Cowboy, Rodeo, Wild West show performer and early film actor Bill Pickett born on December 5, 1870, was the most famous Black cowboy entertainer in American history. He invented the technique of bulldogging, the skill of grabbing cattle by the horns and wrestling them to the ground.

Bill Pickett, “the Dusky Demon,” was of Native American and African descent, Texas-born and seemingly destined for the saddle. Pickett was born in the Jenks Branch community of Williamson County, Texas in 1870. He was the second of 13 children born to Thomas Jefferson Pickett, a former enslaved person, and Mary "Janie" Gilbert. Pickett had four brothers and eight sisters.

Pickett left school in the 5th grade to become a ranch hand; he soon began to ride horses and watch the longhorn steers of his native Texas. Pickett practiced his stunt by riding hard, springing from his horse, and wrestling the steer to the ground. Pickett's method for
#bulldogging was biting a cow on the lip and then falling backward.

Because of is extraordinary talent this slightly-built man transformed himself from just another ranch cow poke, into a performer who appeared in movies and in staged productions throughout the United Sates and England as a trick-roper, bull-rider and steer “rassler” with the Miller Brothers 101 Ranch and Wild West Show from Ponca City, Oklahoma. Bill Pickett never seemed to tire of his theatrical adventures in the saddle, appearing at literally hundreds of small and large rodeo events throughout the East and West.

In 1932, after having retired from Wild West shows, #BillPickett was kicked in the head by a bronco. After a multi-day coma he died on April 2, 1932. Pickett was the first black man to be inducted into the Cowboy Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. His image decorates one of the most famous, and collectible, postage stamps ever issued by the U.S. Postal Service.


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