Message from BPRIF Board Chair - Ken Johnson

We are dedicated to broadening the Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo Foundation (BPIRF) reach, objectives, and strategic course. Our commitment to our programs and supporters remains unwavering, and the foundation's growth is largely owed to our corporate partners' generosity. We extend our deepest gratitude to CoBank for their role as our 2023 Scholarship Sponsor.

Thanks to the philanthropic ethos of our corporate sponsors and individual contributors, we've received vital funding to enhance our community engagement and programs. Our charitable endeavors consistently surpass expectations, aligning with our strategic objectives. We've bolstered our capacity to offer increased health, educational, and financial assistance to community programs and students pursuing higher education. Through the Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo (BPIR), we continue to provide avenues for youth and young adults to connect with the legacy of the Black Cowboy and Cowgirl.

This year, we aim to amplify our support for student education by launching our College Internship Partnership. This initiative will connect our scholarship recipients majoring in agricultural science, business, marketing, finance, and accounting with corporate partners. The dividends of a college education extend to the individual and the communities where the Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo takes center stage.

Research consistently demonstrates that investing in communities and students, particularly college graduates, fosters economic stability, security, community service, and leadership.

The foundation is poised to reinvigorate its efforts by:

• Honoring the legacy of our founder, Lu Vason, alongside the contributions of Black Cowboys, Cowgirls, and other legendary figures in the American West.
• Supporting diverse communities through our multifaceted programs.
• Expanding the reach of our scholarships and grants nationwide under the Bill Pickett Memorial Scholarship Fund (BPMSF).

Our Board of Directors and Advisory Board are committed to expanding our influence. Our foremost objectives for the future include:

• Securing funding or corporate sponsorship for the Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo Traveling Museum for 2024 and 2025.
• Identifying a permanent location for the Museum.
• Preserving and augmenting archives and artifacts related to the Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo.
• Cultivating new initiatives and advancing educational, health, and wellness programs.
• Providing support and resources to our communities.

I express my utmost appreciation to our sponsors, partners, donors, volunteers, talented cowboys and cowgirls, dedicated board, and our enthusiastic audience, all of whom contribute significantly to our success.

Let's saddle up and continue making a positive impact on our community!

Kenneth "Ken" Johnson
Board of Directors Chairman
Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo Foundation

Board Values

  • Integrity – We act with honesty and integrity in everything we do
  • Passion – We are driven by providing opportunities
  • Diversity – We value, appreciate, and respect all people for their uniqueness
  • Quality – We support the BPIR in providing a unique and meaningful rodeo experience
  • Stewardship – We operate a fiscally responsible organization built on providing financial support to the community
  • Community – We engage with regions where the BPIR is active
  • Partnership – We develop strong partnerships throughout the nation
  • Heritage – We honor culture and the contributions African Americans have made to the American West!

To be considered for board service please contact. [email protected] or (720) 290-2778.

Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo Board of Directors

  • Kenneth Johnson – Chairman of the BPIRF Board– President & Owner KennJohn, LLC
  • Honorable Angela Williams – Former State Senator, Colorado General Assembly &  Director with Strive Education
  • Valeria Cunningham – Treasurer -President & CEO Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo
  • Margo Wade LaDrew –Community Liaison and Marketing – President & Owner Wade and Associates
  • Sheri Vason – Secretary - Event Planner
  • Allegra “Happy Haynes – Executive Director of Denver Parks and Recreations
  • Jerome Blackwell – Consultant – Kaiser Permanente of Colorado

Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo Foundation Advisory Board of Directors

  • Reginald T. Dorsey
  • Obba Babatunde'
  • James Pickens, Jr.
  • Glynn Turman
  • Barbara Shannon Bannister
  • Terrance Carroll
  • Ronnie Cunningham
  • Stephanie Haynes
  • Maurice Wade
  • Peggy Wortham