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Rodeo Bucks Video at Frontier Days
By Mike McPhee on DenverPost.com
Activists allege Frontier Days' ban is intended to prevent images of hurt animals
Officials at the Cheyenne Frontier Days rodeo have banned the use of all video cameras — including video-enabled cell phones — during the rodeo this summer, claiming that the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association owns all video rights.
But a national animal-rights group says the ban is intended to keep videos of injured or paralyzed animals from showing up on the Internet.
Cheyenne Frontier Days executive director Dave Johansen did not return calls for comment, and no other rodeo official would speak. The rodeo's website says the ban is due to entertainer contracts and regulations adopted by the Colorado Springs-based PRCA, which owns broadcast rights to the rodeo.
Steve Hindi, spokesman for Showing Animals Respect and Kindness (SHARK), said Cheyenne Frontier Days still hosts two of the most controversial rodeo events — steer busting or roping and wild-horse racing.
During steer-busting events, Hindi said, animals running at full speed are tripped with ropes, which can result in broken legs, internal injuries and sometimes death. In wild-horse racing, cowboys try to saddle and ride horses that are not saddle-broken, which Hindi said terrorizes the animals.
"Instead of banning the abuse, (Cheyenne Frontier Days) has chosen to ban the documentation of the abuse," Hindi said.
PRCA spokesman Jim Bainbridge said he wasn't aware that Frontier Days had instituted the video ban, adding that the PRCA generally lets each rodeo decide about video cameras. "The PRCA owns the rights to all recorded coverage of its rodeos, whether it airs on a national, regional or local network," he said, reading from the organization's 2009 rulebook.
"But I'm not seeing anything that refers to people walking around with cellphones that have photo capability or even little minicams," he said.
Steer roping is a PRCA-sanctioned event. Wild-horse racing is not.
Cindy Schonholtz, who does industry outreach for the PRCA, said only about 10 percent of rodeos have steer roping. "Our injury rate is very low, and we have vets on site for any injuries," she said.
The National Western Stock Show & Rodeo in Denver dropped wild-horse racing seven or eight years ago because of injuries to animals, said stock show president Pat Grant.
Visit our image gallery to see how horses are abused in rodeos.
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