Erica Frank, a Conyers resident and student at Young Americans Christian School, competes in the Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo, an event the 13-year-old will participate in again this year. (Special Photo)
Described by event coordinator Ronnette Davis-Frank as “a show built on African- American history and the Wild West,” the Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo strides into Conyers next month. Davis-Frank, a Conyers resident, performs in the women’s barrel racing portion of the rodeo.
“It’s just a phenomenal show that celebrates history and culture. It’s a family fun event,” she said.
The Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo will take place at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 3 and at 3:30 p.m. Aug. 4 at the Georgia International Horse Park in Conyers. Advance tickets are $17 for kids and $20 for adults and tickets at the door are $20 for kids and $24 for adults.
Tickets can be purchased at the Conyers Welcome Center, 901 Railroad St. in Olde Town Conyers, or at Cuts by Dolphus Barber Shop, 1439 Old Salem Road in Conyers, or at www.billpickettrodeo.com.
The rodeo features about 30 competitors vying for parts of a $10,000 purse. Events include bareback riding, tie down roping, steer wrestling, ladies steer undecorating, ladies barrel racing, junior barrel racing and bull riding.
This is the 29th year for the event which fills the Horse Park venue with 2,500 in attendance for each show.
“We sell out every time,” said Davis-Frank.
The rodeo is named after Bill Pickett, a cowboy of African, American Indian and Caucasian descent, who lived from 1870 to 1932. He worked on ranches and performed in shows, wrestling a steer to the ground with not only his brute strength but also by biting into the steer’s mouth. The technique became known as “bulldoggin’.”
Davis-Frank said her interest in the rodeo began in high school when her mother, Adrienne Vance, also a horsewoman, watched the Bill Pickett Rodeo and decided to participate.
“She trained to rodeo in Oklahoma and hasn’t stopped since,” said Davis-Frank, who added that both her mother and her daughter, Erica Frank, 13, will be performing in the upcoming rodeo.
The three women live on a horse farm in Conyers.
“We are three weekend cowgirls,” said Davis-Frank.
Davis-Frank said she enjoys the competition and athleticism of rodeo, but that the Bill Pickett Rodeo in particular is important to her because it show young people that if a person works hard, he can achieve whatever goals he envisions.
“The rodeo provides inspiration to our youth that if they can dream it, they can do it because they are the leaders of tomorrow,” said Davis-Frank.