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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Nation’s Only Black Touring Rodeo Celebrates 30th Anniversary — Making Its Way Across The Country

2014 Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo Schedule — From Denver, CO to Washington, DC

Bill Pickett Rodeo 30th Anniversary

Oakland, CA — The nationally renowned Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo (BPIR) is excited to announce that its 2014 touring season marks its 30th anniversary on the road – taking thrilling professional rodeo competitions to delighted audiences and rodeo fans across the United States. Having already competed this year in Denver, CO and Memphis, TN., some of the nation’s most skilled and entertaining Black cowboys and cowgirls will soon ride into a town near you—from the San Francisco Bay Area July 12-13th to the season’s championship grand finals competition in Washington DC‘s Prince George’s Showplace Arena September 19-20th, and locales in between.

In each toured city Riders choke dust as fans and novice spectators throughout the country cheer for hard riding competitors as they battle to be named the best after a season of competition. At every stop, dust will fly as spectators cheer for their favorite competitors during thrilling Calf Ropin’, exhilarating Bareback Ridin’, Bull Doggin, Ladies Barrel Racin’, Junior Barrel Racin’, Ladies Steer Undecoratin’, and gripping Bull Ridin.’

The remainder of the BPIR 30th Anniversary touring competition is as follows:

Saturday, July 12, 2014 | 2:30 pm
Sunday, July 13, 2014 | 2:30 pm
Rowell Ranch Rodeo Grounds
9711 Dublin Canyon Road, Hayward, CA

Los Angeles, CA
Saturday, July 19, 2014 | 7:00 pm
Sunday, July 20, 2014 | 3:30 pm
Industry Hills Expo Center
16200 Temple Ave., City of Industry, CA

Atlanta, GA
Saturday Aug. 2, 2014 | 7:30pm
Sunday Aug. 3, 2014 | 3:30pm
Georgia International Horse Park
1996 Centennial Olympic Pkwy, Conyers, GA

Washington, DC
Bill Picket Championship Rodeo
Friday, Sept. 19, 2014 | 10:00 am
(Rodeo for Kidz Sake)
Saturday, Sept. 20, 2014 | 1:30 pm & 7:30 pm
Show Place Arena/Prince George’s Equestrian Ctr.
14900 Pennsylvania Ave., Upper Marlboro, MD


Long ago, this rodeo’s president and producer, Lu Vason, challenged the false perception of the absence of Blacks in the development of the West, while molding his touring rodeo into an unquestionable success. A former entertainment producer, media impresario and marketing consultant, Vason founded the BPIR in 1984.

Having validated there had indeed been Black cowboys and cowgirls in the Old West, Vason was inspired to look for and assemble modern day Black wrangles. He did and the Bill Pickett Invitational rodeo was established. The Black rodeo has been a powerful tool in reaching his goals of educating people on the Black West, as well as building a profitable business.

The Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo has built a following over 30 years that has generation-after-generation coming back year-after-year. “I am both pleased and proud that the Bill Pickett Rodeo continues to be an annual must-attend event for thousands of fans throughout the country,” said Vason.

For more details, visit www.billpickettrodeo.com


Known as the “Dusky Demon,” Bill Pickett (1870-1932) was the best-known African American rodeo performer of all time. He invented the rodeo sport of bulldogging—now known as steer wrestling—and entertained millions of people around the world, showcasing his bronco-and bull-riding and roping skills in Wild West shows, circuses, and world’s fairs. The professional cowboy and rodeo champion was small in stature but he was a larger-than-life Western legend in his own time. His rodeo career spanned more than 40 years. In 1989, he was inducted into the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA), and in 1996, Bill Pickett was the first rodeo athlete inducted into the Black Cowboy Walk of Fame in Denver, Colorado.

Retired since 1916, Pickett died in April 1932 following a roping accident. His funeral was one of the largest ever held in Oklahoma. He was buried high on a hill at White Eagle Monument, where the Cherokee Strip Cowboy Association set up a limestone marker in his memory. According to Frank Billings, Colonel Zack Miller of the 101 Ranch called him “the greatest sweat-and-dirt cowhand that ever lived.” For more detailed information about Mr. Pickett, please view his biography on the BPIR website.

To learn more about the Bill Pickett Rodeo, its competitors and tour schedule, please visit www.billpickettrodeo.com. Obtain high resolution rodeo images at http://photos.billpickettrodeo.com

“Bill Pickett Memorial Scholarship Fund,” a non-profit entity Tax ID #84-1064797


Toni Beckham | PR, et Cetera, Inc.
209-832-8020 / 408-499-3664c

Sheri Vason, Assistant to the Producer