Saddles & Spurs: Out of the Shadows Exhibition

June 12 - August 7, 2021

SADDLES AND SPURS “Out of the Shadows,” features the story of the trail riding culture in Northwest Louisiana. Starched shirts, saddles, belt buckles, boots, and other memorabilia of the 75 Black trail riding clubs that make up the Bayou State and Northwest Louisiana Trail Riders' Association are on display upstairs in CoolSpace.

SADDLES & SPURS “Out of the Shadows” gives each of the trail riding clubs that make up the Bayou State and Northwest Louisiana Trail Riders' Association--the LA Renegades, Night Riders, Oakland Riders, Morning Star Steppers, Louisiana High Steppers, Road Warriors, and Pony Express--to name a few, a chance to show off it’s own proud name, insignia, flag and other memorabilia. Adding to the excitement of the Opening Day for the entire family will be four Western-style covered wagons out front on Texas Street, along with two of the friendly trail riding horses, Ms. Polly and Mr. Mikey.

Most trail rides are less than ten miles, and though they center around the horses and riders, often include a dizzying array of activities from barbecuing your best brisket to lively zydeco dancing with the likes of accordionist and singer Chris Ardoin or enjoying R&B, Southern Soul and country western music played by a DJ. Men, women and children who make up the Bayou State and Northwest Louisiana Trail Rider Associations will attend the exhibition, including well-known “Trail Boss” Willie L. Davis. Mr. Davis says, “It is important to continue the history of Trail Riders in Louisiana. I’ve been riding since I was five-years-old, but I don’t call myself a cowboy. I’m a farmer and a cattleman. I trail ride for pleasure and to be sociable. I was raised on my grandfather’s farm. I used to ride my horse along the dirt roads to go to the neighbors. Trail riding is something we do together and to keep the family together,” adds Mr. Davis.

Johnetta Jackson is one of the women who rides the trails with the Bayou State Trail Riders Association and serves as the group’s secretary. Johnetta says that in addition to the music, food, and fun of trail riding, fundraising has long been one of the purposes of the association and its various clubs. “Bayou State started as an extended outing of leisure horseback riders traveling to Southern University Ag Center in Baton Rouge to raise awareness and scholarship dollars for students in the Southern University Ag program. The community-focused part of the organizations has grown to embrace youth and senior citizens, awarding scholarships, donating school supplies, funding weekly reader programs, and helping sponsor community activities and provide for residents in rehab facilities,” said Jackson.

There will be diverse, dynamic programming throughout the summer, centered on the Trail Riders Exhibition. A “Friends Night” featuring great music and Line Dancing takes place on Thursday, July 15. Come see what a sampling of a Louisiana Trail Ride looks like Saturday, July 24, when more than 150 riders will gather and parade through downtown Shreveport at 4:00 pm starting on Texas Street. The Parade ends with a “block party” at the scene of the SADDLES AND SPURS “Out of the Shadows” exhibition at artspace. The exhibition closes Saturday, August 7, with a chance to hear Trail Boss Willie L. Davis and other Louisiana Trail Riders at artspace talking about the legend and the reality of the “Black Cowboy.”

Saddles & Spurs: Out of the Shadows Exhibition