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Lu Vason dies at 76; highlighted role of black cowboys
Lu Vason dies at 76; highlighted role of black cowboys

Lu Vason was not the Hollywood image of rodeo. He grew up in Berkeley, he didn't ride or rope, he worked for a while as a barber and beautician, he was neither lean nor mean and he was African American. But he also had an eye for opportunity and a fascination with history. On a visit in the early 1980s to the annual Frontier Days extravaganza in Cheyenne, Wyo., Vason was intrigued by his first rodeo but perplexed by the lack of African American competitors. Back in Denver, where he had moved as an entertainment promoter in 1977, he toured the Black American West Museum and discovered a trove of material about African American cowboys in addition to the bandits, lawmen, soldiers...

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