An Unforgettable Pendleton Round-Up, 1911

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Red White Black: A True Story of Race and Rodeo
Available now!

Red White Black tells the true story of the 1911 Pendleton Round-Up. Three men of different skin colors – Jackson Sundown, John Spain, and George Fletcher – are brought together during the finals of the Northwest Saddle Bronc Championship. What happened that September day, the judges’ decision and the reaction of the crowd in the aftermath, forever changed the sport of rodeo, and the way the emerging West was to look at itself. Read more . . .

Rick Steber, who spent four decades researching this story, has more than 30 titles under his belt and sales of over a million books. Rick is the only Oregon author to have won the prestigious Western Writers of America Spur Award – Best Western Novel. He is a keen observer of the changing American West and he articulates these changes in prose that are boldly descriptive, invigorating and creative. His writing has been compared to Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Steinbeck, McMurtry and Stegner.

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Creating a keepsake: Red White Black, A True Story of Race and Rodeo

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On the trail of rodeo phenomena, Jackson Sundown. At his grave, Slickpoo Cemetery, Jacque Spur, Oregon

The written words of a non-fiction book get their beauty, grace, elegance and validity from the research that has been done to support them.

I do enjoy the research.

Not so much in blowing dust from a written history, but in talking with the people who actually lived that history.

Most of the events in Red White Black – the book I am currently working on – occurred a hundred years ago, or more. But I have been gathering material for this book for almost four decades and during that time have interviewed people who knew the three main characters – Jackson Sundown, John Spain and George Fletcher – and watched them ride broncs at rodeos.

Time passes. People die. They take their memories with them to the grave.

And now in my current research I hear stories from people who say their fathers told them about a particular cowboy, or an incredible ride they witnessed.

I take all these stories that are shared with me and try to weave them together into a text that will be as rich in color, texture and usefulness as a Pendleton blanket, a keepsake to appreciate in life and pass down from one generation to the next, just as the stories have been passed down to me from generation to generation.

39688_150106865005032_5183089_nVisit my website at Writing the West, http://ricksteber.com for more tales of the Wild West, including non-fiction biographies and novels, audio books and DVDs. My books are now available for purchase as ebooks. Subscribe to this blog to find out more about my upcoming book: Red White Black, A True Story of Race and Rodeo.

On the Trail of Red White Black, A True Story of Race and Rodeo

Just returned from a research trip. I wanted to gather any last bits of information that was out there to add to my book — Red White Black as well as to visit the graves of the three main characters. I made a big circle; drove a thousand miles and was gone for a week.

Now, let me introduce you to Jackson Sundown, John Spain and George Fletcher . . .

Jackson Sundown

Jackson Sundown

On the trail of Jackson Sundown – As a boy he was on the Nez Perce retreat with Chief Joseph. Rather than surrender at Bear Paw he escaped to Canada and lived in exile with Sitting Bull. Returning to the United States he eventually beat the cowboy at his own game and won the World Saddle Bronc Championship.

John Spain

John Spain

On the trail of John Spain – Eastern Oregon rodeo rider who won the World Saddle Bronc Championship, lost a hand in a roping accident and came back to ride with his off hand and won the stagecoach race at the Pendleton Round-Up ….

George Fletcher

George Fletcher

On the trail of George Fletcher – African American cowboy who helped to break the color barrier in the sport of rodeo and served his county in France during World War One …….

Visit my website at Writing the West, http://ricksteber.com for more tales of the Wild West, including non-fiction biographies and novels, audio books and DVDs. My books are now available for purchase as ebooks.

Subscribe to this blog to find out more about my upcoming book: Red White Black, A True Story of Race and Rodeo.

New book on its way

Just finished the first draft of my new book, Red White Black, a true story of race and rodeo … and now the real work begins with layers of Bondo, sanding, more sanding, polishing, priming, sanding once again with 300 grit, and finally a coat of paint gets applied and the words are set in book form. 

Geronimo poses driving a 1904 Locomobile

Geronimo poses driving a 1904 Locomobile

Excerpt from Red White Black:

The Wild West was dying. Hell, maybe it was already dead. The evidence of its passing was everywhere. A full generation had come and gone since the Native People were rounded up and confined to reservations. Forty million buffalo were slaughtered and the open range was steadily disappearing under the relentless assault of barbed wire fencing. Railroads connected all points of America. The telephone and telegraph were in common use. And mass produced automobiles were fast replacing the horse and buggy. At the dawn of the Twentieth Century everything was changing: nothing was ever going to be the same.

Over one hurdle but many hours of hard work yet in front of me.

Rick Steber