First Black Rodeo in Portland

I missed the inaugural Juneteenth rodeo a few days ago at the Portland Expo center:, but hopefully won’t miss the second rodeo next year because I signed up to be on their email list. The 8 seconds in the title refers to the 8 second limit a bull rider can stay on a bucking bull for the ride to be humane for the bull. The Portland inaugural rodeo is the second all-Black rodeo in the country.  America’s oldest Black rodeo, The Okmulgee Roy LeBlanc Invitational Rodeo in Oklahoma, began in 1955, when the LeBlanc family decided to host an all-black competition. Photographer Ivan McClellan, now of Portland, hosted the Portland rodeo. He spent 7 years photographing Black cowboy culture in the west for the project he titled “Eight Seconds” and describes Black cowboy culture as having “found and captivated me.” If you’re interested in learning more about the long history of Black cowboys in the west and seeing McClellan’s photographs, read this article in the Deseret News:

If you happen to be visiting the High Desert Museum in Bend within the next few days, they’re having a photography exhibit titled “In the Arena: Photographs from America’s only Touring Black Rodeo,” the Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo.



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Marian Pierce