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20

FRIDAY

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Yessiree, the Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo, “A Salute to Black Cowboys,” is a-ridin’ into town, a-whompin’ and a-whoopin’, with bull-doggin’, calf-ropin’, and even ladies’ barrel-racin’. Promoter Lu Vason came up with the idea not long after Mel Brooks’ spoof Blazing Saddles hit theaters in 1974. In that film, Brooks flipped the Western-film formula in casting African-American Cleavon Little as the story’s hero. Vason similarly set out to address the lack of actual black cowboys in 1977—but with considerably less schtick. Seven years later, Vason launched today’s attraction, naming it after real-life African-American bull-dogger Bill Pickett. Now in its 19th year, the rodeo shows that race doesn’t matter in wranglin’. So saddle up, partner. You’d do it for Randolph Scott. Come on down Saturday, Sept. 21, at 1:30 and 7:30 p.m., and tonight at 7:30 p.m. at the Show Place Arena, 14900 Pennsylvania Ave., Upper Marlboro. $18. (202) 432-7328. (Chris Shott)