Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Famous Black Firsts: Cowboy Bill Pickett

The first Black cowboy/rodeo performer was named Bill Pickett. He was born in Travis County, Texas in 1870. He was the second of 13 kids and born to a former slave for a father. When he was 20 he married a former slave whose father was White and a plantation owner because that's how folks rolled back then. By the time he was 10 years old he left school and worked on a ranch. While working on a ranch he created a form of style for taking down steer called bulldogging. Its also a wrestling move whose name now makes sense to me. This technique was created after he saw how bulldogs took down steer and is crazy as hell.

He would jump from a horse, grab onto the steer, and bring it down by biting its lip and pulling back. Eventually it became just twisting their head until they crashed to the ground. This evolved into a sport and is still done till this day. He started participating in rodeos around the country and said that he was Comanche so that racists would allow him to participate. In 1921 he was in two films, The Bull-Dogger and The Crimson Skull which makes the next sentence far too ironic. After retiring in 1932 he was killed when a bronco kicked him in the head. Ain't that a bitch?

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