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Bill Pickett

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BOOK REVIEW: ‘The New Black West’ by Gabriela Hasbun, foreword by Jeff Douvel, Regional Coordinator, Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo

Things sure look different from five feet up. The first time, you might feel nervous to be there; the animal you’re astride doesn’t know you and you don’t know what it’ll do. But before long, you feel like you’re in a rocking chair. You can almost see for miles and you begin to understand power. And in the new book “The New Black West” by Gabriela Hasbun, you see peek history between the ears of a horse.
OAKLAND, CA
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cowboysindians.com

The Legacy Of Bill Pickett

Bill Pickett — the first Black athlete inducted into the Rodeo Hall of Fame — continues to make an impact on cowboying long after his death. If you’ve ever sat in a rodeo arena, you’ve most likely witnessed Bill Pickett’s legacy whether you realized it or not. The Texas-born cowboy is the father of the rodeo event bulldogging — also known as steer wrestling.
SPORTS

The Legend of Pioneering Black Rodeo Cowboy Bill Pickett

Famed rodeo cowboy Bill Pickett was born in 1870 in the community of Jenks Branch, on the border of Travis and Williamson counties. After attending school through fifth grade, he worked as a cowboy in the Taylor area and observed that a herding dog could subdue a bull by biting through its upper lip. He taught himself the risky trick, which amazed spectators and landed him a job in Wild West shows traveling the U.S., Mexico, Canada, and England. Pickett’s innovation, dubbed “bulldogging,” evolved over time into the popular rodeo event known as steer wrestling. Pickett is also credited with being the first Black cowboy movie star, appearing in 1921’s Crimson Skull and 1922’s The Bull-Dogger. Pickett was friends with Western film stars Will Rogers and Tom Mix, both of whom he instructed in the art of cowboying. Tragically, Pickett died in 1932 at age 61 after a horse kicked him in the head. He’s buried on the 101 Ranch near Ponca City, Oklahoma, where he had lived for about 20 years.
TRAVIS COUNTY, TX