Pioneer Cowboy Has Ties in East Texas - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

08/17/03 - Longview

Pioneer Cowboy Has Ties in East Texas

     In the rough and tumble world of professional rodeo during the 20's and 30's... African Americans were not permitted to compete against white cowboys... But Alonzo Pettie wouldn't accept that. "I'm proud of him because of the cowboy he was because you know back then black cowboys didn't get the opportunities back then", says Pettie's niece Carolyn Macklin.

      Pettie died August 2nd at 93... He's remembered as Colorado's oldest black cowboy... But in East Texas his family remembers him for much more. "He didn't let nothing or nobody stop him from doing what he wanted to do and this was the main thing that he wanted was to be in the rodeo business and nothing stopped him" says Macklin.

      Born in Tyler he learned to ride early, and told family that he was going to be a cowboy... "That's what he always wanted to be when he was a kid that's what he always said ... If i live to get it I'm going to be a cowboy" according to Petties sister 101 year old Virgie Lee Jones.

      He worked for years in opening acts at rodeos around the country, but not allowed to compete with the white cowboys... But he was never bitter and kept working at it, finally creating a black rodeo in Colorado's.

     He broke the barriers of racism to allow African Americans to compete in the 50"s.. And he even went on to a western modeling career with his image on European magazines. History records many great fights for equality... And Petties family wants us to remember about his fight, and how he won.

Bob Hallmark reporting.

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