Thursday, May 10, 2007

Cowboy Week: Part 2 Bill Pickett

Yes, the Dragon is exploring his roots, and hoping to edu-macate himself and his lovely readership.

You might think that my attraction to the Old Wild West is an attraction to a simpler, more patriarchal, more caucasian time.

Well, pilgrim, you'd be dead wrong.

What I love most about a frontier mentality is the practicality of it. By necessity, a person was judged by deeds and character, not by superficialities.

So lest you think the blending of Country and Western Culture and African American culture is new thing, I present to you, the legendary Bill Pickett. Born in 1870, died in 1932 after being kicked in the head by a horse, Bill Picket invented Steer Wrestling, and is immortalized in the Prorodeo Hall of Fame, the Museum of the American Cowboy, the National Rodeo Hall of Fame, and a U.S. postage stamp (though they mistakenly used a picture of his brother.)


Old Bill Pickett's gone away,
over the great divide
To the place where all the preachers say
Both saint and sinner abide

If they check his brand like I think they will
It's a runnin' hoss they'll give to Bill
Some good wild steers 'till he gets his fill
And a great big crowd to watch him ride

Old Bill Pickett's a long time gone
Left me here to sing this song
Old Bill Pickett's a long time gone
Left me here to sing this song

Old Bill Pickett was a mighty black man
And he rode for the One-O-One
Way down yonder in the Cherokee Land
Around when the West was won

He'd jump a steer from a runnin' hoss
And throw him down with a mighty toss
He worked for many, but he had no boss
He's the last of the great cowhands

Way down south in Mexico
He took a great big dare
To try and hold a fightin' bull
To see how he would fare

He grabbed Old Toro by the horns
Grabbed the bull's nose in his jaws
That crowd never seen such a thing before
For an hour and a half they cheered

With the great Will Rogers and Wild Tom Mix
He rode in the rodeo
For all who paid their fifty cents
They gave a great big show

For all who paid to come and see
Bill wrestled steers with his teeth
We've never seen such a mighty feat'
Cause he left us long ago

Way down on the Miller ranch
In the year of thirty two
Bill Pickett roped a sorrel stud
To see what he could do

That sorrel stomped and jumped and bucked
And tromped Bill's body in the dust
At seventy-three, Bill was out of luck
He took eleven days to die
There was nothin' they could do

They laid him down in a six-by-three
Beneath the land he knew
And they left a cross for the world to see
Said, "Of his kind we've seen few"

That night for Bill they drank some wine
And old Zack Miller wrote these lines
And left 'em here for me to find
To put to music and sing to you

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