The Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo celebrates and honor Black Cowboys and Cowgirls and their contributions to building the west. We highlight the irrefutable global appeal of Black Cowboys and Cowgirls in the West and the stories behind a sub-culture that is still strong today.
Pickett was descended from American Indians and black slaves in the Southwest. He grew up in West Texas, learning to ride and rope as a boy, and became a ranch hand; he performed simple trick rides in town on weekends. In 1900 he became a showman, sponsored by Lee Moore, a Texas rodeo entrepreneur.
In March 1932, Pickett tripped while roping a stallion and fell under the horse, which kicked him in the head. For the next 11 days he clung to life with a fractured skull. Finally, on April 2, 1932, he died in a hospital in Ponca City, Oklahoma. Pickett’s funeral was one of the largest ever held in Oklahoma.
The Dusky Demon
Miller Brothers 101 Ranch, OK
Williamson County, TX
Rodeo legend Bill Pickett had a saying. “What’s gonna happen, gonna happen,” he’d mutter to himself before going face-to-face with a charging bull. Then, with thousands of people watching, he’d do something the crowd never expected to see.
Steer wrestling , also called bulldogging , rodeo event in which a mounted cowboy (or bulldogger ) races alongside and then tackles a full-grown steer. The event starts with the bulldogger and his hazer (a second rider who keeps the steer running straight) on either side of the steer’s chute.
Rodeo itself evolved after the Texas Revolution and the U.S.-Mexican War when Anglo cowboys learned the skills, attire, vocabulary, and sports of the vaqueros.