Saddle Up

Rodeo honors black athletes

5/28

So, when you think of tough cowboys, who comes to mind? John Wayne? Please. He was an actor. When it comes to out-and-out toughness, we nominate Bill Pickett, a Texan born in 1870 who is sometimes credited as the father of "bulldogging," or wrestling a running steer to the ground. How tough was Pickett? Well, according to www.billpickettrodeo.com, his original method for wrestling a steer involved leaping from a galloping horse, grabbing a running steer by the head, then biting the animal on the side of its mouth to lead its head into the ground. (One imagines that shock, as much as anything, tripped up the poor beast. "Holy cow!" the animal probably thought. "What's this crazy mofo doing? Get him off me!) Pickett was black, which may be why most people have never heard of him--not a lot of black faces in those John Wayne movies. Nevertheless, there were plenty of black cowpunchers in the Old West, and their traditions are being honored Saturday at the 20th Texas Black Invitational Rodeo, benefiting Dallas' African American Museum. Around 300 riders will compete to make the finals, which begin at 7 p.m. at the State Fair Coliseum. A full slate of rodeo events--calf-roping, bronco riding, etc. --is scheduled. But no biting. Tickets are $7 to $25 and available through Ticketmaster or at the Museum Store. Call 214-565-9026 or visit www.aamdallas.org. --Patrick Williams

On the Run

5/30

Let 'em run, that's my philosophy. Let 'em run the whole grueling thing. Let 'em feel good about themselves and let 'em think they're special. Because they are. They're getting out of bed at sunrise--on a day off, no less--and parking at White Rock Lake, stretching and--at 7 a.m.!--running either a 5K or a 20K as part of the 15th Annual Memorial Day Run at White Rock Lake. Let 'em run, because I won't be. I take my days off seriously--and by seriously, I mean drunkenly. By mile eight, maybe I'll hoist a margarita to all these people too fit to enjoy a day off. But that's it. The run starts at the Bath House Cultural Center, 521 E. Lawther Drive. Registration starts Friday at RunOn!, 5400 E. Mockingbird Lane. Call 214-324-4034. --Paul Kix

 
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