The Cowboys' Secret
The Cowboys' Secret
A Story About College Hazing
Perfect Bound Softcover
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Texas Cowboy pledge Gabe Higgins drowned during the fraternity’s initiation in the early morning hours of April 29, 1995, after a semester of hazing, including cattle prodding, forced drinking, and paddling. Even though the organization had been on probation for one year due to paddling their pledges, they blatantly continued. The traditional initiation finale was to be a paddling the following morning until “blood ran into their boots.”

Earlier in the semester when Gabe was accepted as a pledge, he had been told to get real drunk, it was gonna hurt. He was paddled that night 20 times, followed by a party with friends and beer and told to act like nothing happened.

Emails to his older brother revealed that Gabe had no idea pledging the Texas Cowboys would involve so much hazing and that if he were to do it over again, he wouldn’t have pledged. He was already a member of the Kappa Sigma fraternity; The Texas Cowboys was a second fraternity exclusively on the University of Texas campus. They were known for shooting the cannon off at the football games. One Texas governor, a state senator and many other high profile men belonged to this group, who, until the mid-50’s branded their pledges.

In the beginning, Gabe felt honored to be asked to join the Cowboys since he was the only Northerner, from Idaho. When his girlfriend told him to quit, his reply was, “No, I can’t. I’ve got too much into this. It’s almost over.”

Gabe was told the initiation would be a piece of cake. It was, until something went seriously awry on the river that fateful night, which remains to be: The Cowboys’ Secret.

Hazing is the wrongful act of initiation. Will your son or daughter be next?

The last third of the book includes information on hazing: the definition, bullying, binge drinking, hazing stories, problems at University of Texas (and many other schools), how hazing can be stopped and advice to parents and students.

Preview coming soon.

Born and raised in Pocatello, Idaho, Ruth, Gabe’s mother, was just a regular mom. She was newly divorced and ten credits away from finishing her Music Degree at Idaho State University when she received the phone call. This unexpected disaster turned her world around. Unable to finish her degree, she quit studying classical flute and began playing the flute only for church, revivals, and Christian conferences. She still plays the piccolo in City Band during the summer. She’s made one CD featuring the flute and intends to make more.

It took nine years to write this book. It was too painful. There were many times that running away from it (for months!) seemed the only logical alternative. However, Ruth kept persevering because she felt there were other young people and parents who would glean from this. If a book like this had been written before Gabe died, she assessed, maybe he might still be alive.

Profoundly, she discovered that for her and possibly others who have lost children, there is healing. Much of Ruth’s healing was connected with music and has taken wing in the musical realm now. She also loves talking to young people about making the right choices, and to parents about helping their children make those choices.

Ruth is now an advocate against hazing. She is also the Director of the Healing Rooms of Pocatello, associated with the Spokane Healing Rooms.

She resides in Pocatello, Idaho.



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Perfect Bound Softcover
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