Bill Pickett, a descendant of slaves and native Americans, was a pioneer rodeo cowboy, who in 1900 became a showman. Pickett is credited with inventing steer wrestling, also known as bulldogging, which is still a major event at all rodeos.

Steer wrestling or bulldogging requires a horse-mounted rider to chase a steer, drops from the horse to the steer, then wrestle the steer to the ground by grabbing its horns and pulling it off-balance so that it falls to the ground. The event carries a high risk of injury to the cowboy.

Throughout his career, Pickett participated in countless rodeos. His African American heritage was a large obstacle for entering many rodeos; depending on the competition, he wasn’t allowed to compete against white cowboys because he was black.

African American cowboys are still alive and well. Example? The Compton Cowboys, a group of childhood friends creating a safe community and challenging the impression African Americans can’t be cowboys.  

And Compton Jr. Posse and Compton Jr. Equestrians are teaching the next generation about the horse and rodeo culture.  

This year’s Bill Pickett Rodeo is happening this weekend at the Industry Hills Expo Center.

Bill Pickett Rodeo

The Greatest Show on Dirt
Saturday, July 16 & Sunday, July 17
Industry Hills Expo Center
16200 Temple Avenue
City of Industry

Also happening at the Industry Hills Expo Center:

Haddick’s Towing Custom Car Show
Wednesday, July 13th
Industry Hills Expo Center
16200 Temple Avenue
City of Industry
industryhillsspeedway.com

For more information about the Compton Cowboys, visit comptoncowboys.com

For more information about Compton Jr. Posse and Compton Jr. Equestrians, visit comptonjrequestrians.org

If you have questions, please feel free to contact Gayle Anderson at 323-460-5732, email Gayle at Gayle.Anderson@KTLA.com or Tweet / Instagram Gayle at ktlagayle.

This segment aired on the KTLA 5 Morning News on July 12, 2022.