Known for movies

Short Info

DiedApril 2, 1932, Ponca City, Oklahoma, United States
FactOriginator of bulldogging/steer wrestling (1903).

William “Bill” Pickett (December 5, 1870 – April 2, 1932) was an American rodeo performer and cowboy. He is considered the first African American rodeo star and is credited with inventing the rodeo sport of bulldogging, also known as steer wrestling.

Pickett was born in 1870 in Austin, Texas, to Mary and George Pickett, both former slaves. He had seven brothers and sisters. Pickett’s father died when he was young, and his mother remarried. His stepfather, Moses Rucker, was a cowboy and taught Pickett how to ride horses and rope cattle.

Pickett began his rodeo career in the early 1890s. He first gained notoriety for his bulldogging skills at the Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo in 1901. He went on to win several championships and became one of the most popular rodeo performers of his time.

Pickett’s career came to an abrupt end in 1913 when he was severely injured while bulldogging a steer. He suffered a broken back and was never able to fully recover. He retired from rodeo soon after.

In 1932, at the age of 61, Pickett died of a heart attack. He was inducted into the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum’s Rodeo Hall of Fame in 1971.

Pickett’s net worth at the time of his death was estimated to be $50,000 (equivalent to $856,000 in 2019). He was survived by his wife, Emma, and their four children.

General Info

Full NameBill Pickett
DiedApril 2, 1932, Ponca City, Oklahoma, United States
ProfessionActor, Cowboy, Rodeo performer


ParentsThomas Jefferson Pickett, Mary "Janie" Gilbert.


MoviesThe Bull-Dogger

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1Originator of bulldogging/steer wrestling (1903).
2First African-American to be inducted into the Rodeo Hall of Fame of the Rodeo Historical Society (a support group of the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum) in 1971.
3Greatest African-American rodeo star of his era.
4First African-American cowboy movie star.
5Pictured on one of a set of 20 29¢ US commemorative postage stamps celebrating Legends of the West, issued 18 October 1994. A set of twenty 19¢ US postcards with pictures of the stamps was issued on the same date. Other persons honored in the two sets are Annie Oakley, William F. Cody (as Buffalo Bill), William Tilghman, Jim Bridger, Wyatt Earp, John C. Fremont, William Barclay 'Bat' Masterson, Chief Joseph, Wild Bill Hickok, Kit Carson, Geronimo, Charles Goodnight, Nellie Cashman, Sacajawea and Jim Beckwourth.

Source: IMDb, Wikipedia

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