The Commerce Journal

Opinion

November 27, 2013

Going from prison to publishing

COMMERCE — Troy Buck was raised in Andrews.

“My daddy was a horse trader and so it was obvious where I was gonna go. I joined the Texas Rodeo Association when I was 19, then moved into the professional ranks when I was 22. I was a bull rider and calf roper for 14 years.”

He made it to the National Finals Rodeo in 1976, 77 and 78. When he retired from rodeo in 1978 he started driving a truck. In 1999, when he was 55 years old, he was sentenced to 12 years in prison for DWI. There was no accident involved, he was not a heavy drinker and the charges were 13 years apart. He served the whole 12 years and was released on June 1, 2011. While in prison he wrote 10 books.

“When I would finish one, I would mail it out to some friends, and they took care of them until I got out. They were all handwritten with a pencil and paper while I was in a nine by six cellblock. I’m working on three more books now, but while I was incarcerated I wrote westerns, rodeo stories, murder mysteries and adventure novels. I had to do something to keep my sanity. I did six years before I started writing. While I was out on the recreation yard one day I was telling a few guys about some of my rodeo stuff and one of them suggested that I write down some of those stories. My first novel was a rodeo story based out of Andrews.”

Troy had always admired Elmer Kelton’s writing and sent some of his rodeo stories to the famous author. Mr. Kelton got two of them published in western magazines. The two became friends by mail; and Mr. Kelton, who was born in Andrews County, encouraged Troy to write novels. Troy learned about the drug business in prison.

“There were four thousand men on the unit I was on in Huntsville. I would say 80 percent of those are drug-related cases. Some of those guys would tell me they had never had a job. They just sold drugs.”

Tiger Tale Publishing Company of Odessa is getting some of Troy’s books on the market. The first title is “Vigilante Grannies.”

“It’s about grandmothers who form a vigilante group. The drug dealers moved into their once peaceful community and started drug deals, so these grannies went and bought pistols to combat the drug dealers.”

The book is available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble and tigertale.com. Troy says this writing experience has put him in another world and he is enjoying it.

“I make speeches to schools and talk to the kids about some of my experiences. I get interviewed by news media and get on talk shows. Even though I graduated from high school in another city, my class at Andrews High School invited me back for a reunion.”

Tumbleweed Smith of Big Spring is a folklorist, humorist, after dinner speaker and producer of “The Sound of Texas” radio series. Contact him at ts@tumbleweedsmith.com

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