Texas and the Rise of the Rodeo Cowboys

Cowboys are one of the icons of America – looked up to by children and adults alike, the cowboy film genre has millions of fans, keen to watch the adventures of these wild and courageous people and their skills and horsemanship. Although the world has changed immensely since the days when cowboys roamed the Texan plains, there are still many who make their living on the old-style cattle ranches.

Texas didn’t officially join the United States until 29th December 1845, after a few decades of the Americans and Mexicans fighting for the state. The latter end of the 1800s saw the cattle ranching and cotton industries boom in the state, the former becoming part of the cowboy’s famous lifestyle.

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The combination of Mexican and English settlers in the state meant that each shared their horsemanship skills and techniques, quickly becoming very adept at the large wild cattle drives into the east of the country. Young men were attracted to the region, looking for work that seemed exciting and full of travel and adventure, whilst spending time out of doors on horseback. Many moved to the state to become cowboys and the industry enjoyed a highly profitable time.

Because the industry was seasonal, many cowboys would travel to local towns to perform their skills to make extra money in the quiet season. One of the most famous of these was Bill Pickett. A descendant of the African slaves that were brought to the area, and Native American people, Bill Pickett (known also as the Dusky Demon and the Bull Dogger) was a natural with the horses on the ranches. He grew up learning about the daily life of the ranch in Texas and worked on the ranch from a young age.

He had a great aptitude for riding and would often go into his local town to perform tricks, which became so popular, he was the star of a rodeo show where he would perform his amazing tricks all over the country, including the move he was famous for inventing and which gave him the name the Bull Dogger – he would leap from a running horse, onto a steer which he would grab by the horns or round the neck and bite the animals lip before wrestling it to the ground.

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Rodeos became hugely popular and successful not only in Texas but throughout America and even as far afield as Europe (Buffalo Bill famously performed for Queen Victoria at her Golden Jubilee). Even though the old days of the wild west and cowboys are now behind us, there is still plenty of cowboy action going strong. Rodeo bull manufacturers can provide you with the thrilling experience of being the star of your own rodeo, or you can go and watch one of the professional rodeo shows that are still going strong in Texas.