Adrenaline. That’s the word Clarence LeBlanc uses when recalling a good ride.
Red dust flying in his wake, the horse’s hoofbeats like a pulse in his ears, galloping alongside a five-hundred-pound steer, until the moment came—a fraction of a second—when Clarence bolted through the air guided only by reflex and momentum. He’d jump on the steer’s back, seize the horns, and bow the steer’s head so its legs rose from the ground. And that’s when he’d grab the steer by the nose for a good throw.
Clad in a starched pearl-snap shirt and Wranglers cinched with a World Championship belt buckle,the sixty-eight-year-old LeBlanc walks with a slight limp as he recalls his notable career, a veined hand tilting his black Stetson. He is a third-generation cowboy alongside his brother Kenneth—both retired steer wrestlers—and a two-time winner of the International Professional Rodeo Association World Steer Wrestling Championship. Now, the LeBlanc brothers continue a legacy forged by their forebears: organizing and promoting the Okmulgee Roy LeBlanc Invitational Rodeo, the longest continuously running black rodeo in Oklahoma—and in the nation.
Brothers Kenneth and Clarence LeBlanc continue to keep their family and community’s 65-year rodeo tradition alive and well.
Though the cowboy is ubiquitous in American lore, in Western mythology, he’s almost always white. History tells a different story. According to Smithsonian Magazine, one in four cowboys was black, a number confirmed by Tricia Martineau Wagner, author and historian, who wrote in Black Cowboys of the Old West: True, Sensational, and Little-Known Stories from History, “. . . of the estimated thirty-five thousand cowboys that worked the ranches and rode the trails between 1866 and 1895, researchers have calculated that the number of black cowboys ranged from five thousand to nine thousand, with the high number representing 25 percent.”
Kenneth W. Porter, the late esteemed scholar of the American West, claimed cowboys worked in an industry deemed inclusive for its time. In a typical outfit of ten or so rugged cattlemen driving huge herds across dusty plains to the meathungry Northern markets, seven may have been white, two black, and others also may have been Latino or Native American. The men usually were paid equally, though black cowboys often were relegated to lesser desired chores. But these men rode, roped, and fought harsh trails together, drinking and gambling side-by-side in saloons eager to lighten their coin purses.
Continue reading your story on the app
Continue reading your story in the magazine
The Owasso Historical Museum documents the hometown pride of its citizens.
This Oklahoma venue provides a space for those who have a need for speed.
ROAD Less traveled
OKLAHOMA’S DIRT ROADS AND BEATEN PATHS OFFER VIEWS, RIDES, AND ROAD T R I P S I N AC C E S S I B L E TO M O S T. B U T HOW TO GET STARTED OFF-ROADING? WHERE TO GO? HOW TO STAY SAFE? THIS GUIDE WILL HELP YOU HIT THE TRAILS.
Mutually Assured Deliciousness
Peruvian and Chinese cuisine live in wedded bliss at Tulsa’s Pachac.
THE High GROUND
As the world hunkered down, one Oklahoman prepared for the toughest athletic challenge of his life. But the hardest obstacle to overcome wasn’t legs, lungs, stamina, or Oklahoma’s deceptively hilly terrain—it was losing the person who inspired him the most.
This downtown Tulsa tiki bar stuns the senses and excites the palate.
Foggy Bottom Kitchen’s down-home cuisine is giving Oklahomans yet another reason to get out and enjoy their state parks.
Radio Free Tulsa
Live from Cain’s brings Oklahoma music history to the airwaves.
Highway to History
Derrick Smith Jr. is sharing Oklahoma’s rich heritage from the back of a motorcycle.
ADVENTURE BLACK BOOK
How do you feel most alive? Whether your adrenaline rushes come from death-defying feats, unusual journeys, or one-of-a-kind meals, these fifty-one Oklahoma spots will have you living life to its fullest all year long.
QUARTERBACKS: TOP AVAILABLE FREE AGENTS
Dak Prescott, Cowboys 6-2 • 235 pounds • 27 years old A solid starter who has a nice TD-INT ratio over his first five seasons (104-40), Prescott is an accurate thrower and very mobile. However, he’s coming off a compound fracture and dislocation of his right ankle, so it remains to be seen if this will impact his game moving forward.
Engaging with the Arts
The 31st annual Celebration of Fine Art returns January 16 in Scottsdale, Arizona.
History of Ranch Rodeo
A working cowboy’s event, the modern-day version of a rodeo is vastly different from its predecessor, the traditional ranch rodeo. Instead of the glamorous and sometime theatrical performances of today’s professional rodeos, ranch rodeos remain dedicated to the skill and determination necessary to work a ranch. From their grass-roots evolution in the 19th century to the thousands of annual events today, ranch rodeos connect generations of cowboys and cowgirls across the country.
Navajo jeweler Boyd Tsosie brings his life and culture into his art.
Mr. Jones beats Washington again, and Eagles-Giants, 70s-style
If you were Daniel Jones, you would probably wish that there were only two teams in the NFL: the New York Football Giants, and the Washington Football Team. After all, four of Jones’ five career wins have come against Washington. It got me wondering if other Giants quarterbacks had such luck to start their careers against division rivals:
Leadership, prep, and even “gut” over analytics
The Giants are not far from breaking through as an organization. They have the right coach, by most accounts, and they have the right quarterback, by fewer accounts.
THE 12TH DIMENSION
Trading places? Nope
The NFC Least: Someone has to win it
Through the first four weeks of the 2020 season, it is abundantly clear that the worst division in the NFL is the NFC East. Below are statistical evaluations of each team, in order of the current standings:
Garrett returns to Arlington
WEEK 5: GIANTS AT COWBOYS