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Posted on Wednesday, May 22, 2024 at 8:00 am

Black Rodeo USA comes to Shelbyville


Black Rodeo USA Photo

Black Rodeo USA will be coming to the Cooper Steel Arena for a second year in a row to offer a cultural and exciting family-fun event.

Named the fifth best rodeo in the country, the event will be on June 1 at 7 p.m. and showcase some of the best horse riders and bull riders across the nation.

“We started the Black Rodeo USA out of the need to create a cultural event, something cultural and educational, that we saw there was a lack of African American competitors across the country,” said founder Lanette Carter, an Arizona native.

She started the rodeo in 2012 in Arizona, a leading state in western rodeo culture.

“I grew up with horses, cows, a whole farm atmosphere,” said Carter, who added she also has family who performed. After going a while without attending a rodeo, she decided it was time to start one up.

The action-packed rodeo will feature: bull riding; tie down roping; steer wrestling; ranch bronc; ladies steer un-decorating; ladies barrel racing; relay races; and crowd favorite, mutton bustin’ and calf scramble for the little ones.

“It was a way of life for us early on,” said Carter. “Rodeos are a heartbeat of America.”

Part of the event will feature a performance that marks the history of rodeo.

“When you can create a family event and then some culture and some history and you can connect all those together, it just helps educate America that there’s something for all of us,” said Carter.

Previously, the only touring African American rodeo was Bill Pickett’s, which Carter worked for as a coordinator.

“Cultural events is what I’ve always done,” said Carter, who also coordinates the Martin Luther King Jr. Festival in Arizona as well as the Valley of the Sun Juneteenth Celebration, which she is in her 20th year of doing.

“All the events I do are really around the area of family and youth,” said Carter.

Their first year in Tennessee, they performed at the Wilson County Showgrounds.

“But Cooper Steel has such a beautiful arena we couldn’t take our eyes off that one,” said Carter. “Tennessee is so beautiful.”

The event is for every one of all ages.

“The reason we have a Black Rodeo is just to make sure we’re highlighting our culture and creating an experience and letting people know we do rodeo,” said Carter. “It’s just filling a void. Just like in the black press there is a void to not have the news given to people in the right place at the right time.”

One of the rodeo’s partners is The Tennessee Tribune, the host of the event, which is a sister paper to their newspaper in Arizona.

“For our population, our culture, it’s peoples’ first time coming to a rodeo,” said Carter.

They also receive sponsorship from Wranglers, Stetson, Boot Barn, and Cracker Barrel. Locally, they also have connected with the Bedford County Juneteenth Celebration Committee to serve as ambassadors for the rodeo. Nearby Historically Black Colleges and Universities also send students to enjoy the rodeo.

“It’s a connection of community,” said Carter.

Most events get sold out, so tickets are going fast. Tickets are $25 for general admission. They will be $30 day of at the venue (no refunds). Parking is $10 cash and gates open at 5:30 p.m.

Children three and under are free with a paying adult and must be seated in a parent’s lap and not occupying a seat. Children four and older are required to have a ticket.

“We definitely tell people to come prepared with their hats and boots because you want to feel and look the part,” said Carter. “But they really come to have a good time and witness black cowboys and cowgirls–something you probably won’t see in other rodeos. Again, there’s a need for us to showcase our talents as well and we created a space for that to happen.”

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