Article by: Niko Mann
The Jackson family in Upper Marlboro, Maryland is honoring the country’s legacy of Black cowboys. The family sat down with Good Morning America to discuss their rodeo lifestyle.
Corey Jackson and Robyn Jackson met at the Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo, a rodeo known for celebrating Black cowboys and cowgirls. Mr. Jackson always dreamed of becoming a cowboy, and Mrs. Jackson came from a family of horse trainers. Mr. Jackson said that he first became interested in being a cowboy from watching old westerns with his grandfather.
“Just from that little young age, you know, seeing just the mystique of the cowboy riding the western range, what have you, I fell in love with it..”
The couple went on to have five children, 15-year-old Robert Jackson, 14-year-old Nic Jackson, 9-year-old Dylan Jackson, and 12-year-old twins Reagan Jackson and Ryan Jackson. The family trains on land bought and developed by Mrs. Jackson’s father, Robert Harper. Four of their children compete in rodeos, and the couple’s son, Nic won the 2020 Junior World Bull Riding Championships when he was just 13. He was the first champion from the Northeast.
The Jacksons are homeschooled and they practice daily for rodeo competitions. Mr. Jackson said that the cowboy lifestyle is a passion and the family is always thinking about the rodeo. Robert has cerebral palsy and doesn’t compete but is still able to ride and bond with the horses.
“It’s a passion, you know, it’s a lifestyle. It’s just not something that we do. It goes … so far deep, deeper than just the competition,” he said. “So when we’re not rodeoing, we’re talking about rodeo, we’re watching rodeo … we’re watching videos of the kids’ performances.”
Mrs. Jackson said that she is sometimes moved when she thinks of how her father’s choices provided for her future family.
“It almost brings tears to my eyes because I don’t think we ever, you know, we just never imagined. You don’t know what your future holds,” she said.
“I don’t know that I had ever planned to have little cowboys and cowggirls but that is what happened.”
And I’m so thankful because all the decisions that my dad made early on, we had no idea how that was going to impact our lives today.”