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