In a small corral, 26-year-old Derrick Jennings is teaching some pint-size cowboys and girls about horse bridles. He looks up from under the brim of a very dusty cowboy hat, wide grin.
"Growing up, it was either gang bang or try to find something different," he says. "And thank you, Lord, I found something different."
He's never without his hat, boots or cowboy belt buckle. They let people know who he is, he says: employed, focused, hardworking — an all-around cowboy.
In Compton you'll see riders on busy streets or in a cloud of dust on one of the few dirt trails that occasionally run parallel to highways and train tracks. Some travel long distances to meet up at rodeos.
"Whenever I show up at a pro rodeo, they're surprised because I'm the only African-American that participates in the bareback ride, nationwide."
Tre Hosley, the son of Andrew Hosley, drives an old car with plenty of rodeo miles on it. In the trunk is a worn saddle, two pairs of chaps and a pair of gloves.
"A lot of people like judges and announcers, they come up to me and ask me, 'How in the world did you get to doing this?' " Tre says.
Compton is still a city mapped by unseen boundaries that define one gang territory from another. When Tre comes back home, he makes sure he's always wearing one of his rodeo belt buckles. For Derrick Jennings, it's his hat.
"Hey bro," Jennings says, "I'm a cowboy. Look here, you can put those guns down, I'm no threat, I pose no threat."
The kids growing up Compton see more than most. If they're lucky, one day, it might be a couple of cowboys riding down their street.