The 2017 nationally renowned Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo (BPIR) rides into the City of Industry Saturday, July 15 for a 6:30 p.m. performance and Sunday, July 16, for a 3:30 p.m. performance. For more than 33 years, the BPIR has toured throughout the country entertaining millions with thrilling professional rodeo competitions of the most skilled and entertaining Black cowboys and cowgirls worldwide.
Southern Californians will enjoy African American cowboys, cowgirls and youngsters choking dust and cheer for hard riding competitors as they battle to be named the best after a season of competition. Attendees from all communities of Los Angeles, Riverside and San Bernardino counties can expect 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’. It’s always a great weekend of high family entertainment and scrumptious food.
The 33rd BPIR continues on to keep the legacy of its’ founder Lu Vason alive with the same professional, family-oriented and always exciting entertainment. The rodeo is the longest running African American family event other than the Ebony Fashion Fair which toured for 50 years. Lu Vason passed away at the age of 76 on May 17, 2015. Actors, Glynn Turman, James Pickens Jr., Oba Babatune and Reginald T. Dorsey return as the official Grand Marshall’s for the year’s rodeo.
Industry Hills Expo Center is located at 16200 Temple Ave., City of Industry.
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, Colo.
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.”
Tickets are available online or through various ticket outlets. The price range are from $20-$35.
To purchase online, please visit http://bit.ly/BillPickettRodeotix.