Welcome BPIR Latest News!

Articles, news and photos about the Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo

BPIR IS STILL ON PAUSE DUE TO COVID-19

As all of you know, COVID-19 threw everyone a curve ball in 2020 causing BPIR to pause its 2020 tour.  The virus continues to be relentless causing all of us to make adjustments to both our personal and business lives.

While we were hopeful that by now, our country would have the virus under control, we find that this did not happen. We are still very much dealing with the virus and must continue to do the right thing. We would never put you, our BPIR family, supporters, venue partners or sponsors in harm’s way, therefore as we enter 2021, are keeping BPIR on Pause for the 1st and 2nd quarters.

Our first rodeo is usually in January on MLK’s holiday at the National Western Stock show (NWSS). The NWSS has cancelled it stock show for 2021 and we have cancelled the MLK Rodeo also.  We have also cancelled the Memphis rodeo in March due to the virus.

While the virus continues to cause infection and deaths across the country and around the world, the good news is there are various vaccines that will be available sometime this spring or summer to all citizens. What we do not know at this time, is where we will be later in the year as to the containment of the virus. Therefore, we are reserving making any additional decision about BPIR rodeo scheduled for the remainder of 2021 until more is known.

We assure you that we are looking at all options and potential new approaches to create rodeo opportunities in a safe manner for all in 2021. I will be monitoring COVID-19 and determining when, how and if we can return in 2021 in a safe, reasonable manner and if the medical and scientific communities approve activities.

BPIR, while still on pause, continues making a difference in the community by staying involved where and when we can. We will continue to “Ride with your virtually”, so we encourage you to stay plugged in at www.billpickettrodeo.com or on our social media pages (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) or by subscribing to our newsletters.

I personally thank everyone who has supported us over the 37 years for your patience and assure you that we will get through this together by taking one day at a time.  Keep the faith that BPIR will continue telling the stories of Black Cowboys and Cowgirls, that we will rodeo, laugh, and embrace each other sometime in the future.

Until we can all rodeo together, please practice physical distancing, stay out of large groups, wash, and sanitize your hands everywhere you go, wear your mask/facial coverings and be smart and careful when out in public. 

We love you and continue to pray for your protection!

Valeria Howard Cunningham
President

Savanah Roberts

Scholastic Magazine

The gate flew open and Savannah Roberts took off. Perched on her horse, Short Shank, Savannah could hear the roar of the crowd. The 12-year-old and her horse raced at top speed, whipping around barrels.

No other rider could match her speed. Savannah, the youngest person in the competition, won the barrel racing event at the Bill Pickett Championship Rodeo last September. The rodeo celebrates and honors African American cowboys and cowgirls.

“Winning at this rodeo made me feel

Maurice Wade Made His Cowboy Dreams Come True

Video and photos by Emily Maxwell

During his childhood, Maurice Wade watched old Wester films with his family every weekend. He loved watching the good guys win. Despite only seeing white cowboys portrayed on the screen, he was determined to become one when he grew up, just like his heroes. 

Bill Pickett, legendary cowboy Taylor, Texas, descendant of Africans and Cherokee Indians, was born in 1870, five years after the end of the Civil War. Pickett invented the technique of “Bulldogging”, which earned him the nickname: “The Bull -Dogger. ”

American Cowgirls & Cowboys

by Cyril Bailleuldu

It was in 2012, quite by chance, that the photographer discovered African American cowboys and cowgirls and the Bill Pickett Rodeo in Atlanta.

Bill Pickett, legendary cowboy Taylor, Texas, descendant of Africans and Cherokee Indians, was born in 1870, five years after the end of the Civil War. Pickett invented the technique of “Bulldogging”, which earned him the nickname: “The Bull -Dogger. ”

Capturing The Vibrant Culture Of Black Cowboys

By F Jones - June 10, 2019

I started getting interested in cowboys after my neighbor in Oakland invited me to join her at the Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo in 2007 — my first ever. I was raised in cities (San Salvador and Miami) and had never experienced much of country life. Being out on a ranch and around horses was a new experience. Witnessing the connection the cowboys had with the horses and the glamour of riding was quite captivating. I was immediately hooked by the example of Americana and black history.

 

The Black Yeehaw: Fashion and History at the Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo

GQ

Every year, the Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo travels the country, celebrating the legacy of the black cowboy. We brought some of the coolest Western-inspired fashion to the tour's Oakland stop and met the cowboys and cowgirls carrying on the tradition.

 

Bill Pickett Rodeo celebrates the legacy of Black cowboys

Rolling Out Magazine

Lil Nas X’s hit single “Old Town Road” introduced millennials to country music and R&B singer K Michelle considers herself a trailblazer in the genre as she is currently working on a country album. However, truth be told, African Americans have had ties to country music and the lifestyle therein much longer than many realize.

 

The real 'Old Town Road': Lil Nas X highlights black cowboy culture across US

USA Today

LOS ANGELES – Sitting on top of an enormous bucking bull, Ky-Manee Hardy says he has "all of the power in the world." The only thing preventing him from soaring through the air is his right-handed grip on a bull rope and his knees straddling the animal's torso.

 

The Greatest Show on Dirt!

City Pride Magazine

A white sedan hurtles down Flat Shoals Road and suddenly slows at the sight of a man dressed in cowboy gear riding a horse.

The man, Arkansas Dave, commands Chico Bang, his white and brown spotted walking horse, to rear up on his hind legs.

 

 

Where are Atlanta’s black rodeo riders?

Atlanta Journal Constitution

A white sedan hurtles down Flat Shoals Road and suddenly slows at the sight of a man dressed in cowboy gear riding a horse.

The man, Arkansas Dave, commands Chico Bang, his white and brown spotted walking horse, to rear up on his hind legs.

 

 

Capturing the vibrant culture of black cowboys

The Undefeated

I started getting interested in cowboys after my neighbor in Oakland invited me to join her at the Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo in 2007 — my first ever. I was raised in cities (San Salvador and Miami) and had never experienced much of country life. Being out on a ranch and around horses was a new experience. Witnessing the connection the cowboys had with the horses and the glamour of riding was quite captivating. I was immediately hooked by the example of Americana and black history.

 

Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo provides rare glimpse at African American cowboys, cowgirls

LA Sentinal

Long before #OscarsSoWhite became a thing, Barbara Love knew something was off. Like a lot of people, she grew up watching Westerns on TV and at the theatres. It was who she didn’t see that caught her attention.

 

Richmond celebrates nation’s lone African-American rodeo

The Richmond Standard

The Richmond community was well represented at this year’s famous Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo, which galloped into the Rowell Ranch Rodeo Grounds in Castro Valley over the weekend.

 

Bill Pickett Rodeo Blazing Into SoCal

Precint Reporter Group

For over 35 years, the BPIR has toured throughout the U.S.A. entertaining millions with thrilling professional rodeo competitions of the most skilled and entertaining Black cowboys and cowgirls worldwide.

 

MLK Jr. African American Heritage Rodeo

National Western Stock Show

Keep Black Rodeo Alive

Profile: Torry Johnson

"The black cowboy was left out of the history books. They were left out of the TV. So society had nothing to even help educate them that there were black cowboys."

This all African-American rodeo is keeping a forgotten legacy alive.

#BlackHistoryMonth