CITY OF INDUSTRY – The exciting Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo, the only nationally touring Black Rodeo, brings two days of enjoyment for the whole family for days on Saturday and Sunday July 20 and 21 at the Industry Hills Expo Center, and featuring Urban Cowboys and Cowgirls performing feats of bravery and expertise. It is by far “The Greatest Show on Dirt!” These competitors will also be joined by horse riding celebrity cowboys like actors Glyn Turman, Bill Pickins, Jr., and Delroy Lindo. In fact you never know who is going to show up to celebrate the historical cultural legacy of Black Americans shaping America’s Western heritage at the Bill Pickett Rodeo!
Events will include Bare Back Ridin’, Tie Down Ropin’, Ladies Steer Undecoratin’, Barrel Racin’, Bull Ridin’, Muttin Bustin’ (for kids), and of course Bull Doggin’ the rodeo stunt invented by none other than the Legendary Black Cowboy from Texas Bill Pickett!
“Bull Dogging” is when horse-mounted rider chases a steer, drops from the horse to the steer, then wrestles the steer to the ground by grabbing and twisting its horns. Pickett also used his teeth, as a dog would do. His exploits also made Mr. Pickettl one of America’ s first stunt men. He provided the vision for all those cowboy movies where the hero jumps from his horse to stop wild horses or a runaway stage coach.
Born in 1870, Pickett was also a ranch cowboy and he and his brothers also operated Pickett Bros. Bronco Busters and Rough Riders Association in Texas. Pickett became very famous for his work on the rodeo circuit where he was often billed as the “Dusky Demon.” In 1905 the Miller Brothers who operated the famous 101 Ranch Wild West Show, hired Pickett for their show and moved him and his entire family to Oklahoma. Pickett performed across the U.S. as well as in Madison Square Garden in New York and across the seas in England, and appeared in at least one cowboy movie.
The National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma inducted Pickett into its Hall of Fame in 1971, and the museum (www.nationalcowboymuseum.org) hosts a regular Bill Pickett Program every Saturday where children learn all about the feats and exploits of this pioneering Black rodeo cowboy. In 1987, a large bronze statue depicting Pickett bulldogging was unveiled at the Fort Worth Cowtown Coliseum and a . The National Multicultural Western Heritage Museum in Fort Worth, Texas (www.cowboysofcolor.org ) features displays and programs on prominent figures in American history, including African American, Native American and European trailblazers from the Old West and the Buffalo Soldiers and inducted Pickett into its Hall of Fame in 2003. The Texas Historical Commission and the Woodson-dickey History Club erected a monument plaque to Pickett in 1991. Mr. Pickett is also depicted on a U.S. Postage stamp (so is his brother Ben due to a photo mix-up.) Pickett died in 1932 and is buried on White Eagle Monument Hill in Oklahoma.
The Saturday show starts at 7 p.m. and the Sunday show starts at 3 p.m. Tickets: Children $17 Adv/$20 at gate; Adults $20 Adv/$24 at gate; Arena $30 Adv/$35 at gate. Tickets for the Bill Pickett Rodeo are available at Ticketmaster outlets, ticketmaster.com, Black Voice News in Riverside-San Bernardino; in Carson, CA at Venni Mac’s M&M Soul and at the Postal Annex on E. University Dr.; in Inglewood at Inglewood Tickets on S. Market Street, at Ms. B’s M&M Soul Food on W. Manchester Blvd at Zahra’s Books N. Things on N. La Brea Ave., and also at A Cultural Affair Boutique also on N. La Brea Ave.; in Long Beach at Shades of Afrika on E. 4th St.; in Los Angeles at Zambezi Bazzar on Degnan Blvd. in Leimert Park and at Simply Wholesome on W. Slauson Ave..
Proceeds also benefit the Bill Pickett Memorial Scholarship Fund which provides scholarships to Black high school and college students involved or interested in pursuing careers in Rodeo or animal Science. The Industry Hills Expo Center is located at 16200 Temple Ave. in the City of Industry, CA 91744. For Information and Group Sales call 310-674-6700, or the Hotline at 310-599-5555, and visit online at www.billpickettrodeo.com, 866-LVRODEO. (L.E. Pezant, WSSN 7-11-13)