by Robert Bell
REAL COWBOY ASSOCIATION RODEO
7 p.m. Arkansas State Fairgrounds. $24.
I suppose that this needs to be said, because there are probably still a lot of folks who aren't in the know: Yes, there are black cowboys and black rodeos. Black folks have a long history of riding and roping going all the way back to the legendary cowboy Bill Pickett, who literally took the bull by the horns and invented the bulldogging technique of bringing down a steer. It's just one of the many, many parts of the African-American story that gets overlooked in history class.
The Real Cowboy Association is one of the premier black rodeo organizations and comes to town on its "Baddest Show on Dirt" tour. In addition to all the calf roping, bull riding, barrel racing and all the rest, there will be a tailgate party starting at 3 p.m. outside the fairgrounds, as well as live music from Lafayette, La., R&B singer Cupid (known for the hit song "Cupid Shuffle" and the dance of the same name) and Michael Cooper, co-founder of the funk legends Con Funk Shun.