MLK Jr Rodeo of Champions Honors Martin Luther King Jr and Celebrates Black Cowboys and Cowgirls

Maurice Wade rode in the very first Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo in 1984. (Photo by: Jordan Ward)

The MLK Jr. African-American Heritage Rodeo of Champions will honor the life and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. on Monday evening in Denver. It is part of the Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo, which started in 1984.

The Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo was created by Lu Vason to showcase the cultural past of the Black cowboy. It was named after Bill Pickett, who was born in 1870, and invented what we know as steer wrestling.

“We’ve been all over the country. And that was Lu’s way of introducing Black cowboys and Black cowgirls to the American public,” said Maurice Wade, who participated in the first Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo. “It is fitting for us to do a rodeo that honors a legend such as Martin Luther King Jr., who believed in peace and love.”

Wade said he took up the sport of rodeo after he returned from Vietnam. He’s been doing it ever since, and will be participating in Monday’s rodeo.

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SOURCE: The Denver Channel, Colette Bordelon