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Midwest Black International Rodeo returns to Bakersfield after 9 years

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - For the first time in nine years, the Midwest Black International Rodeo was back in Bakersfield Friday.

"Because we haven't been here in so long, these people haven't seen it, so that in itself makes it fun," general manager of the rodeo Carolyn Carter said. "We as contestants, that's what we do, I mean we rodeo and we compete. It's like a family."

The Kern County Black Chamber of Commerce partnered with the rodeo, aiming to bring awareness to the history behind African Americans in agriculture.

"We want to show other individuals that this isn't a taboo thing," Nathan Banks with the chamber said. "This is not something new. Agriculture to African-Americans is not new."

Competitions included calf roping, barrel racing, steer wrestling and more.

Before the festivities got underway a history lesson show casing and preserving the African-American rodeo athlete took place.

"You don't see anything about black cowboys in the history books, it's just not there. Like the Lone Ranger, nobody knew he was black because the TV doesn't portray that, the history book doesn't dictate that," Carter said. "So we are real and we are out here. As a traveling grew we can show them there are black cowboys and cowgirls."

The rodeo makes its way to Los Angeles.


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