New Exhibit In Cody Portrays Black Cowboys And Rodeos
Eight Seconds is the work of photographer Ivan McClellan. He was raised in Kansas City, Kansas and is a Black man. But McClellan wasn't exposed to Black rodeos and Black cowboys until 2015, when he went to the first one in Oklahoma.
"I was like, 'Black people aren't cowboys.' I just kind of had that idea in my head. And it wasn't until I went to this rodeo and I saw people roping and wrestling steers and riding bulls and wearing Stetsons and all of that stuff, but they were all Black. I was like, 'It's undeniable. These are cowboys. They're real.'"
He started taking pictures and posting them on social media. That's when he realized many people weren't aware this culture existed. McClellan said it's important for him to share this with the world.
"All of these things really formed the American West. And all of these folks made a major contribution to the West," said McClellan. "So as we tell stories, and as we research that identity of the American cowboy, let's like try to expand it and be more inclusive."