Ariat Expands Partnership with Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo  

Company Named Co-Presenting Sponsor of National Rodeo Tour

Ariat, the leader in innovative equestrian footwear and apparel, announces an expanded partnership with the Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo (BPIR). Beginning this season, Ariat will be the official western apparel and boot sponsor of the BPIR and will also serve as co-presenting sponsor of the tour.

Now in its 35th year, the BPIR is named for William “Bill” Pickett, an African American and Cherokee cowboy and Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame inductee. The only African American touring rodeo in the country, the BPIR honors Bill’s legacy and tells the story of the Black Cowboy and Cowgirl while offering communities a family-friendly atmosphere. The Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo continues its 35th anniversary tour this weekend, July 13-14, in Oakland, CA.

Said, Susan Alcala, vice president, partnership marketing at Ariat, “The Black Cowboy has made significant contributions to rodeo and his legacy is deeply rooted in the Old West. Ariat is proud to partner with an organization that enables men and women to be competitive and pursue their passion for rodeo. We have tremendous respect for the BPIR and are honored to expand our support this year.”

“The Ariat brand is not only well-known, but well respected within the realm of western sport,” said Valeria Howard Cunningham, Producer and CEO, BPIR. “We are thrilled to have Ariat continue their support as a co-presenting sponsor of our 35th Anniversary rodeo tour. Ariat has been a long-time partner of the BPIR, and we greatly appreciate their continued support and enthusiasm for our athletes and community.”

About Ariat
Ariat International, Inc. is the leading manufacturer of innovative performance equestrian footwear and apparel. Featuring patented technologies designed to deliver stability, durability and comfort, Ariat pioneered the application of advanced athletic shoe technology into English riding boots and authentic Western boots. Ariat products are sold in a network of retail outlets throughout the world.

For more information about Ariat products or for the Ariat retailer nearest you, contact Ariat at 800.899.8141 or visit,, and

About Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo
In 1984, Lu Vason had the vision to entertain audiences and create and preserve the history and contributions of African American cowboys and cowgirls. The result, The Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo (BPIR) titled "The Greatest Show on Dirt".  At that time, Vason had no idea that the rodeo would be in existence today, celebrating its 35th anniversary.  Valeria Howard Cunningham, Lu's then-wife assumed the ownership and leadership of the BPIR when his health declined in 2010. Under her leadership, the rodeo continues to thrive and grow. Valeria; a black woman has succeeded in the rodeo industry, a white male-dominated industry as being the only woman to own a national touring rodeo company. BPIR, the only African American touring rodeo in the country continues in its mission of telling the stories of Black Cowboys and Cowgirls across the US, while entertaining audiences and offering the community a clean, family-friendly and fun event.  For all information and tour dates please visit

Ariat Contact: Erica Hess

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