Bill Pickett lived and died by the rough and tumble ways of the cowboy. Around 1886, when he was sixteen years old, this son of a former slave from Taylor is said to have wrestled to the ground unruly steer by first biting the animal on the lip and then, while stunned, twisting it into submission by the horns—a novel technique Pickett called “bull-dogging,” which later evolved into steer wrestling in today’s rodeo, sans the biting. Later, in 1932, Pickett was retired and living in Oklahoma when the animal kingdom had its revenge: as he was tending to some horses, he was kicked in the head and died from complications a couple of weeks later. But in the years between, Pickett became an international celebrity, performing for royalty, appearing in motion pictures, and wowing audiences during the 101 Ranch Wild West Show with dazzling and courageous feats of athleticism that would eventually earn him induction, in 1971, into the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame, where he remains the only African American. That legend will be remembered during Saturday’s Bill Pickett Day Celebration. Witness history at a street dedication, in which Northpark Boulevard will be changed to Bill Pickett Trail. Delve into Pickett’s story with a viewing of the thirty-minute documentary Chasing History, featuring the acclaimed historical author Bill Katz talking about black cowboys and their absence in the stories of the West, and an account of the Jackie Robinson–like obstacles Pickett faced by Willie B. Royal, Pickett’s niece. Finally, wrap up the day with a trail ride followed by a dance and social gathering. “Bill Pickett crossed color lines and rode, ate, and slept with his white and Indian counterparts well before the civil rights movement,” said Gerald Anderson, Pickett’s great nephew and the documentary’s co-producer along with Tamika Francis. “The fact that a movie [The Bull-Dogger (1921)] was made about him to show that blacks were more than maids and farm hands shows that he was respected and admired long before blacks were accepted in Hollywood.”
Various locations, June 20, 10 a.m., blackshearolprice.com
A couple of years ago, Houston was at the center of a yoga scandal, when John Friend, creator of the popular Anusara Yoga, was accused of, among other improprieties, running a Wiccan coven, having affairs with female students and instructors, and denying benefits to employees. On Sunday, Houston will look to clear the slate on its sordid yoga past with the first International Day of Yoga, wherein four master yogis—Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev, Baba Ramdev, Sri Sri Ravishankar, and Robert Boustany—will lead workshops to help participants perhaps find the right type of yoga to suit their lives. At a minimum, participants will learn more about the fundamental arts of Asana, or sitting still, and Pranayama, or breathing. In December the United Nations General Assembly issued a resolution to declare June 21 International Day of Yoga, driven by the belief that the ancient Indian practice, wherein harmony of mind and body is the aim, improves brain functions and overall health. Yoga is also about oneness—it loosely translates as “to join”—which the Houston community will strive to resume in the wake of Friend’s transgressions.
George R. Brown Convention Center, June 21, 8:30 a.m., iyogadayhouston.org
No amount of money could fully repair all the damage of the Memorial Day weekend rains, which especially ravaged the sleepy, woodsy town of Wimberley. Among other decimations of that Hill Country environment alone were the ancient and majestic cypress trees the size of double-wides, felled by the raging rapids of the Blanco River. While donations and volunteers are direly needed, a community filled with love is perhaps what is needed most, and that’s what will no doubt be found at Saturday’s Rockin’ the Recovery Flood Benefit. This is an excellent way to lend financial and emotional support while at the same time behold some amazing musical acts, including headliner Sarah Jarosz, the Grammy-nominated Wimberley wunderkind who returns home to the Old Glory Ranch stage she used to play as a kid.
Old Glory Ranch, June 20, 5 p.m., mynkwimberley.org
All Hail the Queen
Mother Nature is acting like a real show-off this month at the Dallas Arboretum’s Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden. Located there along the Petroglyph Walk is a twenty-year-old, fifteen-foot-tall Agave victoria-reginae plant that is experiencing its once-in-a-lifetime bloom. At the pinnacle of this development, a cluster of reddish-purple flowers are expected to dot the top of the stalk of the plant, which is named after Queen Victoria of England and is endangered in its native Sierra Madre mountain range, in Nuevo León, Mexico, due to overharvesting. This blooming process began just over a week ago and should last for about a month. Then the plant will go out with a bang, when its stalk will topple over and it will die.
Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden, June 19-mid-July (TBD), dallasarboretum.org
Fast and Furious
Live life to the nth degree this weekend at the Texas Outlaw Challenge, where the need for speed is met, the sound barrier is challenged, and adrenaline is in abundant supply, with over-the-top competitions including the 100+ MPH Shootout, in which performance boats try to eclipse the record-setting 176 mile-per-hour mark; the Hi-Rev Contest, in which off-shore boats, pro-modified cars, and dragsters blast their engines louder than hell; and the Quick-Draw $500 Contest, in which a Wild West–like showdown is reimagined, but with rubber bullets.
Kemah Boardwalk, June 19-21, texasoutlawchallenge.com
Tequila Two Ways
As tempting as it might be to use high-end tequila in a margarita, it’s a bad idea because, well, the finer points of the liquor will only get washed away by the triple sec and lime juice. But this dilemma over wanting the best of both worlds can be solved at the Texas Tequila and Margarita Festival, with the Tour de Tequila, featuring ten distilleries, and the Margarita Grand Tasting, with eight restaurants and bars, plus eight various purveyors, vying for the best concoction.
Moody Gardens, June 19–20, texasmargaritafestival.com