Fred Whitfield became the PRCA’s all-time leading single event money winner after finishing in the money at two rodeos last weekend.
The eight-time world champion earned $9,569 at Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association shows in Nampa, Idaho (July 21), and Salinas, Calif. (July 22), which pushed Whitfield's career tie-down roping earnings to $3,015,284.
Whitfield, who lives in the South Texas town of Hockley, has earned $1,242 more in tie-down roping than the retired five-time world champion Billy Etbauer pocketed in saddle bronc riding, according to PRCA statistics.
Along with 16-time world champion Trevor Brazile, Whitfield and Etbauer are the only PRCA cowboys with career earnings of more than $3 million. Brazile is the only PRCA competitor who has more than $4 million.
But Brazile's $4 million-plus earnings are in four roping events. Whitfield and Etbauer are the only men to also have surpassed $3 million in a single event.
Whitfield, 44, who turned pro in 1990, is the only African-American athlete who has won the world all-around title, a feat he accomplished in 1999. He also has seven tie-down roping gold buckles.
Brazile's 16 world titles tie him with 1950s star Jim Shoulders for the most gold buckles in multiple categories. But Brazile is two titles away from tying the record for the most PRCA world championships overall.
That distinction belongs to Guy Allen, who has 18 world championships in steer roping, the most in a single event and the most overall.
However, Brazile is threatening to surpass Allen. In the weekly PRCA standings released on July 23, Brazile, who lives in Decatur, was ranked No. 1 in the world all-around, team roping heading and steer roping standings. If he can finish the December Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas ranked No. 1 in all three of those categories, he would have a record 19 gold buckles.
Brazile is ranked No. 1 in the 2012 world team roping heading standings after he and his partner, Patrick Smith, clinched the title at the renowned California Rodeo Salinas.
Women’s rodeo update
Former world champion Brittany Pozzi of Victoria is ranked No. 1 in the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association world barrel racing standings with regular season earnings of $152,560 after finishing third at the Nampa rodeo. Former Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualifier Carlee Pierce of Stephenville is ranked second with $118,159.
Brett Hoffman, a Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame member, has written a rodeo column for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram during the past 25 years. Email him at email@example.com.