think the Tour points I picked up here should get me into the Finale but I have three rodeos (Logandale, Nev.; Clovis, Calif.; and Guymon, Okla.) left that I can count, so I am going to try and add to my total."

Ohl, who was second in the world standings prior to Laughlin, won $6,764, while Whitfield picked up $5,513. Both competitors have been making each run and rodeo count. Prior to Laughlin, Ohl had only been to six rodeos picking up total winnings of $34,432, while Whitfield had won $22,892 at seven rodeos.

The Laughlin (Nev.) River Stampede marked the eighth stop on the 2006 Wrangler ProRodeo Winter Tour. Contestants not only compete for money at the Tour rodeos, but for valuable Tour points that qualify them for the Pace Picante ProRodeo Chute-out upon the conclusion of the Winter Tour.

The Pace Chute-out will be held May 13-14 in Tulsa, Okla. All 12 stops on the Winter Tour will be televised on Fox Sports Network for the first time in history. Check local listings for times in your area.

Dec 29, 2005 - 10:59 am

Let's Do It Again

As 2005 comes to a close,  I look back at a great season. Of coarse it ended the way I wanted it to, with winning the World Championship in the Calf Roping for a seventh time. Each round in Vegas tried me to the fullest. I was doing everything I could do on my end. For the first few rounds it didn't seem like it was meant to be, but I stayed at the top of my game and didn't let those earlier rounds bring me down, and it ended in a complete success. I've had lots of people tell me they bit off all their fingernails, or they thought they were going to go crazy as they watched the NFR on TV. Nobody knows like my family and I how nerve racking it was to be there at the Thomas & Mack, hoping that each night would be the night I could bring the house down. I finally did, but it didn't happen until the 10th round. At least I kept it exciting.

After the NFR, is the only off season I have. During the Holidays I'm at home with the girls. I'm still practicing and working out my rodeo schedule for January. I'm gonna start team roping this winter and see how things turn out after the buildings. If I don't get burned out with it and win something, I'll keep competing in two events going into the Spring.

For now, I have a few days left at home until I do it all over again. I start each year with the determination to win another world title, but first you start out trying to win enough to qualify for the 2006 NFR. 


Sep 22, 2005 - 2:50 pm

Clutch Performance at Pendleton Round-Up

PENDLETON, Ore. - Six-time world champion tie-down roper Fred Whitfield is well known for his clutch performances and he turned in yet another clutch run at the 95th annual Pendleton Round-Up.

Whitfield (Hockley, Texas) entered the Pendleton Round-Up - the 12th and final stop on the Wrangler ProRodeo Tour - 31st in the standings with 24 points. Whitfield knew that he needed to make every run count if he was going to earn enough points to move into the top 12 and earn a berth into the $350,000 Pace Picante ProRodeo Challenge in Omaha, Neb. (Sept. 30-Oct. 1).

Whitfield came out firing in the first round with a 9.4-second run, which was good enough for a fourth place finish. He had a little more trouble in the second round with a run of 11.5, but it was good enough for an eighth-place finish. He made his biggest move in the Wrangler Tour round roping and tying his calf in 8.5 seconds to finish atop the leaderboard and capture the average title with a total time of 29.4 seconds on three head.

When the dust had settled in Pendleton, Whitfield had collected 25.5 points and moved into a tie for 11th with Rick Kieckhefer (Prescott, Ariz.).