One of the few remaining images of Bill, taken from the poster of his film "The Bull-Dogger"
One of the few remaining images of Bill, taken from the poster of his film “The Bull-Dogger” Anthony Hodge

Rodeo legend Bill Pickett had a saying. “What’s gonna happen, gonna happen,” he’d mutter to himself before going face-to-face with a charging bull. Then, with thousands of people watching, he’d do something the crowd never expected to see. 

In Pickett’s signature move, he would launch himself from the back of his galloping horse, wrap his arms around a steer’s neck, grab the animal’s lip between his teeth, and then use the full weight of his small 5’7” frame to pull it to the ground. He called this wrangling technique “bull-dogging.”

Pickett’s unprecedented methodology and extraordinary personal history make him the perfect subject for the second episode of Horizon Line, which explores the lives of the adventurous – people who pushed the limits of the possible. 

Born in 1870 to Thomas Jefferson Pickett, who had been a black slave, and Mary Gilbert, who was of black and Cherokee descent, Pickett was familiar with the harsh realities of the American frontier. However, his extreme tenacity, incredible talents, and gift for showmanship swiftly made him a rising star on the Wild West rodeo circuit and a defining figure in American cowboy lore. 

Listen to the tale of Pickett’s exploits here, and be sure to subscribe to Horizon Line in iTunes, Google Play, or wherever you get your podcasts from. We would also love your feedback, so be sure to leave a comment and a rating!