Here's What You Need To Know About The Real Fletcher Street Riding Club Behind "Concrete Cowboy"
If the movie Concrete Cowboy had you in awe of bona fide buckaroos in the middle of Philadelphia, you're not alone!
The unique horse-based home of characters like Harp (played by Idris Elba) and Cole (Caleb McLaughlin) had me wanting to see what the real-life Fletcher Street Urban Riding Club is all about.
Founded by Ellis Ferrell in 2004, the Fletcher Street Urban Riding Club maintains a 100-plus-year tradition of urban Black cowboys.
The club's motto is "Building character through quality horsemanship," and its mission is to offer positive outdoor recreation for the community.
There is a rich history of Black Americans and horse culture, starting from just after the Civil War.
Life on horseback is a tradition upheld by today's Philly riders.
The movie accurately portrays what it's like for newbies to learn the ropes (a process that involves a lot of mucking stalls).
The scenes where cowfolks cozy up to a fire, having fun and swapping stories, are also plucked from real life.
One thing Ferrell wants to clarify is that the story of Cole and Smush (played by Jarrel Jherome) is not based on his life.
But a realistic part of the film is how misinformed outsiders often view the stables as a hostile environment for the animals.
Despite this, another accurate element of the film is how the stables are constantly threatened by gentrification.
Even today, the future of the Strawberry Mansion stables is uncertain as developers seek to build affordable housing for seniors on the land.
Because of this, the folks behind the real-life Fletcher Street have started a GoFundMe so that fans of the film and their mission can help them secure a new location.
They've already surpassed their goal (yay!), but every dollar earned will help keep Philly kids and adults riding off into many a sunset.
If you loved Concrete Cowboy or have some heartening horse tales of your own, let us know in the comments!
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