When Stephanie Keith of Dublin, Texas wrote an article here on Texansunited.com about rodeo cowboy Jack Favor, I have to admit that I didn’t have a clue that the Jack Favor of her story was the subject of the movie Still Holding On: The Legend of Cadillac Jack, movie made popular by Clint Black and Lisa Hartman Black.
When I finally put the two together, Ric and I decided to watch the movie again, and then I did a little more research on the Eula cowboy who had such strong rodeo ties to the town of Dublin.
“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.”
And then in 1966 Jack picked up two hitchhikers, murderers who were later arrested, one who supposedly turned state’s evidence, claiming that Jack was the real murderer. This led to the conviction of an innocent Favor who was given a double life sentence in 1967. In a corrupt Louisiana and without funds, it took the Favors seven years to get Jack the retrial that finally exonerated him.
While Favor was probably not the romantic figure portrayed by Black, no one can dispute that he did a lot of good while behind bars where he helped found a prison rodeo with proceeds going to allow the funds for prisoners to travel home under guard in times of family emergencies.
Jack caught the attention of an inmate attorney after he began working with the prison horses, and it was with his help, the attention that reporters finally gave to his story, and a wife who never gave up that caused the feds to step in and allow what the state of Louisiana would not: a new trial in 1974 in which the murderer who did not turn state’s evidence seven years earlier admitted that Jack was innocent.
The DA and the judge in Jack’s first trial were indicted for perjury in Jack’s case. They pled not guilty, and the charges were (of course) later dropped.
Jack stayed in contact with the prison and its inmates for the rest of his life where he helped establish an AA within the prison. Jack lived fourteen years after he was released from prison. He became a car salesman, established Cowboys for Christ in Fort Worth, and toured the state, speaking to young people about staying out of trouble and just how easy it is to find yourself behind bars.
So, what were seven years of Jack Favor’s life worth? According to the state of Louisiana, $55,000, which they paid the Favors for his wrongful imprisonment.
Rodeo great Jack Favor died in 1988.