Bill Pickett

Bill Pickett The First Bulldogger

Stockyards Fort Worth, Texas

W.M. “Bill” Pickett (1870-1932) originated the rodeo event of bulldogging, known today as steer wrestling. Native Texan Pickett developed a unique style of bulldogging, which hade him world famous as a wild west show and rodeo performer. Bill would leap from the left side of his horse, catch the steer by the horns, twist the animal’s neck until he was able to reach over and sink his teeth into the steer’s lip. In 1908, Pickett appeared in the Coliseum
during the Fort Worth Stock Show. It was one of several performances here. Bill died of injuries received when he was kicked in the head by a wild horse while working for the Miller Brothers 101 Ranch. Colonel Zack Miller wrote a poem to his memory, these last lines sum up the respect earned by this cowboy:

like many men in the old-time West,
on any job he did his best
he left a blank that’s hard to fill
for there’ll be never another bill.

In 1972, Bill Pickett became the first black cowboy to be inducted into the National Cowboy Hall of Fame.