Fred Whitfield was born August 5, 1967 in Houston and grew up in Cypress, Texas. He joined the PRCA in 1990, qualified for his first NFR and won the Resistol Rookie of the Year.
In 1991, he broke the NFR average record roping 10 head in 91.70 seconds en route to his first world championship in calf roping. In 1997, he broke his own NFR average record roping 10 head in 84 seconds, which has stood for 21 consecutive years through 2011, and is considered one of the greatest performances in NFR history.
In 1999, Whitfield won rodeo’s most prestigious award, the All-Around World Title along with the calf roping title. He became the first African-American in the history of the PRCA to win the all-around title. That same year, he also won the Texas Circuit All-Around and calf roping title.
Whitfield made a name for himself in ProRodeo by consistently coming through in clutch situations. His signature “raise the roof” salute caught on with fans across the country. Befitting a cowboy of his stature, Whitfield has won titles at virtually every major rodeo, including four NFR average crowns.
In July 2011, Whitfield became the third cowboy in PRCA history to cross the $3 million mark in career earnings. He did so at the 115th edition of the Cheyenne (Wyo.) Frontier Days Rodeo.
He continues to compete in the rodeo arena at a championship level and credits much of his success to his horses – Moon, Reno, Ernie, Gator, and Jewels. Fred resides in Hockley, Texas, with wife, Cassie, and daughters, Savannah and Sydney, who like their father, are following their heart, and competitive nature in sports.
Other inductions: Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame, 2003; ProRodeo Hall of Fame, 2004; Cheyenne Frontier Days Hall of Fame and honored into the National Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, 2005.