On Juneteenth, Saturday, June 19, history will be made on CBS at the Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo - Vegas Showdown, will be the first all-Black rodeo broadcast on national television. The rodeo was run on Sunday, June 13 and will be on at 1 p.m. ET on Juneteenth.
The Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo (BPIR) has been running since 1984 and was created by. Lu Vason as a platform for Black cowboys and cowgirls. It aimed to "challenge the false perception of the absence of Blacks in the development of the West."
Since the beginning, they aim to educate, as well as entertain, and have traveled to over 30 cities across the U.S.
Valeria Howard-Cunningham, the only Black woman to oversee a rodeo, discussed the importance of the event. She said shining a light on rodeo and specifically on Black Cowboys and Cowgirls.
"As we celebrate Juneteenth, I am glad we can also celebrate our Black Cowboys and Cowgirls. The fans can expect to see talented and proud Black Cowboys and Cowgirls competing in the world of rodeo. They will see Black Cowboys and Cowgirls are REAL! I hope seeing this PBR/BPIR collaboration will help fans appreciate the sport of rodeo, and they will want to come to the next BPIR rodeo to experience it first-hand for a perspective changing experience."
Howard-Cunningham said she is most proud of continuing the tradition when many did not believe BPIR would survive.
"When I took over as the leader of the organization, there were those that said, because you are a woman and a Black woman, BPIR will not last. We are not only still here, but stronger than ever," she said. "We continue to build off our past, always looking forward to an even brighter future, no matter the struggle."
How to watch the Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo
- Date: Saturday, June 19
- Time: 1 p.m. ET
- Location: Las Vegas
- Streaming: Paramount+
- TV channel: CBS