Native Village
Youth and Education news
February 2010 Volume 4

Cowboys of Color Rodeo to debut at Stock Show
Condensed by Native Village

Texas: A lot of great rodeo careers begin with a face full of dirt.

But for Cleo Hearn, the real turning point was a television commercial. In 1970, the Oklahoma calf roper and rodeo producer caught the eye of Ford Motor Co. at a New York rodeo .

"They were looking for a cowboy to be in a commercial, and they saw me roping a bale of hay," said the 71-year-old Hearn, who still rides and ropes in senior rodeos.

He got that job, then filmed more commercials for products ranging from Pepsi to Levi jeans. But Ford continued to be a major part of his life.

"They found out I had a degree in business and hired me to work for their tractor division," said Hearn, who worked as a Ford manager for more than 30 years.

In his free time, Hearn was still roping and producing rodeos.  In the early 1970s, he presented a series of "black rodeos." These soon evolved into Cowboys of Color, which gives all minorities experience in the rodeo arena. Today, the competitions often include veteran professionals. But Hearn is most concerned about helping cowboys reach the next level.

"These rodeos are a sort of farm system for professional rodeo," said Hearn. "I want to bring [aspiring minority cowboys] into the atmosphere of professional rodeo."

He also wants to raise audience awareness of minority contributions in the American West.

"My theme is 'Let me educate you while I entertain you,í " said Hearn. "I want to tell you the things that blacks, Hispanics and Indians did during the settling of the West that the history books left out. For example, everybody knows that Columbus discovered America, but not many people know that a black Spaniard, Estavanico, discovered Texas and Mexico."

But for Hearn, the biggest payoff is the response from youth. "Kids come up to me after the rodeo and ask me how they can be a cowboy," he said. "Thatís why this is always in my heart."


Part 1: Artist Seeks Powwow Dancer Who Inspired Mural
Part 2: Artist Finally Locates Native Performer from 1991 Powwow Featured in Portrait
Russian Skaters' Aborigine Theme Causes Outcry
 Native Films Showing at Sundance


Haskell Offers Haven for Hidden Talent
Cowboys of Color Rodeo to Debut at Stock Show
Cherokee National Youth Choir Release Entertaining, Educational CD

Lelani Munter's Gree Team Roars on to Daytona

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