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Myrtis Dightman

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Information about Myrtis Dightman

Profile image of Myrtis Dightman

Profession

Category:
SportsMakers
Occupation(s):
Bull Rider

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Black, Brown
Favorite Food:
Pinto Beans, Rice
Favorite Time of Year:
Summer
Favorite Vacation Spot:
East Texas
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
5/7/1935
Birth Location:
Crockett, Texas

Profession

Category:
SportsMakers
Occupation(s):
Bull Rider

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Black, Brown
Favorite Food:
Pinto Beans, Rice
Favorite Time of Year:
Summer
Favorite Vacation Spot:
East Texas
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
5/7/1935
Birth Location:
Crockett
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Biography

Admired cowboy and pioneer in bull riding, Myrtis Dightman was born on May 7, 1935, in Crockett, Texas. Dightman grew up on a ranch with his siblings. As he grew older, he left school to work on the ranch. His first introduction to the Prairie View Trailride was in 1957 and in 1958-1960, he worked as a bullfighter. It was not until 1960 that Dightman began bull riding for the first time with the help of James Francis, Jr. Francis and Dightman founded the Prairie View Trailride Assocation in 1957 with an emphasis on the well-being and development of agriculture.

In 1966, Dightman became the first black cowboy to qualify for the Professional Rodeo Association National Finals. He went on to qualify six more times, missing just once between 1966 and 1972. Dightman finished third in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association World Standings in 1967 and 1968. He also won the Calgary Stampede in 1971 before appearing in the movie J.W. Coop with Cliff Robertson as himself. The following year, Dightman won the bull riding competition at the Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo and competed in his last Pro Rodeo Association National Finals, placing seventh overall. He also had a small role as himself in Junior Bonner starring Steve McQueen. In 1987, Dightman began working at the American Hat Company which manufactured and sold “Myrtis Dightman signature” hat designs.

After retiring from bull riding, Dightman was inducted into several Hall of Fames including the Texas Rodeo Hall of Fame as its first living African American, and the National Cowboy Hall of Fame in 1997. In 2001, Dightman was inducted into the Texas Rodeo Cowboy Hall of Fame and in 2003, he entered the National Cowboys of Color Museum and Hall of Fame. On top of these inductions, in 2003, he was also inducted into the Professional Bull Rider’s Ring of Honor. In tribute to his accomplishments, a bronze statue of Dightman is being erected in the PorthAgricultural Indoor Arena in Crockett, Texas, where they hold an annual rodeo named after him.

Myrtis Dightman was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on May 10, 2010.

See how Myrtis Dightman is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Myrtis Dightman's interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Myrtis Dightman lists his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Myrtis Dightman describes his mother's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Myrtis Dightman describes his father's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Myrtis Dightman describes his earliest childhood memory
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Myrtis Dightman talks about his early activities
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Myrtis Dightman describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Myrtis Dightman recalls his experiences at Crockett High School in Crockett, Texas
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Myrtis Dightman describes his home in Crockett, Texas
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Myrtis Dightman recalls his early aspirations to be a cowboy and ranch owner
  • Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Myrtis Dightman describes his early employment in Houston, Texas
  • Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Myrtis Dightman recalls his start as a bullfighter
  • Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Myrtis Dightman remembers founding the Prairie View Trail Ride Association, pt. 1
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Myrtis Dightman remembers founding the Prairie View Trail Ride Association, pt. 2
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Myrtis Dightman recalls the start his career as a bull rider
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Myrtis Dightman describes his experiences of racial discrimination, pt. 1
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Myrtis Dightman describes his experiences of racial discrimination, pt. 2
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Myrtis Dightman talks about his experiences at the National Finals Rodeo
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Myrtis Dightman recalls appearing in the film 'J.W. Coop'
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Myrtis Dightman describes the rules of bull riding
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Myrtis Dightman describes the Prairie View Trail Ride Association
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Myrtis Dightman talks about his professional awards
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Myrtis Dightman reflects upon his experiences as a bull rider
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Myrtis Dightman talks about his activities during retirement
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Myrtis Dightman describes his family
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Myrtis Dightman shares a message to future generations
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Myrtis Dightman reflects upon his life
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Myrtis Dightman reflects upon his legacy
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Myrtis Dightman narrates his photographs