Bill Pickett Took No Lip

Recently, BMJ2k, (of Mr Blog’s Tepid Ride,) and I, were discussing stetsons and social status, when he made the excellent point that most famous cowboys weren’t cowboys at all, they were largely lawmen, murderers, or thieves.

Bill Pickett, from

Not so of Bill Pickett, however. He may have become a leading light of the wild west shows, but, according to his brother at least, he got his start at home:

Dora Scarbrough, in her book “Land of Good Water” relates […] On moonlit nights he would go out there and get on a horse and bulldog. {His parents} caught him at it and brought those cattle {nearer the house} to practice bulldogging so the younger children could see it.” – Texas Escapes

A romantic beginning to an event that would make Pickett famous, but what exactly does Bulldogging entail?

Even if someone else got the bright idea to subdue an unruly steer by jumping on it and biting its lip, that person never admitted it. History gives the distinction to Bill Pickett[…] – Texas Escapes

There’s an authenticity to chomping down on the frothing mouth of a rampaging cow that you don’t often see in today’s spectacles.

Bill Pickett, with bitten cow subdued. (Image found at