Virginia’s Own Modern Day Black Cowboy

by: Tiffany L. Johnson Special to the AFRO
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Ronnie Marshall’s passion for horses began when he played with one plastic horse at his grandmother’s house more than four decades ago.

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Ronnie Marshall is a horse ranch owner.

“As a young teenager, I bought a horse at age 16 and kept it at a stable near my house. I thought I was keeping it a secret. As long as I was around the horse, I stayed out of trouble. By the time I was in high school I started competing.” Marshall told the AFRO.

He now owns a full blown horse ranch located in Stafford, Va. The country style ranch is home to seven horses that he raised, and trained to compete in rodeo competitions around the country.

His passion for horses keeps him working from sun up to sun down. He said there’s so much to do in order to prepare his horses for competition, and keeping them well groomed. Marshall also owns Star Barbershop in Arlington, Va. in addition to pursuing his passion.

Now, that Marshall is off the road, he continues working with horses, and is also an active member of the United Horsemanship Association in Fredericksburg, Va. The association is a group of horse owners and enthusiasts, whose primary focus is raise awareness to the contributions in horsemanship made by people of diverse cultures.

“A lot of black people run cattle ranches.” he said.

It was Marshall’s love for horses and competing that kept him on the road for more than 20 years. He said if he was not a family man he probably would have stayed on the road.

On the road or not, Marshall will not give up his love.

He said he rides one or two of his horses a day. He also said his ranch is always open for people who wish to practice riding; especially African American children.

Marshall said he plans to take some of his best horses to the Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo at Show Place Arena in Upper Marlboro, Md. Sept. 20. The rodeo’s namesake was an African-American cowboy who became famous in the late 20th century for his bull-wrangling technique.

The rodeo has been holding events for 30 years t in several cities and states throughout the country, including Memphis, Tenn.; Atlanta, Ga.; Los Angeles, Calif.; and Washington D.C.

To learn more about the Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo, visit billpickettrodeo.org.

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