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Wild, Wild West
Voices of the West - Bill Pickett



Voices of the West - Bill Pickett
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 5 to 6
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   5.2

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    bulldogger, inhumane, steers, compact, competitive, extremely, imagine, slavery, stunt, mustache, fairs, bulldog, dusky, runaway, freedman, traveled
     content words:    Bill Pickett, Travis County, William M., When Pickett, Pickett Brothers Bronco Busters, Rough Riders Association, Wild West Shows, Great Britain, Dusky Demon, Bull Dogger


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Voices of the West - Bill Pickett
By Trista L. Pollard
  

1     Imagine you are at a rodeo. The bulldogging event is about to begin. A cowboy races into the ring on his horse. He leaps from the horse and wrestles a steer to the ground. Instead of his hands, this cowboy uses his teeth to wrestle the cow. This cowboy was Bill Pickett. He invented a unique method for wrestling steers.
 
2     In Travis County, near Taylor, Texas, William M. "Bill" Pickett was born in 1870. He was born a freedman because slavery had already ended. He was one of five boys out of thirteen children. When Pickett was in fifth grade, he left school. He made his way to a ranch and became a ranch hand. He would learn to ride horses and care for long horn steers. This is when he got his idea for bulldogging. Cattlemen used trained bulldogs when they herded cattle. The bulldog chased after stray cattle. The dogs used their teeth to bite the upper nose and lip of the cow. This area was extremely sensitive. The cow would stop moving until the dog released its upper lip. After watching bulldogs catch runaway cows, Pickett decided he could use the same technique.
 
3     Bill Pickett practiced this stunt while he worked on ranches. He would ride fast and leap off his horse to wrestle the steer. He then wrestled the steer to the ground. Once on the ground, Pickett would bite the upper nose and lip of the steer. He held his grip until the cow stopped moving. So, you are probably wondering about Pickett's teeth. Due to this method, he lost quite a few teeth. After performing this stunt in local fairs, Pickett was nicknamed the "Bulldogger." People who saw Pickett said he was athletic and compact. He was five feet seven inches tall with dark skin and a mustache. He also dressed in a Spanish bullfighter costume.

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