Online Videosite Shows Animal Prodding at the Rowell Rodeo

By Robert Souza
6/19/08
San Leandro Times

Footage taken by Illinois animal rights organization, Showing Animals Respect and Kindness (SHARK) showing a cowboy using an electric prod to prompt horses out of the chute during last month’s Rowell Ranch Rodeo has made it’s way to the Internet via video sharing website, YouTube.

The video has also got the attention of HARD, who owns the Rowell Ranch Rodeo grounds.

“At this point, we don’t know who administered the prods or ‘hot shots’ and we’ve conducted an investigation,” explained HARD Business Manager, John Gouveia. “What they did may have been legal with the PRCA, (Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association) but it is prohibited by HARD rules.”

For the past eight years, HARD has banned the use of prodding or electric devices at the Rowell grounds and is considering establishing a penalty, such as a one year ban on the rodeo’s animal supplier-Flying U Rodeo Company of Marysville.

The video shows an unidentified employee of Flying U Rodeo using a hand held electric prod on numerous occasions to prompt horses to buck from the chute.

“We find that most rodeos are in violation of PRCA rules in some way or another,” said Janet Enoch, Investigator for SHARK. “The Rowell people claimed their rodeo was clean-so we went to see what they had and we found that they are not running a clean rodeo.”

Posted just ten days after the May 18 Rowell competition, the video has been viewed nearly 800 times and has garnered a number of comments advocating both rodeo and animal rights.

“These SHARK people have been to a lot of rodeos and it seems their objective is to put them all out of business,” explained Cotton Rosser, who heads the Flying U Corporation that supplies and transports hundreds of steers, horses, bulls and calves to nearly four dozen California and Nevada PRCA events and rodeos.

Rosser told the Forum use of the small shock devices is in accordance with PRCA regulations, and primarily come onto play in the instance when an animal stalls in the chute.

“I spoke to HARD and told them I’d agree to whatever they feel is fair,” said Rosser, who has since explained to his cowboys that HARD’s rules are to be strictly adhered to. “I’ve been in this business 52 years and I don’t need this type of flak.”