AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) – Black Reins Magazine began in 2013 highlighting accomplishments for minorities in the equestrian industry.
KAMR Local 4’s Crystal Martinez follows one of the many African American cowboys accomplishing goals and gaining notoriety through horsemanship.
It is a passion, a profession and part of a legacy.
“I can remember trying to drag a saddle around trying to put it up and my grandpa would say come on you’ll have your day,” Brad Russo, Contributor for Black Reins Magazine, stated.
Now, nearly 28 years later that day has come. Russo now saddles horses everyday as part of Houston’s mounted patrol and in his spare time he’s a contributor to a magazine dedicated to showcasing the black cowboy.
“Lets take it back to the 1800’s. we talk about the end of slavery, we release slaves these slaves then came south and there were plenty that came clear cut through the Panhandle,” Russo stated.
Cowboys have changed throughout the years doing more than just cattle drives but also showcasing there talents in equine sports and rodeos.
“There was a polo player there in San Francisco. You would have never known about him and I know that he didn’t grow up here in Texas with the rest of us who have been around horses our whole life. There are these very rare cowboys that get up everyday working the ranch that we’ll never see,” Russo said.
However, these rare cowboys are not just in San Francisco.
“I’ve put my eyes on many roping events that come through in New Mexico and Oklahoma and the first thing that gets said is do you know any cowboys up in the panhandle? I can imagine in the near future we’ll start to see more things pop up there. I myself have spoken to some people that say there’s a lot of talent out there,” Russo stated.
Talented cowboys like Glenn Jackson, are slowly gaining fame in the Panhandle area.
“As far as rodeo I’m a calf roper. I’ve been rodeoing on a professional level since 1999. I’ve been to every major pro rodeo with the exception to the national finals,” Glenn Jackson, Cowboy and professional stuntman, explained.
Jackson now spends a lot of his time working on movie sets as a stunt man doing what he loves,
a craft that is being passed down from generation to generation.
“I was pretty much born into the rodeo industry. My grandpa was a rodeo stock contractor and then my uncle, my dad,” Jackson said.
Even with the lights and cameras and having a big name in the rodeo circuit Jackson said it has not always been an easy ride.
“I’ve never truly experienced racism, I’ve experienced ignorance. Just slight comments here and there, but never anything personal or offensive enough to make me want to quit, ” Jackson stated.
Quitting is not an option for cowboys regardless of how hard the road can be however rising above adversity is.
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