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I Remember Jack Favor From Rodeo Cowboy To Prison Stripes

Now, most of us have run into a cowboy from time to time, especially living where we do and most of us know from experience that a cowboy’s nature is to help his neighbor when at all possible.  Eula cowboy, Jack Favor, learned a hard lesson by helping out his fellow neighbor in the late 1960s.

Jack traveled with the rodeo circuit in the early days when Everett Colborn put on the spectacular Dublin rodeo, also known as the Colborn Bowl in the early 1940s.  Favor competed well in all events: saddle bronc, bull riding, steer roping, and bull dogging.  Bull dogging was his overall best event, setting a record of 2.2 seconds at the Houston rodeo.  It’s no wonder that this was his best event because Jack was a strapping 6’ 2” and weighed in at about 230 pounds.

In 1942, a bronc named “Hell’s Angel” was voted bronc of the year.  He was a salty one!  Most cowboys had a rough time spurring him out for the full 8 seconds, but not Jack Favor.  Now, this story has always been under much speculation throughout the years.  Even Harry Bradberry, owner of Bradberry’s Best in Dublin, Texas and son of Charlie Ben Bradberry, recalled it at a recent Dublin Rodeo Heritage Museum function.

Harry said that Jack had a busted leg at this particular rodeo and that it was hurting him something awful.  When he drew “Hell’s Angel,” Jack was determined that he was going to show everyone that he could conquer the beast at all costs so he took some ether and sprayed it on his leg until the pain was gone.  Then, Favor jumped in the shoot, got settled down on top of the fiery bronc, and spurred out the beast for an unbelievable ride.

Every time Jack told the story, it was always the same. No one knows if he actually used ether to numb his broken leg or if it was just something he said to add more thrill to the story.

As I said, Favor chased the rodeo circuit for all over the U.S.  In the mid 1960s, his life changed while he was merely being a good neighbor by picking up two hitchhikers near Oklahoma City.  Little did he know that these two men were actually hit men for the mafia, or so it has been told.

The three bunked in a motel and split meals together on their way down to Louisiana.  Jack dropped them off in Bossier City and then headed back north to Oklahoma.  A few days after the trio separated, the hitchhikers murdered an elderly couple at a bait and tackle shop.  When officials caught the two, they quickly tried to lay the blame on Jack. He was soon arrested himself.

During the trial, the two hit men convinced the judge and jury that they were innocent.  Jack was then convicted of murder in 1967 and was sentenced to life in prison for a crime that he did not commit.  Jack Favor was transported to the Angola State Penitentiary in Angola, Louisiana.  Here, Jack quickly earned the name “Warden Jack.”

Favor’s nephew, Richard, said he whipped six people as soon as he got there.  His family members always said that he was quite baffling, a rather friendly fellow, but he was also quick to fight.

Jack did more than fight in prison; he also expressed his “good” side.  During his term there, he worked in the prison library and hospital.  He formed a Fellowship of Christian Athletes group and also helped build the Angola Prison Rodeo to what it is today.  Jack was also responsible for adding the “Bust Out” and “Guts and Glory” events that involved scrambling inmates and bucking bulls.

Favor was allowed to travel the state in order to promote the rodeo and meet with stock contractors.  He used the funds raised by the rodeo to help finance trips for prisoners under guard in times of family emergencies. Today, the Angola Rodeo is still going strong and is now referred to the wildest show in the South!

In 1967, a group of Jack Favor’s friends finally scraped up enough money to get him another trial.  This time the jury got it right.  Jack was finally proven innocent after seven years in prison.  He then came home to Arlington and lived out the rest of his life teaching youth about how to stay out of trouble…Stephanie Keith

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About Fredda Jones

Fredda Davis Jones was raised “in the country” in Comanche County and learned very early that creativity and innovation are traits that can flourish even in small-town Texas and that with enough effort, indeed nothing is impossible, including being married to the same man for over 40 years! Rickey and Fredda have 2 children, 5 grandchildren, and a crazy life that includes sitting in the bleachers several times a week. The rest of her time is spent creating great content for texansunited.com and marketing small-town Texas.
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9 Responses to I Remember Jack Favor From Rodeo Cowboy To Prison Stripes

  1. Janette Johnson says:

    I went to church with Jack’s son, Tommy Favor, in Mansfield, TX. Tommy is a pretty fair physical replica of his dad. Jack visited our church several times and seemed like a really decent guy. Of course he was a lot older then. He donated a copy of his book, “In Jack’s Favor” to our church library but it had to be placed on a “special” request to read list as some of the recounts of his prison time was not for tender ears! I enjoyed reading this story.

  2. Harrell Gilbreath says:

    Fredda, did not know until reading your blogs that you ran track and still love the sport.I am working on a story that you will probably enjoy.
    My story will be about my nephew Bobby Gilbreath. Bobby graduated from Iowa Park High School in 1961 after an unbelievable career in High School Track. In 3 years Bobby collected 8 Gold Medals in 6 different events setting 3 State records. I was there for every Gold medal and have some stories about How the events played out and about the young man who for three years was invincible.

  3. Sue Beard says:

    Summary of Case:
    Wrongly convicted of a double murder and sentenced to life in prison based on the testimony of the prosecution’s star witness, who was the actual murderer. Jack Favor had been a rodeo star, and with the aid of a jailhouse lawyer filed a writ of habeas corpus that was denied by the Louisiana state courts, but granted by a federal judge. Favor was acquitted after his retrial in 1974 and he was released after seven years wrongful imprisonment. Favor filed a false imprisonment lawsuit against the State of Louisiana, which was settled for $55,000. While imprisoned Favor participated in the first Angola Rodeo opened to the public in 1967, and the rodeo became the largest annual prison rodeo in the United States.
    Conviction Caused By:
    Perjurious testimony by the prosecution’s star witness, the actual murderer.
    Innocence Proved By:
    Acquitted after a retrial.

  4. Mason Romans says:

    Jack Favor was a close friend of my grandfathers. He and his wife (Ponder?) stayed with my grandparents from time to time when Jack and my grandpa rodeo’d together. My grandpa always knew Jack was innocent, but my grandma claimed that with Jack’s temper, he was capable of that crime. This made my grandpa mad so she kept her opion to herself.
    Mason Romans III

  5. Justin Wilson says:

    Jack was my great uncle. Thanks to him my dad was shown what it meant to be a man and more importantly what it means to be a father. when he passed away i remember sitting in the church pew. As i sat there i looked over my shoulder i was amazed at the number of people people. Every seat was full and all the aisles were full of people. He always made time to people.

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