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Texas Tech Publication Named Best of the Best

Olympian-turned-cowboy stuntman’s memoir is awarded as a Book You Should Know About.

Written by K'Leigh Bedingfield

Kent and his wife Susie.

For the third year in a row, a Texas Tech University Press publication was named a “Best of the Best from the University Presses: Books You Should Know About.”

“Cowboy Stuntman: From Olympic Gold to the Silver Screen,” by Dean Smith with Mike Cox, is among 11 titles published by university presses worldwide to receive this honor.

The Best of the Best books will be presented by a panel of public and secondary school librarians during a program at the American Library Association’s annual meeting in June. Librarians reviewed and evaluated approximately 350 titles published by members of the Association of American University Presses to create the list.

“Cowboy Stuntman” is the memoir of Smith, who won an Olympic gold medal in track and field and later became a film stuntman, doubling actors such as Michael Landon, Steve Martin, Maureen O’Hara, Robert Redford and Roy Rogers.

The Olympian-turned-cowboy stuntman was born in Breckenridge, Texas and attended Graham High School. He won the state championship for 100-yard dash in high school and went to the University of Texas, where he played football and was All-American in track. After playing for the Los Angeles Rams in the NFL for a short time, a friend introduced him to James Garner, who helped him land his first stunt job. Smith appeared in more than 140 movies during his stunting career.

Now at the age of 82, Smith has earned several titles such as Olympian, football player, stuntman, cancer survivor, family man and now author. He resides on his Texas ranch with his wife, Debby, and son, Finis.

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Texas Tech University Press (TTUP) publishes a variety of titles each year ranging from nonfiction titles in natural history and the natural sciences to works in costume and textile history and all aspects of the Great Plains and the American west – especially biography, history, memoir and travel. The press also publishes fiction, young adult and children’s titles, a mystery series and an annual poetry selection.

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