Categories: National News

Founder of Bill Pickett Rodeo Dies at 76 In Denver

Special to the NNPA from The Chicago Defender

Best known for the Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo, founder and producer Lu Vason who grew up in Berkeley, California. He moved to Denver in 1977.  Vason, who lived in Aurora and had just turned 76, died early Sunday of a heart condition, said Les Franklin, a close friend of Vason’s and the founder of the Shaka Franklin Foundation for Youth.

Like many successful people Lu Vason had a varied life, with each experience leading him to his destiny. He had established himself as an innovative leader in special events marketing. had over 40 years experience as a producer, media impresario and marketing consultant.

Before Vason got into show business, he was a beautician and barber. When he began a career as a promoter and producer, the legendary rock music promoter Barry Fey became his mentor.

Lu Vason, promoted musical artists and is credited with creating the Pointers Sisters and managing various other artists. He formed Aries Concerts and the Jazz Lives Series promoting various concerts and concert tours. He promoted performances by stars like Prince and Stevie Wonder.

 Eventually, he realized that the music industry was being taken over by bigger corporations with deeper pockets and he couldn’t compete with that.

He continued to promote smaller concerts, and was working until shortly before he died.

In 1977, during Wyoming’s Cheyenne Frontier Days, Vason’s interest turned toward rodeo. His curiosity was inspired when he noted that there were no Black cowboys participating that day.  

At the Black American West Museum, in Denver, Vason learned of Bill Pickett, a black cowboy who created “bulldogging,” now called steer wrestling, according to the rodeo website. Pickett would ride alongside a steer, jump on its shoulders and bring the animal down by digging in his heels.

Lu Vason was convinced that the time had come to uncover the cultural past of the Black cowboy. In 1984, he created an all Black rodeo named after legendary Black cowboy, Bill Pickett, who originated “bulldogging”. Some 25 years later the Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo is now a popular series, which reaches over 130,000 spectators annually across the United States.

wordpressnjg

Recent Posts

It’s Your Money!

By Dr. E. Faye Williams, Esq. TriceEdneyWire.com I know it’s your business where you spend your money, but I can’t help…

3 hours ago

Fatal Shooting Not Apparent Hate Crime

By Jeffrey L. Boney Associate Editor via Houston Forward Times Since December 30th of last year, the Greater Houston community…

3 hours ago

Re-examining The Famous “Dream” of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

By Rosaland Tyler Associate Editor New Journal and Guide What arose from the ashes during Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s…

3 hours ago

Congressional Black Caucus: 55 Strong

(TriceEdneyWire.com) The Congressional Black Caucus of the 116th Congress, the largest ever in its 48-year history with 55 members, is…

2 days ago

New Leader Says MLK’s Example Is Good For Ministers’ Area Conference

By Leonard E. Colvin Chief Reporter New Journal and Guide For the past 31 years the Tidewater Metro Baptist Ministers’…

2 days ago

Site First Africans Arrived in English North America Revealed As Hampton, Not Jamestown

Publisher’s Note: Virginia has been preparing since 2016 for this year’s American Evolution commemoration of the 400th anniversary of events…

3 days ago