At the end of the American civil war, at the end of the 1800s, a new and popular sport was starting to spread throughout the state of Texas. Cattle drives in the south west had become a good way of making money, and cowboys would drive the wild cattle on horseback over to the east to supply the beef market.
The cowboys work required many physical skills and qualities, and as cowboys mastered the techniques and learned new ones, a new competition between each other began to form – known as the rodeo. Starting small, between neighbouring ranches, the rodeo competitions began to gain popularity across the whole of America, attracting huge numbers of spectators and some offering large prizes to the winners.
One of the people responsible for this enormously popular Texan past time, is a cowboy known as William ‘Bill’ Pickett, who also went by the name ‘The Dusky Demon’ and ‘The Bull Dogger’. Born in Williamson county, in the state of Texas, Bill Pickett, who was a descendent of black slaves and Native Americans grew up in Texas, learning all the skills of the cowboy. He worked as a ranch hand and had learned some trick riding skills which he performed on his days off in the local town.
But he became a rodeo legend for inventing the art of ‘Bulldogging’ – which involves wrestling a running steer to the ground (also known as steer wrestling). In 1900, Lee Moore, a local Texan businessman recognised the special qualities that Bill Pickett had and sponsored him to become a professional showman. Bill had a knack for handling animals, both wild and domesticates, and joined the 101 ranch wild west show in 1907. He was the star of the show and attracted huge crowds who were entertained by his many skills, including his expert technique of leaping from his running horse to grab the steer around the neck, biting the animal on the lip before wrestling it to the ground.
He worked on the rodeo shows for many years, and even went on to star in films during the 1920s. He sadly died in 1932 after being kicked by a horse. His legend however has far from died – The Bill Pickett Rodeo show is going strong, and the rodeo would certainly not be the same if it weren’t for his daring stunts and skills that have now become synonymous with the art of rodeo. Rodeo bull manufacturer http://www.gsrodeobulls.com/ offer a taste of the rodeo lifestyle, and if you want to see the real deal, head over to see the show in Texas, where rodeo began.