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Tuesday, March 5, 2024

This 11-Year-Old Cowgirl Made History Competing at the First Nationally Televised Black Rodeo

Kortnee Solomon

Nationwide — Meet Kortnee Solomon, a fourth-generation Texas cowgirl who was only 11 years old when she competed in the first nationally televised Black rodeo back in 2021.

Kortnee, who was born and raised in Texas, comes from a family deeply rooted in rodeo history, according to Andscape. Her mother, Kanesha Jackson, is an 11-time invitational champion, and her father, Cory Solomon, is a Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association tie-down roper. Kortnee’s grandmother, Stephanie Haynes, boasts 18 invitational championships and served on the Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo board, while her grandfather, Sedgwick Haynes, was the Rodeo’s general manager before his passing.

At just 5 years old, Kortnee made her debut at the Bill Pickett Rodeo. She has since secured numerous championships in ladies’ barrel and junior breakaway events.

The Bill Pickett Invitational, one of the oldest Black-owned rodeo circuits, joined forces with Professional Bull Riders for the Showdown in Vegas in 2021, showcasing seven pro events like bareback riding and calf roping. Kortnee, along with other cowboys and cowgirls who participated, made their mark in the historic event that marked the first nationally televised Black Rodeo.

The young cowgirl’s world involves more than just mastering rodeo techniques. She and her mom, based in Hempstead, Texas, care for their horses, handling everything from feeding and grooming to training and riding. Jackson, Kortnee’s mom, emphasized their unique connection with the horses, each with its distinct personality.

The rodeo season usually spans from May to September, with at least one event every weekend. Despite the commitment to the sport, her mother said it is important for Kortnee to have a regular childhood, participating in dance, gymnastics, cheerleading, and basketball.

Kortnee, often the only girl in competitions, remains focused on her performance, setting aside time before each run for solitary contemplation.

“Before I run, I like to be by myself and to think about what I am going to do in that run,” she said.



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