Beverly Hills Book Awards announces Red White Black, a book by Central Oregon’s highly acclaimed author Rick Steber, has been chosen as a double award winner in the categories of Best Western and Best Non-Fiction Western Region.
The Beverly Hills Book Awards is an international competition open to all English language books. In selecting winners, a panel of judges from all aspects of the book industry – publishers, writers, editors and copywriters – considered a wide range of criteria including the quality of writing, content, cover design and aesthetic components. Red White Black was the only double award winner in this year’s competition.
Red White Black tells the true story of race and rodeo at 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.
Jackson Sundown was on the Nez Perce retreat, but rather than surrender at Bear Paw with his uncle, Chief Joseph, he escaped to Canada and lived with Sitting Bull. He returned to the United States as a fugitive and eventually, at age 53, Sundown became the first man of color to win the All-Around title at the Pendleton Round-Up.
John Spain was from white pioneering stock. When Buffalo Bill brought his Wild West show to Oregon in 1902, John and his brother were inspired to form a show of their own. They traveled the Northwest with a string of bucking horses and put on riding exhibitions. After a roping accident cost John his right hand, he had to learn to ride with his off-hand and made a comeback at the Pendleton Round-Up.
At the outbreak of World War I, the cowboys of Eastern Oregon formed their own cavalry unit, Troop D. George Fletcher, an African American, tried to join, but Jim Crow, the strict segregation of the races, was the law of the land and George was not allowed to join his peers. He was drafted into the segregated Army, served in France, was wounded and never again was able to compete in the sport of rodeo.
Rick Steber is an engaging western personality with more than 30 titles under his belt and over a million books in print. Rick has won numerous national and international awards, and in addition to being chosen as a double Beverly Hills Book Awards winner, he is the only Oregon author to have won the prestigious Western Writers of America Spur Award – Best Western Novel.