The Most Famous Black Cowboy, Ranked

Choose the cowboy you think is the most famous!

Author: Gregor Krambs
Updated on May 22, 2024 07:05
The history of Black cowboys is a rich and nuanced part of American culture, often overshadowed by more widely recognized figures of the Old West. By focusing on these figures, we gain a deeper understanding of the diverse narratives that shaped the frontier. These cowboys, who were instrumental in shaping the early days of the American West, represent a significant yet frequently overlooked chapter in the story of expansion and survival. By casting a vote on the most noteworthy Black cowboys, users contribute to the celebration of these figures, ensuring their stories and contributions are acknowledged and remembered. Each vote helps to elevate the recognition of these men, showing appreciation for their skills and bravery. This dynamic ranking acts as a living tribute to their legacies, enriched by the participation of the community.

Who Is the Most Famous Black Cowboy?

  1. 1
    Nat Love
    Unknown authorUnknown author · Public domain
    Nat Love is also known as Deadwood Dick, he was a legendary cowboy and rodeo star in the late 1800s. He wrote his autobiography, "Life and Adventures of Nat Love, Better Known in the Cattle Country as Deadwood Dick" in 1907.
  2. 2
    Bill Pickett is known for inventing the rodeo sport of bulldogging, where a cowboy jumps from his horse and wrestles a steer to the ground by biting its lip. He was inducted into the National Rodeo Cowboy Hall of Fame in 1971.
    Bill Pickett in other rankings
  3. 3
    Bass Reeves
    Unknown authorUnknown author · Public domain
    Bass Reeves is a former slave who became the first Black deputy U.S. Marshal west of the Mississippi River. He was credited with arresting over 3,000 criminals during his career.
    Bass Reeves in other rankings
  4. 4
    Bose Ikard is a cowboy and ranch hand who worked for Charles Goodnight, one of the pioneers of the cattle industry. Ikard was known for his loyalty and hard work, and was immortalized in Larry McMurtry's novel "Lonesome Dove."
  5. 5
    John Ware is a Canadian cowboy who was known for his skill with horses and his contributions to the ranching industry in Alberta. He was inducted into the Canadian Cowboy Hall of Fame in 1979.
  6. 6
    Isom Dart
    Unidentified photographer · Public domain
    Isom Dart is a cowboy and outlaw who became a folk hero in the American West. He was known for his daring exploits, including robbing trains and stagecoaches.
  7. 7
    Bob Lemmons is a legendary cowboy and horse trainer who was born into slavery in Texas. He became known for his skill in catching wild mustangs, and his techniques were passed down through generations of cowboys.
  8. 8
    Robert Johnson is a cowboy and rodeo star who was known for his skill in bull riding. He was a two-time world champion in the 1950s and was inducted into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame in 1979.
    Robert Johnson in other rankings
  9. 9
    Mary Fields
    Unknown authorUnknown author · Public domain
    Mary Fields is also known as Stagecoach Mary, she was the first Black woman to work for the U.S. Postal Service and became a legend in the American West. She was known for her toughness and her ability to handle difficult situations.
    Mary Fields in other rankings
  10. 10
    George Fletcher is a Black cowboy who competed in the first official rodeo in Prescott, Arizona in 1888. He was known for his skill in steer wrestling and was a popular figure in the rodeo circuit.

Missing your favorite cowboy?


About this ranking

This is a community-based ranking of the most famous Black cowboy. We do our best to provide fair voting, but it is not intended to be exhaustive. So if you notice something or Cowboy is missing, feel free to help improve the ranking!


  • 180 votes
  • 10 ranked items

Voting Rules

A participant may cast an up or down vote for each Cowboy once every 24 hours. The rank of each Cowboy is then calculated from the weighted sum of all up and down votes.


More information on most famous black cowboy

When most people think of cowboys, they may picture a rugged, ruggedly handsome white man riding through the Wild West. However, the history of black cowboys in America is rich and often overlooked. In fact, it's estimated that one in four cowboys during the late 1800s was black. These cowboys worked alongside their white counterparts as trail drivers, cowhands, and ranchers. One of the most famous black cowboys was Nat Love, also known as "Deadwood Dick." Born a slave in Tennessee in 1854, Love ran away from his plantation at the age of 15 and eventually made his way to Dodge City, Kansas. There, he found work on various ranches and became known for his expert horsemanship and marksmanship. Love went on to become a skilled rodeo performer and even won the roping contest at the Cheyenne Frontier Days rodeo in 1907. He later wrote an autobiography, "Life and Adventures of Nat Love," which detailed his experiences as a cowboy and helped to bring attention to the contributions of black cowboys in American history. Other notable black cowboys include Bill Pickett, who invented the rodeo sport of bulldogging, and Bose Ikard, who was a trusted companion and trail driver for legendary cowboy Charles Goodnight. Today, the legacy of these brave and skilled cowboys lives on through movies, books, and the continued celebration of their contributions to American history.

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