PHOTOS: Cowboys And Cowgirls Return To Texas Black Rodeo In Dallas
People paraded their family horses around the arena at the Fair Park Coliseum, wearing in the red dirt for the newly-returned Texas Black Invitational Rodeo, hosted by the African American Museum in Dallas.
On either side of the arena, horses and calves were penned together, in anticipation for the events to come.
This year marked the 32nd year of the Black Rodeo in Dallas. Last year's event was cancelled due to the pandemic. Around 300 Black cowboys and cowgirls were invited to compete in staple rodeo events — like bronc and bull riding, calf and steer roping, barrel racing and more.
Cowboys with Texas quarter horses prepared for the Grand Entry parade at a stable attached to the coliseum while a steady trickle of people made their way to their seats. By 8 p.m., the entire coliseum was nearly full, with about 6,000 people in attendance.
Due to new CDC guidance, attendees were encouraged to wear masks indoors, regardless of vaccination status, and many used the opportunity to break out their best pandemic cowboy get-up.
The Grand Entry Parade celebrated the historical roots of Black Americans, as well as Mexican Americans and Native Americans, who contributed to the western settling of the United States.
The first competition was bronc riding, an event where a cowboy or cowgirl will ride a bucking horse for the longest time possible without getting thrown off by the horse.
Holding on with only one hand, the rider mimics an iconic cowboy pose, with his body nearly off the horse, catching his hat in mid-air right before the eight-second buzzer rings. People watched as horses burst out of the gates with contestantshold on for as long as they can before surrendering to the horse.
Competitors geared up for the next, and one of the most difficult, events of the night: bulldogging and calf-roping. Contestants must jump from their horse, to capture and wrestle the steer by grabbing its horns and pulling it to the ground.
Calf-roping takes it one step farther. The cowboy chases a calf with a lasso, aiming for the neck, in order to capture the calf. The person dismounts from the horse, “throws down” the calf, and ties any of its three legs together, before raising their hands in victory.
People cheered as the last calf-roper of the night, Ke’ Elronn Hatley, won with nearly a perfect score.
The rest of the night continued with barrel racing, a Pony Express relay race and more, as kids and adults alike watched in awe.
Keren Carrión is a corps member with Report For America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms. Got a tip? Email Keren at Kcarrion@kera.org. You can follow Keren on Twitter @kerencarrion8.
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