East Texans to celebrate heritage of black cowboys at Juneteenth - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

East Texans to celebrate heritage of black cowboys at Juneteenth Black Rodeo


One East Texas group celebrates Juneteenth each year by hosting a black rodeo, and they're getting ready to saddle up again this weekend.

The 20th annual Juneteenth Black Rodeo kicks off Saturday night in Longview. The Real Cowboy Association brings this rodeo to Longview every year to celebrate the history of Juneteenth and the history of the black cowboy.

This year, hundreds of black cowboys from all over the country are coming in to put on a show.

Frank Penny Edwards started the Juneteenth Black Rodeo because he didn't see any black cowboys when he first started going to rodeos.

"Like I've said many times before, I was full-grown when I saw my first African-American cowboy, my first rodeo. And we try to embrace it in a positive way and we try to share it with kids and adults that hadn't seen it or know something about it that don't see it every weekend on television," Edwards said.

And now, cowboys from six states come each year to introduce a sold-out crowd to the black cowboy.

"We've been here all along. We just want to tell you that it's a forgotten cowboy that's coming to the forefront now," said Edwards. "We've got a lot of cowboys now that are in the world championship, a lot of calf ropers, a lot of guys that are doing real great in the rodeo world."

Frank's son Jarriet grew up at the Juneteenth rodeo, and now he helps put on the show each year.

"I believe the best part - all of it. The entertainment is good, the relay race I really like, sometimes I like the bull riding," said Jarriet Edwards. "But I think the relay race is the best part."

Organizers say you'll see all the traditional events, like calf-roping, bull dogging, bareback riding and team roping, with a fun show to boot.

"We started this 20 years ago, and it's important to me to make sure the people of Longview have something to do, something to see, something for the kids, something for the parents, and it's enjoyable to have something to do on the weekends here in Longview," Jarriet Edwards said.

The gates open at 6:30 p.m. and the show starts at 8 p.m. Saturday night at the Maude Cobb Convention Center Arena in Longview. Featured entertainment will include a show by "Bar-Kay's & TK Soul."

Tickets are $12 before the show and $15 or $17 at the gate. They can be purchased at Cavender's in Longview, Tyler or Texarkana or Baskin's in Longview or Tyler.

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