Cowboys of Color

There are so many more aspects to the sport of bull riding other than what the PBR/PRCA/CBR is doing (or not doing), I decided to put out some info that may be news to some people, or ho-hum, been there, done that, bought the tee-shirt, for others. A lot of interesting historical information is behind these links, but out of respect for copyright laws and other writers, I’m not posting their articles– just a few quotes to spur other people into reading them.

Note: Not all these men were bull riders; some were bronc riders, or rode in other rodeo events. Some of this information may be outdated, so don’t blame me. If I did all the research, I’d have enough material for a PhD thesis and a book!

A good place to start:

*BBC NEWS MAGAZINE: article by By Sarfraz Manzoor, out of Texas #RodeoChat
“America’s Forgotten Black Cowboys” aired on BBC Radio 4.


Some teasers:

*Vincent Jacobs, now 80 and living near Houston, battled racism as a rodeo rider in the 1950s.
*Jim Austin and his wife Gloria set up the National Multicultural Western Heritage Museum in Fort Worth, Texas, to tell the stories of cowboys like Bill Pickett.
*Black Rodeo, an 87 min.documentary, was released in 1972.

*Some guys to know (there are plenty more):

Walter Charles “Budah” Morse
Gene “Sugarfoot” Johnson
Thyrl Latting
Will Dawson
Clarence Gonzales, one of the first black bull riders to ride at Madison Square Garden
Earl Shaw
Willie “J” Boone
Fred Whitfield
Charlie Sampson
Nat Love
Jesse Stahhl (once rode a bronc backwards, with a suitcase in his hand, to protest a judge’s decision) Gotta love it! PBR guys, take note!

*Events, past and/or present (certainly not an exhaustive list):

Cowboys Of Color – Invitational Rodeos. Coming up on July 13, 2013: Travis County Expo
7311 Decker Lane, Austin, Texas 78724

Black Cowboy Parade and Festival, Oct. 5, 2013
Oakland, CA

Black Rodeo in Harlem
New York City

Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo
Oakland Bill Pickett Riding Academy

*Some organizations (don’t know if all still exist):

Real Cowboy Association
Black Professional Cowboys and Cowgirls Association
National Cowboys of Color Museum and Hall of Fame
Tarrant County Black Rodeo Association
Black American West Museum
Black Heritage Riders
Latting Rodeo Productions, Inc.
Federation of Black Cowboys

Phone: 718-925-0777 Fax: 718-925-0474
Vaquero Heritage Foundation

I don’t know about you, but I’d like to see the bull riding world become more colorful. You can’t expect Craig Jackson to represent everybody!

About Bull Riding Marketing

Creative services, marketing and public relations professional from entertainment industry background. Published in magazines and newspapers worldwide. I believe bull riders are the new rock stars.
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4 Responses to Cowboys of Color

  1. Will Dawson sister..Nice to see him mentioned. Gone but not forgotten


  2. Shaw Sullivan says:

    I am also reminded of the great Myrtis Dightman. My Dad rodeo’d with him in the 60’s and 70’s. Myrtis often wasn’t allowed in the front gate with his traveling partners. Yet; interestingly enough to me, is that in a subjectively judged event he finished as high as 3rd for the world and made six NFR’s.

    My Dad tells the story of Myrtis once getting hung up, and jumping back on the bull, he freed his hand and jumped off the opposite side. Of my Dad’s cherished treasures is a picture of Myrtis riding.

    Danelle Tipton, and Gary Richards come to mind, Danelle having won the IPRA title (like Jerome Davis, Terry Don West and other greats) and riding some of the Godzillas of his day. Happy 4th



    • Would love to see the photo of Myrtis riding– any chance of me posting it to the blog? I’d heard about the front gate business– pretty crummy treatment. Thanks for bringing up more names. It’s so tempting for me to get into serious research and do a book, but there are only 7 days in a week.


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