Old West Lifestyle & Stories


I’m sure everyone who visits Cowboy To Cowboy is a fan of the rodeo.

One of the more fun events is steer wrestling. Have you ever wondered how it got its start? Well, wonder no more. Here’s the story

The son of black and Indian parents, Bill Pickett…who was born on December 5, 1871…learned his roping and riding skills while working as a cowboy on a Texas ranch..

Later he went to work for the 101 Ranch Rodeo. As a special attraction for the audiences, Pickett would ride his horse alongside a running longhorn steer. Then he would grab the steer’s head and bit its upper lip—an effective means of forcing the steer to follow Pickett’s commands.

Since bulldogs were known to control cattle by biting onto their lower lips and ferociously hanging on, Pickett’s steer wrestling method became known as “bulldogging.”

It’s unlikely that any working cowboy ever attempted to control a steer by “bulldogging” it, but the audience loved Pickett’s stunt. Although few cowboys were willing to copy Pickett’s lip-biting method, steer wrestling became a standard rodeo competition.

Pickett’s bulldogging performance made him a national rodeo star. The 101 Ranch closed in 1931, and Pickett died a forgotten man not long afterwards, at age 70, from injuries suffered while working horses for the 101 Ranch in Texas.

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