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Sun Sep 24, 2017, 08:16 AM

'Cowgirls of Color' break barriers to compete in typically white, male rodeo

Last edited Sun Sep 24, 2017, 02:44 PM - Edit history (3)

‘Cowgirls of Color’ break barriers to compete in typically white, male rodeo

By Carrie Wells September 23 at 6:45 PM

Kisha Bowles discovered the rodeo when she was spending most of her day in front of a computer and reeling from the loss of her mother. ... Her Sundays suddenly transformed into an all-day outing of pulling on leather riding boots, climbing on to a powerful bay mare and galloping around a track under the hot sun, alongside other black women like herself.

She had only ridden a horse a few times before and knew nothing about rodeo events, let alone competing in them. The time she spent in a Calvert County equestrian ring was nothing short of a spiritual awakening. ... “It just changed my view on who I really am,” said Bowles, 40, of Washington, D.C. “When I get on the horse, I’m full of life.”

Bowles is one of four women known as the Cowgirls of Color, a team that competed Saturday in Upper Marlboro in the Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo, the country’s only African American touring rodeo competition. The Bill Pickett features events like bull riding and calf roping, and while black women have always been a part of it, most of the Cowgirls’ competitors will be men.

Members of the team groom their horses after practice at Kings Landing Park in Calvert County. (Amy Davis/Baltimore Sun)

For those who might criticize them as black women at the rodeo, Bowles said she pays them no mind. ... “Not everyone will understand your journey,” she said.

Baltimore Sun


Reporter for the @baltimoresun. PG County native and Hampden resident. 🐢. Cat roommate. cwells@baltsun.com

"Not everyone will understand your journey."

Bill Pickett Invational Rodeo

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