A Message From President / Producer
Valeria Howard-Cunningham

July is the month Americans celebrate Independence Day; the historic vote and signing of the Declaration of Independence took place to make the United States an independent country. 

July is also the month that the Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo (BPIR) celebrates its 35 th Anniversary in California. First we will ride into the Bay Area and then off to Los Angeles.

When I think about independence, I ask myself, what does it mean?

Independence can mean a lot of different things to different people, but to me it means being self-sustaining with the support and love of many.

I recently heard Tyler Perry explain how he built his Atlanta production studio and how he obtained his independence as a businessman. He is someone to be proud of and to celebrate also, as he had to overcome numerous challenges to succeed. While listening to him, one of his quotes stuck with me; “Own your stuff, own your business, own your way.”

It came to me that we must all own our struggles if we are to succeed!

We are so excited to celebrate our 35 th Anniversary as an independent company. BPIR continues to create history, bringing rodeo entertainment and a bit of education to communities across the country. I am also proud that BPIR provides the community a sense of pride. Pride that we have our own rodeo association. BPIR is ours and yours. 

There are lots of reasons to celebrate. We celebrate because we can, we celebrate a time to appreciate the talents of the Black Cowboys and Cowgirls, we celebrate as we learn of their stories and struggles and that for some reason have been left out of the history. We celebrate our juniors, the new generation of Black Cowboys and Cowgirls learning the craft through mentorship of the aging generations.

Let’s take pride this month in celebrating the 4 th but also celebrating the 35 th Anniversary of the Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo in California.

See you soon and I hope you have a great 4 th of July.

BPIR Going Places ... Los Angeles, CA. / SoCal
Margo Wade Ladrew
BPIR National Development & Marketing Director and Los Angeles Coordinator
Yeti Joins Toyota and Ariat to Partner with Nation’s Only African American Touring Rodeo
 Celebrating 35 Years of Legacy-
The Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo Blazing Into Los Angeles, CA.
The Greatest Show on Dirt – is going places!
The 2019 nationally renowned Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo (BPIR) rides into the City of Industry Saturday, July 20, 2019 at 6:30 pm and Sunday, July 21, 2019 at 3:30 pm at Industry Hills Expo Center located at 16200 Temple Ave., City of Industry, CA., 91744.    While the rodeo will entertain families afar both days, added entertainment includes an AfterParty Saturday Night and a Gospel Explosion Sunday with live performances during Pre-Show and half time.   Gates on Sunday open 2 hours earlier.

Consistently, for over 35 years, the BPIR toured throughout the U.S.A. entertaining millions with thrilling professional rodeo competitions of the most skilled and entertaining Black cowboys and cowgirls worldwide.   

Southern Californians will enjoy African American cowboys, cowgirls and youngsters choke dust and cheer for hard riding competitors as they battle to be named the best after a season of competition; spectators, competitors.  Attendees from all communities of Los Angeles, Riverside and San Bernardino Counties can expect their favorite competitors during thrilling Calf Ropin’, exhilarating Bareback Ridin’, Bull Doggin, Ladies Barrel Racin’, Junior Barrel Racin’, Ladies Steer Undecoratin’, and gripping Bull Ridin. It’s  ALWAYS a great weekend of high family entertainment and scrumptious food!

Under the guidance of Margo Wade Ladrew (BPIR National Development & Marketing Director and Los Angeles Coordinator) BPIR has curated sold out shows with repeat generation-after-generation attendees and rodeo competitors coming back year-after-year.  Always a splash to fans are the returning Official Grand Marshalls; actors, Glynn Turman, and Reginald T.Dorsey who have both served for 33 years along with returning Deputy Marshals James Pickens, Jr., and Oba Babatune .  In addition each year there are surprise celebrity special guests who attend and participate in the rodeo.

"I remember the first time I saw the rodeo and was in amazement that I did not know about it.
Now as I celebrate my 25th year association with the rodeo I am so proud of what I have contributed to make it a continued success. As I take on my new role as National Development & Marketing Director I am committed to continue building this legacy, educating our youth, entertaining our fans and telling our forgotten history."  states Ladrew

 In 1984, Lu Vason had a vision to entertain audiences and create and preserve the history and contributions of African American cowboys and cowgirls. The result, The Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo (BPIR ) titled  “The Greatest Show on Dirt” .   At that time, Vason had no idea that the rodeo would be in existence today, celebrating its 35th anniversary.  Valeria Howard Cunningham, Lu’s then wife assumed the ownership and leadership of the BPIR when his health declined in 2010. Under her leadership, the rodeo continues to thrive and grow. Valeria; a black woman has succeeded in the rodeo industry, a white male dominated industry as being the only Black woman to own a national touring rodeo company. BPIR, the only African American touring rodeo in the country continues in its mission of telling the stories of Black Cowboys and Cowgirls across the US, while entertaining audiences and offering the community a clean, family friendly and fun event.  

The Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo is proud to mention  National Sponsors Toyota , Ariat, Yeti, Upscale Magazine and  Bronner Brothers.   SoCal sponsor is Harold and Belle's.

“Toyota celebrates the Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo for its contributions to highlighting the history of African American's in the West and for educating Americans about the true diversity of the American West,"  Alva Adams-Mason Director, Multicultural Business Alliance and Strategy & Senior Manager, Dealers Relations.

"Ariat is proud to partner with an organization that enables men and women to be competitive and pursue their passion for rodeo," said Susan Alcala, Vice President, Partnership Marketing at Ariat.  "We have so much respect for the Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo and are honored to be able to do even more as we expand our support this year."

Ticket prices range from $22 to $45 and can be purchased online or at various business outlets (see below). Vendor opportunities are available as well as national and local sponsors whom seek to align their brands with a whole hearty family legacy.  In addition, media affiliates are sought.

For local contact info and opportunities, or group ticket sales please call Margo Wade Ladrew at:
310-674-6700 or email  mladrew@billpickettrodeo.com .

For Media Partners/credentials please email: press@billpickettrodeo.com

For Vendor info: Velda White 310.936.2903
Ticket Outlets
Meet the BPIR Representative at the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Mall Farmers Markets
Saturday, July 6th & 13th 
10:30 - 2:30 pm
Textured Tech Beauty Supply • Carson • 424.477.5888
Venni Mac's M&M Soul Food • Carson • 310.324.5317
Compton City Hall • City Clerks Office • 310.605.6215
Shades of Afrika • Corona • 951.284.7888
Ms. B's M&M Soul Food • Inglewood • 310.412.2800
Zahra's Books & Things • Inglewood • 310.330.1300
Hot & Cool Cafe • LA/Leimert Park • 323.407.8340
Shades of Afrika • Long Beach • 562.436.2210
Luxe & Glam Beauty Supply • Compton • 3106279676
Voice News • Riverside • 951.682.6070
Group Sales Only : Wade & Associates Group * Windsor Hills * 310.674.6700
My name is Kenny Price , I'm 16 years old, my event is Bull Riding.  I've been riding bulls for a year now and what I want it to do for me in life is to take me places that I've never been before. I would like to make a name for myself in the Rodeo community.
My name is Jada Blanton , I am 14 years old, I live in Los Angeles, California and I attend King? Drew Magnet High School of Medicine and Science. The events that I compete in at the  BPIR is Barrel Racing . I've been competing in the  BPIR  since I was 4 years old. I also do Pole Bending and Goat Tying . My ultimate goal is to compete in the National Finals Rodeo and to become a Plastic Surgeon.
My name is Adrian "Mister" Williamson, I am 13 years old, I live in Los Angeles, California. The school I attend is Los Angeles Center for Enriched Studies. I started my Rodeo career with the  BPIR  at the age of 3 doing Mutton Busting, the events that I compete in are Calf Roping and Steer Riding. My ultimate goal is to compete in the National Finals Rodeo and become a professional Bull Rider.

Los Angeles, CA
Atlanta, GA

click to email for more info



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