What Happens at the Rodeo Stays at the Rodeo

The Reno Rodeo is doing something about animal abuse this year: It’s instituting a ban on video and DSLR cameras with interchangeable lenses, which animal advocates believe is targeted at keeping them from exposing it to a wider audience.

For the past two years in a row, the animal advocacy organization Showing Animals Respect and Kindness (SHARK) has captured footage showing problems with abuse and disregard for the rules that have caused trouble for the rodeo.

In 2011, cowboys were caught shocking bucking horses in chutes and even though the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) doesn’t oppose it, the Reno Rodeo did not want it done there. Cameras were installed above chutes to ensure it didn’t happen again, but the following year the cameras were tampered with and spokesman for the rodeo verified the shocking again in 2012.

Footage of calf-roping was also obtained that showed two calves being injured in ‘jerk downs,’ where they’re chased at full speed, roped and flipped over backwards – an activity that is illegal by PRCA standards. One calf injured its leg, while another broke its neck but continued to endure having its legs tied, before being roughly shoved into the back of a truck and taken away.

Last year, Rodeo spokesman Steve Schroeder said the person that ended up taking the fall for the shocking would be banned from the rodeo. According to the Reno Gazette Journal, he’ll be allowed back this year, but cameras on the other hand, will not.  According to the Reno Rodeo’s website, they’ll be searching bags, blankets and jackets, and other reports indicate that they’re attributing the searches to the Boston bombings, or using it as an excuse to search people.

Schroeder cited copyright issues and compared the ban to those used in professional sports. He also said that extra efforts will be made this year to (at least) ensure no horses are shocked and stated that the “Reno Rodeo takes very seriously the care and protection of animals in this sport.” So much so, apparently, that they don’t want anyone to see just how seriously they take it.

An attorney with New Media Rights told the Reno Gazette Journal that entrants are subject to whatever policy is on their tickets. In this case the ticket says: “Holder agrees by use of this ticket not to transmit or aid in transmitting any description, account, picture or reproduction of the game, performance, exhibition or event for which this ticket was issued.”

Whatever happens at the rodeo stays at the rodeo.

However, when it comes to copyright issues, the rodeo can’t actually copyright events. SHARK proved this before when the PRCA tried to claim a copyright on SHARK’s images, but it ended up losing the case in federal court.

“The rodeo industry is obviously tired of being continuously exposed for animal abuse, and since the industry has no intention of stopping the abuse, it will instead take a page from totalitarian regimes. They are clearly willing to go to any lengths to subvert the truth, no matter how un-American that behavior,” said SHARK president Steve Hindi.


Photo credit: Thinkstock


David V.
David V4 years ago

Boycott the rodeo.....these events need to be stopped.

Carrie-Anne Brown

thanks for sharing :)

Martina J.
Martina J4 years ago

Heartbreaking footage :-(

Rosie McMillan
Rosie McMillan4 years ago

It's amazing how much abuse carries on under the context of 'tradition' in countries all over the world. Just because something has been done for many years does not make it right and it's about time these practices were stopped once and for all! Sickening.

Sheri D.
Sheri D4 years ago

I hate rodeos!

Valerie A.
Valerie A4 years ago

Awful. Thanks

william n.
will n4 years ago

What a stupid and cruel "sport" rodeos are , abusing small calves and horses , cant see anything manly about that ! When are people going to realise , and put an end to this cruel spectacle . the sooner its banned the better .

Nickihermes Celine
Past Member 4 years ago


Leszek P.
Leszek P4 years ago

Rodeo's is like ancient colosseum. Terrible, bloody and unhuman.

LMj Sunshine
James Merit4 years ago