Bill Pickett Invitational - Nation's Only Touring Black Rodeo Announces 2012 Schedule

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Beginning Friday/Saturday, March 30/31 in Memphis, TN.

The Bill Pickett Invitational is the nation's only touring Black rodeo... I look forward to the new Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo touring schedule every year because the competition is always fierce, exciting and thrilling for all who participate.

To the delight of thrilled audiences and rodeo fans across the United States, some of the nation’s most skilled and entertaining Black cowboys and cowgirls will ride into a town near you. The nation’s only touring Black rodeo competition—the thrilling Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo (BPIR)—will celebrate its 28th year showcasing its skilled athletes' performances and competitions. Annually, the BPIR tour schedule takes the show to cities like Denver, Memphis, Phoenix, Oakland, Los Angeles, Atlanta, and Washington, DC. During each performance, 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 Undercoatin’, and gripping Bull Ridin.’


Friday, March 30, 2012 | 10:30 am
(Rodeo for Kidz Sake)
Saturday, March 31, 2012 | 6:30 pm
Agricenter Showplace Arena
105 South Germantown Rd., Memphis, TN
Children $12/15; adults ($21/$23)

Saturday, July 14, 2012 | 2:30 pm
Sunday, July 15, 2012 | 2:30 pm
Rowell Ranch Rodeo Grounds,
9711 Dublin Canyon Road, Hayward, CA
Children ($16/$19; adults ($19/22);
reserved ($22/$24); box seats ($25/$27)

Saturday, July 21, 2012 | 7:00 pm
Sunday, July 22, 2012 | 3:30 pm
Industry Hills Expo Center
16200 Temple Ave., City of Industry, CA 91744
Child: ($16/$19; adults ($21/$22); arena ($35-$38)

Saturday August 4, 2012 | 7:30pm
Sunday August 5, 2012 | 3:30pm
Georgia International Horse Park
1996 Centennial Olympic Pkwy, Conyers, GA
Children ($15/18); adults ($19/$22)

Bill Picket Championship Rodeo
Friday, September 21, 2012 | 10:00 am
(Rodeo for Kidz Sake)
Saturday, Sept. 22, 2012 | 1:30 pm & 7:30 pm
The Show Place Arena and Prince George's Equestrian Center
14900 Pennsylvania Ave., Upper Marlboro, MD
Children ($16/$19); adults ($19/$22)

“The Bill Pickett Invitational is the nation's only touring Black rodeo,” said BPIR founder Lu Vason. "I look forward to the new Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo touring schedule every year, “The competition is always fierce, exciting and thrilling for all who participate."

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 Bill Pickett, please visit

Lu Vason founded the Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo in 1984. It is an innovative, educational and exciting perspective on the history, challenges, and excitement of Black Americans in the Western United States. BPIR celebrates the life of the legendary Black cowboy Bill Pickett and other Blacks who greatly contributed to the development of the West. To learn more about the Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo, its competitors, tour calendar, and local ticket purchase venues, please visit

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

View Bill Picket Invitational Rodeo segment on the “Today Show.” (

EDITORS: Obtain high resolution rodeo images at

To schedule interviews with BPIR producers or rodeo competitors, contact:
Sheri Vason | svason(at)billpickettrodeo(dot)com | 510.864.2747 or
Toni Beckham | Toni(at)PRetCetera(dot)com | 209.832.8020 / 408.499.3664 c

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Sheri Vason

Toni Beckham
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