For 69 years, McAlester has hosted the annual Oklahoma State Penitentiary Prison Rodeo, held in an arena behind prison walls at Oklahoma State Penitentiary. Now, the decision to cancel this year’s rodeo has left many of those involved saying they are disappointed and frustrated. Despite what the rodeo apologists say, we believe SHARK's video of unspeakable cruelty at the Oklahoma Prison rodeo is what sparked the cancellation.
The Oklahoma State Penitentiary's (OSP) Annual Outlaw Rodeo in McAlester, OK proudly touts itself as the only "Behind the Walls" prison rodeo. That's not exactly a bragging point.
This gladiator-style cruelty contest has been reinforcing felons' aggression since 1940 under the guise of "tradition". Inmates are brought in from 10 prisons around the state to compete against each other and the animals.
Oklahoma Governor Brad Henry, Director Justin Jones, and Warden Marty Sirmons should be ashamed to be spending taxpayer dollars teaching violent offenders new ways to abuse, with innocent animals being the victims--at least for now. It is a well-known fact that abuse again animals is a precursor to violent acts against humans.
Animals used in rodeos, such as horses, bulls, steers, and calves, are body-slammed, violently roped, dragged by the neck while their legs are tied, electrically shocked, and cruelly tormented. Animals are routinely injured, and some are killed. Rodeos are condemned by every major animal protection organizationin the United States and beyond due to the inherently abusive nature of the industry.
Rodeo associations claim very few animals are injured and killed in rodeos. Of course, these same rodeo associations do not disclose their animal injuries and deaths, and SHARK's footage tells the real story.
If injury and death records were made public, the rodeo world would certainly lose both its fans and corporate sponsors. Furthermore, violations of supposed "humane rules" are very rarely, if ever, discplined and violators' records are never released. This explains why SHARK investigators document some of the same violators committing the same cruelties year after year.
By sponsoring a rodeo for inmates this maximum security penitentiary sends the message that the prison and the state of Oklahoma condones violence against animals, flying in the face of a prison’s mission to reform and rehabilitate criminals. Violence is violence, whether it's committed against human or non-human animals.
Clotheslining 3-4 month old calves and slamming them to the ground before tying them up is "entertainment" for Oklahoma's prison inmates that the state sponsors. Calf-roping photo from the OSP Prison Rodeo.
Prison is supposed to rehabilitate criminals. Instead the OSP Prison Rodeo is teaching inmates how to be more violent. The message these prisoners receive is that being as cruel and violent as possible is the way to get ahead. Instead of a rodeo, the prisons should have programs that allow inmates to care for animals, while learning a usable skill at the same time.
During a time of budget cuts and manpower-shortage in Oklahoma’s prison system, the Corrections Department spent more than $15,000 in overtime alone for security related to the prison rodeo in 2004.