SHowing Animals Respect and KindnessSHARK
Rodeo Reporters -- Judas Journalists
Imagine for a moment that you are at a game in the World Series, and you witness an official of Major League Baseball, say the Vice Chairman of the Board, secretly injecting some players with a fast-acting, very illegal stimulant. Imagine that as you watched this unimaginable thing transpire, it became obvious that the umpires were in on the tampering.
Of course, it is impossible to conceive of such a wildly implausible scenario. What would be even harder to imagine is that if it were documented, that the media, including sports writers and even sports media like ESPN and Sports Illustrated, would be unwilling to cover it.
While this scenario did not happen in the world of legitimate sports, it did in fact happen in December 2007, in Las Vegas, Nevada, at the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association’s National Finals Rodeo (NFR).
SHARK video recorders caught the number two person in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association -- the Vice Chairman of the Board, Charles Soileau -- shocking some, but not all horses with a very small shock device hidden in the palm of his hand. The device was held in place with a flesh-colored band around his middle finger. Fully aware of the nature of what he was doing, Mr. Soileau kept his hand palm down, so his device was virtually invisible.
It doesn’t take an animal behaviorist to figure out that a horse with a few thousand volts of pain coursing through her (many bucking horses are mares) is going to buck very differently from a horse that is not shocked. But beyond that we should ask why ANY animals are EVER shocked at rodeos, and especially at the National Finals Rodeo.
According to rodeo propaganda, rodeo horses are supposedly “Born to Buck”. Additionally, the NFR boasts that it brings in only the very best horses from the rodeo industry. So how can it possibly be that these ‘world champion’ equines have to be jump started with a few thousand volts?
Some television media in Las Vegas and Reno ran the story when it first broke. But SHARK personnel is not aware of a single rodeo writer or rodeo columnist nationwide who had the guts or ethics to write about what should rank as an enormous scandal in the rodeo world, even though many of these individuals and their publications received press releases directly from SHARK, detailing what happened.
Let’s focus on three rodeo reporters: Jeff Wolf ( firstname.lastname@example.org) of the Las Vegas Review Journal, Brett Hoffman (email@example.com) of the Fort Worth Star Telegram, and Ed Knocke (firstname.lastname@example.org) of the Dallas Morning News.
Mr. Wolf works in Las Vegas, which hosts the NFR, and as he has in years past, Mr. Wolf reported extensively on the NFR. Mr. Wolf had an opportunity to report on what happened firsthand, but he failed to do so. Let’s give him the benefit of doubt that, although a SHARK investigator observed the score tampering from the very first performance attended, Mr. Wolf simply didn’t see what was going on during any of the ten performances. In that case Mr. Wolf had every opportunity to contact SHARK once the story ran on multiple television stations in Las Vegas and Reno. He did not.
It should be mentioned that Jeff Wolf has won awards from the PRCA for his articles because they are so friendly to rodeos. He has gone to the homes of rodeo producers and sat at their table. It’s hard to say where the “perks” of being the “right kind” of rodeo reporter ends. The question is, does a rodeo reporter have a duty to report what is going on in the industry, or should the title of rodeo reporter be changed to rodeo cheerleader, with blinders issued as standard equipment?
Mr. Knocke and Mr. Hoffman are full time rodeo “reporters”. Additionally, Mr. Hoffman is a former rodeo competitor, and is a member of the Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame. Each of these “reporters” has been involved in the rodeo industry for decades. Mr. Knocke and Mr. Hoffman each received press releases from SHARK detailing the animal/score tampering at the NFR.
As in the case of Jeff Wolf, Ed Knocke and Brett Hoffman completely failed to cover what could be considered the biggest story ever in the history of rodeo. Let’s put it another way:
The Vice Chairman of the Board of the world’s largest rodeo association was secretly video recorded violating the association’s own rules and covertly committing animal abuse and score tampering at the World Series of Rodeo, involving the “superstars” of human contestants and supposedly involving only the very best “Born to Buck” horses the world of rodeo has to offer, with over five million two hundred eighty thousand dollars ($5,280,000) in prize money on the line.
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