Bill Pickett Rodeo
Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo
In 2008, I attended my first rodeo, the Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo in Oakland, California founded by Lu Vason in 1984. The Bill Pickett Rodeo is one of the few remaining black rodeos in America, named after the “Greatest Cowboy” of the late 19th century and early 20th. Lou licensed the name Bill Pickett from the family so that young black kids could learn about the history of black cowboys in America. I returned to document the rodeo in 2009 and most recently in 2017.
All of the images were shot on medium format film so the feel of the images are a lot more quiet than the typical rodeo pictures we see in the media. I’m not particularly interested in what happens inside the arena. I’m more interested in the people who attend the rodeo and the participants who put their life at risk every time they compete. It’s all about documenting the conservation of tradition and culture that goes on backstage.
My hope is to continue documenting black cowboys in the West and to raise further awareness of their importance in African American History.
Thank you for looking.