The MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas hosted a large crowd of spectators last weekend eager to see Black cowboys and cowgirls participating in the Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo, the nation’s only touring Black rodeo competition.
Long before Lil Nas X took his horse down the “Old Town Road,” the Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo showcased Black cowboy culture across the country. For 37 years, billed as the “greatest show on dirt,” the Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo has provided a stage for Black cowboys and cowgirls.
Lu Vason, founder of the rodeo, created it to, “challenge the false perception of an absentee presence of Blacks in the development of the West,” he said.
On Saturday — Juneteenth — the rodeo will be the first all-Black rodeo televised nationally (tape-delayed), on CBS.
Jason Armond is a staff photographer at the Los Angeles Times. A native of North Carolina, he graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he received a bachelor’s in media and journalism. His work as a photographer and videographer has been recognized by the Hearst Journalism Awards, the White House News Photographers Assn. and the North Carolina College Media Assn. As a freelance visual journalist, his work has been featured in several publications before joining The Times.
The award-winning Los Angeles Times’ photo staff works across Southern California, the state, the nation and the world to bring readers images that inform and inspire daily. A complete list of the Visual Journalism staff can be found on the Newsroom Directory. Recent galleries can be seen on our photography page.