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From  Issue
17 February 2002
Wrapping Up The "Olympic" Rodeo Campaign

From SHARK - news@sharkonline.org 

Dear Friends,

As most of you know, the Olympic rodeo went off in a series of three performances, February 9-11. While this may lead some of our people to believe that our efforts against the rodeo world were fruitless, I am here to tell you that this is not the case.

I consider this campaign to be one of the most productive I have ever been a part of, and I have little doubt that our opposition also feels that the animal protection movement was the big, big winner. However, since there was no clear knockout in this match-up, let's score this contest, and see who wins on points, in the style of the Olympic Games.

Here at SHARK, we have impaneled a team of specially trained, specially qualified judges (actually, its just me) to carefully and skillfully (well, I'm taking my best shot) score this contest.

In October, the atmosphere in rodeo-friendly Salt Lake City (SLC) was extremely hostile to animal protectors. Mitt Romney, president of the Salt Lake Organizing Committee (SLOC) referred to animal protectors as "a bigger threat to the Olympics than Osama Bin Laden." The media ate it up, and the anti-animal rhetoric went on unabated until the Tiger Truck arrived with its video images of undeniable rodeo animal abuse. Almost immediately, the polls in SLC began to reflect the effect of the Tiger.

Score a point for the animals.

Salt Lake animal protector Colleen Gardner made a presentation to SLC Mayor
Rocky Anderson. After careful consideration, Mayor Anderson publicly came out against the Olympic rodeo.

Score a big point for the animals.

When a couple columnists for a local Salt Lake newspaper write articles bashing animal protectors, I challenged the columnists, as well as the staff of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association and local rodeo supporters to a debate. Not one rodeo supporter shows. The blowout was well covered by the television, radio and print media.

Score another point for the animals.

In early January, with the rodeo on shaky ground, Utah State Representative Paul Ray entered the rodeo controversy with claims that SHARK is a terrorist organization that had threatened the Olympics -- a completely baseless and utterly ridiculous claim that received a far amount of media attention.

Score a point for the rodeo Mafia

On January 4, the Tiger caught the Olympic Torch in Chicago, Illinois, beginning a dizzying month-long odyssey that would take it to cities in Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, Missouri, Kansas, New Mexico, Arizona, California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, and Utah. This resulted in millions of people seeing the Tiger's rodeo presentation directly, and more millions see it by way of media coverage.

Score a whole boatload of points for the animals.

In early February, Ray repeated his baseless charges about animal advocates being terrorists on live Salt Lake City television, after he foolishly agreed to debate me on the rodeo issue. Mr. Ray lost the debate, and lost more when SHARK filed a defamation lawsuit against him. The story of the lawsuit received media attention around the nation.

Score more points for the animals.

When the Olympic Torch came to Taylorsville High School, the Tiger showed up to support the High School's student animal rights group. While local police and teachers stood by and did nothing, violent pro-rodeo students pelted the truck with snowballs, ice balls and bottles. Two shark video cameras documented the violence, and numerous students have been suspended. One student who jumped on the side of the Tiger, leaving numerous dents, faces criminal charges. The violent people - the rodeo people - were again exposed.

More points for the animals.

When the Olympic rodeo finally went off, it was not a bull, but a steer. The calves and steers, the victims who usually suffer the most in a rodeo, were treated with kid gloves, to the point that they had little reason to run out of the chutes. They seemed to sense that they had a free pass for a change.

The contestants were the most proficient lot the rodeo Mafia had to offer. These guys aren't supposed to miss, but they missed a lot of the animals because they had to take great care not to hurt them. Calf ropers roped air, and steer wrestlers made contact with the ground, while steers stood back at the chutes and watched.

Score another point for the animals.

When at one point the rodeo people became so frustrated with the stalling steers, they began tail pulling, which was a direct violation of promises from SLOC president Mitt Romney and Olympic Cultural Director Ray Grant that tail pulling would not happen. Unfortunately, the animal abusers had a SHARK video camera watching them, and their cruelty became the topic of a SHARK press conference. This resulted in another wave of negative attention to the rodeo, and the Olympics.

PRCA "animal welfare coordinator" Cindy Schonholtz gave conflicting statements to the media. Schonholtz told one newspaper that tail pulling was a violation of PRCA rules, and that a contestant could be disqualified. However, she told another newspaper that the PRCA had no specific rule against tail pulling. So, Cindy, what's the real deal?

Based on the rodeo Mafia sticking its cow dung encrusted foot in its mouth, score another point for the animals.

In the case of the bucking horses, the rodeo used huge horses that bucked less, but were harder to injure. These horses dwarfed the pickup horses. It was still cruelty, but it was to a lesser degree.

Score another point for the animals.

For the bulls, it was a holiday from the electric prod. With more of their faculties, the bulls did quite a job on a few of the contestants.

Score another point for the animals.

Back in December, animal protectors from the US, England and Germany traveled to Lausanne, Switzerland to meet with Dr. Patrick Schamasch, an official with the International Olympic Committee. Dr. Schamasch said the committee would look into the rodeo issue in general, but promised that rodeo contestants would not get bronze, silver and gold medals. However, the same Dr. Schamasch was in the rodeo stands watching when his promise was violated, and rodeo contestants did receive bronze, silver and gold medals.

Scoring on this issue is split. Score one for the phony cowboys for getting what they didn't deserve, but score one for the animals for our expose of spineless Olympic officials.

The rodeo Mafia was so upset about the media attention given to animal protectors, they decided to spurn any reporters who properly reported both sides of the story. The media spurned included CNN!

Score another point for the animals.

With the Olympic rodeo hemorrhaging in the area of public relations, they had to bring in the biggest rodeo apologists the polygamy state has to offer. Governor Mike Leavitt, Senator Orin Hatch, and my debate buddy Utah State Representative Paul Ray did their best to lend an air of credibility to the spectacle.

All right, like it or not, political cronies count. Score a point for the rodeo Mafia.

A very interesting thing that happened during the three-day rodeo was the transformation of the local police. In the beginning, they were professional, but not particularly friendly. But after they watched the Tiger's images for a while, the cops overwhelmingly had a change of heart. They were doing just what we do, focusing on the victims!

The cops connected with us, and became very sensitive to the plight of rodeo animals! I must admit that even I was surprised. They didn't have to say a thing, but they wanted to. They wanted us to know that they hadn't realized the crap that went on in rodeos, and did not support it now that they saw it for themselves.

Score a paddy wagon full of points for the animals!

At one point, when I was in the rodeo and Colleen Gardner was the only person in the Tiger, a group of rodeo thugs tried to make their way to the truck, and their intentions were not good. The newly educated police descended on the rodeo goons, who were unceremoniously whisked away.

Score a point for the animals!

A great deal of the success of the Olympic rodeo campaign is due to the efforts of Colleen Gardner. Whatever Colleen lacked in animal protection experience, she more than made up for it with her determination, professionalism, resourcefulness, and her boundless energy and enthusiasm. SHARK would not have put a tenth of the time, effort and resources into this campaign had it not been for Colleen Gardner.

With the inclusion of Colleen Gardner, score a big point for the animals.

If the idiots in the rodeo Mafia had any sense at all, they would have foreseen the public relations disaster. But don't expect intelligence from the rodeo Mafia, and you'll rarely be surprised.

The rodeo may be over, but it seems like our work has just begun. The Tiger is still operating at the Olympic Games, and will be in Salt Lake for some weeks to come, where it will continue to rack up points against the rodeo Mafia.

We have multiple police departments from cities across the country that must now be internally investigated for their misconduct as the Tiger shadowed the Olympic Torch. The media that this will generate will shine light on the corruption of the Olympics in its sponsorship of animal abuse.

SHARK intends to rack up countless points against the Olympics and its filthy rodeo for months to come, and the rodeo Mafia has been incredibly helpful in arming us with facts and figures to use against them.

Throughout the entire campaign, I am unaware of so much as a single obscene word or gesture used by any animal protector, while the rodeo people were obscene, violent and cowardly. We took the Tiger into the rodeo strongholds of Idaho, Montana and Wyoming, and stood up for our beliefs, while the rodeo people, with the exception of one hapless Utah State representative, continue to run from debates.

I'm running out of places for all the points for the animals!

The latest Olympic story in the Salt Lake Tribune has an Olympic police officer getting berated by SLOC president Mitt Romney for a traffic backup near an Olympic venue. The officer says Romney used the F-word twice. The officer and his supervisor are demanding an apology.

You see, good little Mormon boys like Romney aren't supposed to use the F-word. Not even once! Of course, Romney denies the charge, saying he said nothing more damning than hell. But then, I remember Mitt Romney saying that he would eliminate calf roping, and saying that no tails would be pulled and twisted, and that there would be special videographers at the rodeo to make certain that everything was kosher, which there weren't.

So did Romney use the F-word? Now let me see if I have this straight. A police officer just decided to fabricate a story about the SLOC boss using the F-word, twice? Most interesting.

Did I mention that we found the police in Salt Lake City to be a good bunch of people? They were honest and trustworthy in all their dealings with us. And now they are ganging up on poor, poor Mitt Romney? I don't think so!

Oh, by the way, the final sentence of the article reads, "Utah Department of Public Safety chief Robert Flowers has decided against a profanity probe." Now call me cynical, but wouldn't you think that if Romney were innocent, he would encourage and even demand a probe, to get to the truth?

I say hook both the cop and Romney up to a lie detector, and I'll put my money on the cop for truthfulness.

Mitt Romney brought cruelty and violence into the Olympic Games, which are already racked with charges over and over again of corruption, score fixing and other scandals. Mitt lied throughout the rodeo controversy. And now, Mitt is becoming a potty-mouth, just like his rodeo buddies.

I don't know why anyone in Salt Lake is surprised.

In conclusion, and as the judge in this contest, I am awarding this campaign to the animals, and not just rodeo victims. All animals benefited from this effort, including in parts of the country where they are most abused. Also, there should be Gold Medals of Compassion to Salt Lake Mayor Rocky Anderson, all the animal protectors who helped to make this campaign so successful, and to the Tiger.

Still in the beginning of the New Year, we opened up a nonviolent can of whip-ass on the phony cowboys and corrupt Olympic officials, and the rodeo season has just begun!

Kindest Regards,

Steve Hindi
SHARK

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