1994 29¢ Bill Pickett
Legends of the West
Issue Date: October 18, 1994
City: Laramie, WY, Tucson, AZ and Lawton, OK
Quantity: 19,282,800 panes
Printed By: Stamp Venturers
Printing Method: Photogravure
Perforations: 10.1 x 10
Born in south Texas, Bill Pickett was one of the 5,000 early black cowboys to work on the western ranches. It was during his days as a cowhand that he developed the technique of “bulldogging” – a trademark for which he became internationally famous. Galloping alongside a steer, he would seize the animal by its horns and twist its head up until he could sink his teeth into its upper lip, causing the beast to drop to the ground in pain.
In 1905, Pickett signed on with the Miller 101 Ranch, an Oklahoma spread that prided itself on its skillful cowhands. Within two short years, the ranch was staging elaborate rodeos. A prime attraction, Pickett wrestled steers, while Will Rogers performed tricks with his lariat and Tom Mix dazzled the crowds with his horsemanship.
The show toured the nation and eventually reached Madison Square Garden where it took New York City by storm. In Mexico City it was wagered that Pickett could hold onto a fighting bull for five minutes. Expecting to see Pickett killed, Mexicans thronged to the arena. Miraculously he held on, and after six minutes the crowd conceded Pickett had won. In 1971, he became the first black cowboy to have his memory enshrined in the National Rodeo Hall of Fame.