Bill Pickett Memorial Scholarship Fund

  • Executive Summary

    Executive Summary

    Since March 1987, the Bill Pickett Memorial Scholarship Fund has demonstrated an abiding commitment to the rodeo and the arts. Our steadfast focus has been providing educational opportunities. Through a 12-month strategic planning process, the Fund has clarified the vision that will guide us in the coming years and support our heritage scholarship, arts for kidz sake, kids rodeo and educational programs.

    Our goal is to preserve the heritage and legacy of African American contributions to the American West and to give recognition to the cowboys and cowgirls who were pioneers in the sport of rodeos. We acknowledge, educate, and provide cultural and educational events that continue to honor the rich history of the American West.

    The Fund plans to continue the tradition by supporting the Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo and to provide an avenue for those seeking to develop their horseman skills and compete professionally through events and funding support. In addition we provide enriching educational, arts and cultural experiences to multicultural and despaired communities.

    We are a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit, cultural and educational organization.

  • Our Mission

    The Fund endeavors to strengthen, promote and we provide financial support to community, civic, cultural and educational events within local communities through our arts for kidz sake, rodeo for kidz sake programs, education scholarships and sponsorship grants. To this end, we build on the legacy and heritage of great people, we honor the rich culture and contributions that African American has made to the American West and tell the story of African Americans in the west; the importance of the Black Cowboys/Cowgirls and their place in history.

    The Bill Pickett Memorial Scholarship Fund (BPMSF) is committed to enriching and enhancing the lives of African Americans and the heritage that African Americans contributed to the west and arts. We will fulfill our mission by:

    • Preserving the heritage and contributions of African Americans in the west.
    • Honoring the role of the Black Cowboy and Cowgirl by showcasing their talent at the Bill Pickett and MLK Rodeos.
    • Promoting Black Cowboys and Cowgirls throughout this country.
    • Inspire current and future generations by promoting positive images of African Americans globally.
    • Providing scholarships to deserving students.
    • Maintaining our status by preserving the legacy of our founder, Lu Vason, and his vision for the supporting our youth through scholarships and presenting the Bill Pickett Heritage Rodeo across the country.
  • Our Goals

    The Fund has established four overarching goals that will shape our program areas as well as our funding decisions, We will pursue:

    1. A bold and creative approach to providing educational and cultural enrichment experiences.
    2. Deep and broad understanding for the black cowboy and cowgirl locally and nationally.
    3. Wide participation of underrepresented communities in education and the arts.
    4. Strong collaboration in the philanthropic sector in support of the rodeo and the arts among organizations supported by the Fund.

  • Our Values

    The Bill Pickett Memorial Scholarship Fund (BPMSF) values:

    • Honesty
    • Integrity
    • Passion
    • Leadership
    • Diversity
    • Quality
  • Strategic Program Plan

    Our balance of heritage and culture is visible in the Fund’s six program areas. We will continue much of our current work, discontinue past projects that have run their course, and embark on new and strengthened areas.

    1. Scholarship Program
    2. Cultural and Arts Heritage
    3. Kids Programs – Arts for Kidz Sake and Rodeo for Kidz Sake
    4. Educational Events
  • Our Value Proposition Statement

    Our Heritage honors Culture! Building on the legacy and heritage of great people, we honor the rich culture and contributions that African American has made to the American West!

  • Chairman Initiatives

    Ken Johnson, Chair

    The four program areas will be supplement by the Fund’s chairman’s initiatives. We will be successful as we:

    • Provide diverse opportunities for minorities.
    • Provide students scholarships and access to special events/programs to help advance their learning and education.
    • Provide programs that expand knowledge of the arts.


    As part of our Rodeo for Kidz Sake initiative, we invited over 650 kids/families to fill our Kidz Corner to honor the legacy of our founder, Lu Vason. In addition, we awarded a $1,000 education scholarship to Jhani Hardin. A special THANKS to our sponsors and donors of the 2016 MLK Jr. African American Heritage Rodeo of Champions Kidz Corner:

    Thanks to everyone for all of their hard work and dedication, this makes the Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo and Bill Pickett Memorial Scholarship Fund so successful! We are thrilled with the support of our many sponsors, donors and contributors, our talented cowboys and cowgirls, and our amazing audience who come to enjoy the many events.

    Burkett Family Foundation | Colorado Black Democratic Legislative Caucus | City and County of Denver Safety Youth Program | Kaiser Permanente Business Resource Groups

    Rosemarie Allen | James Ardnt | Matthew & Priya Burkett | Cuttin’ Up Beauty Academy | Vern Howard | Stephanie Jackson | Carla Ladd | Ouida Magee | Millie Cooper-Murphy | Kathy Nesbitt | William Oshodin | Wystone’s World Teas

    Join us in Memphis, TN for our Rodeo for Kidz Sake on April 1, 2016!

  • BPMSF Board of Directors

    The primary responsibility of board directors is to participate in the development of policy and major decision-making at board meetings held at least four times a year. Another key responsibility is to be active on an ongoing basis in a committee of the board.

    Kenneth Johnson, Board Chair
    Valeria Howard-Vason, Vice Chair
    Margo Wade LaDrew, Secretary

    Board Members
    Terrance Carroll
    Happy Haynes
    Jeff DouVal
    Peggy Wortham
    Stephanie Haynes
    Ronni Davis-Frank

    Advisory Board Members
    Barbara Shannon-Bannister
    Jesse Gillory
    James Pickens Jr.
    Glynn Turman
    Maurice Wade

  • BPMSF Application

    Please download this form and mail to: BPMSF, PO Box 39163, Denver CO 80239


  • Supported Events

    Supported Events

    The Bill Pickett Memorial Scholarship is donating $200

Our Programs

  • Guiding Principles

    Guiding Principles

    Our Guiding Principles will affirm our professionalism, determine and govern our actions.

    • Our actions/services support the sport of rodeo to African Americans and teach the importance of sportsmanship and expose the positive image of Blacks in the West to the general public.
    • We enhance the African American experience through our family friendly cultural events and activities, such as Black Rodeos, kids’ events and concerts.
    • We partner to preserve the Heritage of Bill Pickett and Blacks in the West throughout the world.
    • We strive to teach the youth many valuable lessons such as the value of hard work, character development, responsibility, respect, and pride in their achievements.
    • We provide funding support for athletes to compete professionally in the Rodeo Industry. In addition, we provide funding to youth wanting to learn to ride horses.
    • We produce educational content that promotes positive images of African Americans and their role in history and the west.
  • Conclusion


    The Bill Picket Memorial Scholarship Fund Strategic Plan for Programs sets forth the Fund’s vision, broad goals and funding direction. While the strategic plan will guide our programs as we pursue the Fund’s mission, it will also require refinement as the rodeo and arts evolve.

    We believe that this strategic plan will help us better provide opportunities to tell the story of the black cowboys and cowgirls as we educate upcoming generations. The strategic plan will allow us to more effectively acknowledge, educate and provide cultural and educational events that continue to honor the legacy of African American contributions to the West and the arts.