William Pickett, aka: Bill, Will, Willie (1870?-1932) – Of black and Cherokee Indian descent, Bill Pickett was one of the first great rodeo cowboys and is credited with inventing the sport of bulldogging. Born on December 5, 1870 at the Jenks-Branch community of Travis County, Texas, he was the second of 13 children born to Thomas Jefferson Pickett, a former slave, and Mary “Janie” Gilbert. As a child, Pickett attended school through the fifth grade and then began to work at ranching.
By the time he was 18, the family had moved to Taylor, Texas, where he and his brothers began a horse-breaking and “cowboy” service called Pickett Brothers Bronco Busters and Rough Riders Association. Two years later, he married Maggie Turner, a former slave and daughter of a white plantation owner. The couple would eventually have nine children.