DEAD: Bill Pickett

DEAD: ON THIS DATE

Bill Pickett (aged 61)
American rodeo performer

Willie M. “Bill” Pickett (December 5, 1870 – April 2, 1932) was a cowboy, rodeo, Wild West show performer and actor. In 1989, Pickett was inducted into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame.

He invented the technique of bulldogging, the skill of grabbing cattle by the horns and wrestling them to the ground. It was known among cattlemen that, with the help of a trained bulldog, a stray steer could be caught. Bill Pickett had seen this happen on many occasions. He also thought that if a bulldog could do this feat, so could he. Pickett practiced his stunt by riding hard, springing from his horse, and wrestling the steer to the ground. Pickett’s method for bulldogging was biting a cow on the lip and then falling backwards. He also helped cowboys with bulldogging. This method eventually lost popularity as the sport morphed into the steer wrestling that is practiced in rodeos.

Pickett soon became known for his tricks and stunts at local country fairs. With his four brothers, he established The Pickett Brothers Bronco Busters and Rough Riders Association. The name Bill Pickett soon became synonymous with successful rodeos. He did his bulldogging act, traveling about in Texas, Arizona, Wyoming, and Oklahoma.

DEATH: In 1932, after having retired from Wild West shows, Bill Pickett was kicked in the head by a bronco and died after a multi-day coma.

Bill Pickett has a headstone beside the graves of the Miller brothers at the Cowboy HillCemetery. However, he is buried near a 14-foot stone monument to the friendship of Ponca Tribal Chief White Eagle and the Miller Brothers on Monument Hill, also known as the White Eagle Monument to the locals, less than a quarter of a mile to the northeast of Marland, Oklahoma.

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