At 11, This Cowgirl Made History at First Televised Black Rodeo

Kortnee Solomon, a fourth-generation Texas cowgirl, performed in the first nationally broadcast Black rodeo in 2021 at the age of 11.

Kortnee, born and raised in Texas, has a family heritage of rodeo, according to Andscape. Her mother, Kanesha Jackson, has won 11 invitationals, and her father, Cory Solomon, is a tie-down roper for the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association. Kortnee’s grandmother, Stephanie Haynes, has 18 invitational titles and served on the Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo board, while her grandfather, Sedgwick Haynes, was the Rodeo’s general manager until his death.

Kortnee debuted at the Bill Pickett Rodeo when she was only five. She has since won multiple titles in the ladies’ barrel and junior breakaway categories.

The Bill Pickett Invitational, one of the longest Black-owned rodeo circuits, has partnered with Professional Bull Riders to host the Showdown in Vegas in 2021, which will feature seven professional events like as bareback riding and calf roping. Kortnee, along with the other cowboys and cowgirls who competed, left their stamp on the historic event that was the first nationally televised Black Rodeo.

The young cowgirl’s world entails more than just acquiring rodeo skills. She and her mother, who live in Hempstead, Texas, care for their horses, which they feed, groom, train, and ride. Jackson, Kortnee’s mother, stressed their special bond with the horses, each with its own personality.

The rodeo season typically runs from May to September, with at least one event per weekend. Despite her dedication to the sport, Kortnee’s mother believes it is crucial for her to have a normal childhood, which includes dance, gymnastics, cheerleading, and basketball.

Kortnee, who is sometimes the lone girl in contests, stays focused on her performance, carving out time before each run for quiet reflection.

“Before I run, I like to be by myself and to think about what I am going to do in that run,” she said.

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