In 1977, during Wyoming’s Cheyenne Frontier Days, Lu Vason’s interest turned toward rodeo after his curiosity was aroused when he noted the absence of Black cowboys and cowgirls participating that day. Over the next couple of years, Vason, a leader in the entertainment community, did his research and found thousands of Black Cowboys and Cowgirls across the country lacking the opportunity to showcase their talents. Vason was convinced that the time had come to uncover the cultural past of the Black Cowboy.
In 1984, he created an all-Black rodeo association named after the legendary Black cowboy, Bill Pickett, who originated the rodeo event called “bulldogging’. After Vason’s passing in 2015, his wife, Valeria Howard-Cunningham, began working to keep the legacy alive. Howard-Cunningham felt the rodeo had a rich history, legacy, and a huge importance to the community. She is deeply passionate about BPIR, works hard to create and enhance the organization’s vision and created a detailed strategic direction for BPIR. Key to this vision is the belief that promoting a first-class African American rodeo tour remains critical to Black Cowboys/Cowgirls and their communities.
Fueled by these principles, the Bill Pickett Invitation Rodeo is entering its 37th year of educating, entertaining and connecting communities across the US as the “Greatest Show on Dirt”.
Saturday, February 19 @ 1:30 PM (Performance 1) Saturday, February 19 @ 7:30 PM (Performance 2)