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Alone Against the Rodeo

See the award-winning 2001 30-minute investigative documentary, Alone Against the Rodeo, which tells the story of SHARK's efforts to expose the Rodeo Mafia, and profiles SHARK president Steve Hindi. The film won the Brigitte Bardot International Award for its hard-hitting story of cruelty and corruption in the world of American rodeos. 

 

Read more to learn the story behind the film:

Uwe-Lothar Muller produces documentaries for the highly respected ARTE television network, which airs throughout Europe and part of North Africa. In October 2000, Mr. Muller and a documentary team accompanied SHARK president Steve Hindi on a 10-day tour through Arkansas and Texas to film rodeos. ARTE obtained permission to film from the rodeo companies, while Steve secretly attended and filmed undercover.

The ARTE crew and Steve attended five days of rodeos and documented three different PRCA stock contractors, each which were caught on tape committing cruel acts, violating the PRCA's humane rules and lying about it.

At first the abuses were only caught by Steve's undercover cameras, who knew what to look for, but the ARTE documentarians quickly learned what to look for, and what vantage points they needed to document abuses. Soon ARTE cameras caught the abuses as animals were submitted to electric shock while confined in chutes, tails were twisted, pulled and raked over fences. In the case of at least one rodeo, the veterinarian required by PRCA rules was nowhere to be found.

The PRCA stock contractors investigated where the Harper, Morgan and Auger Rodeo Company, the Charlie Battles Rodeo Company, and Bad Company Rodeo. Bad Company Rodeo was the final investigation target. The occasion was the Texas finals for the most inhumane event in rodeo -- steer roping -- or as fans call it -- steer busting.

At the conclusion of the steer busting event, Steve Hindi confronted the rodeo people about an injured steer sledded off the arena floor, and the apparent lack of veterinary care. The confrontation took an unexpected twist when the rodeo people suspected a possible connection between Steve and the ARTE team.

Rodeo thugs -- worried that Steve Hindi might get his hands on the ARTE footage -- unlawfully detained the journalists for a time, threatening them and demanding the surrender of their videotapes.

The ARTE cameraman was forced to turn over the videotape in his camera, but the rodeo thugs didn't realize until it was too late that the tape was blank. The cameraman had been slipped a new tape into his camera at the first sign of trouble, just so that it could be turned over.

The ARTE 30-minute documentary, Alone Against the Rodeo, told the story of SHARK's efforts to expose the Rodeo Mafia, and profiled SHARK president Steve Hindi. Most importantly, ARTE's own camera documented the abuses SHARK said would occur, and the ARTE team documented the lies and denials of rodeo producers and rodeo "stars."

The magnificent work of Uwe-Lothar Muller and his dedicated ARTE team resulted in a stunningly brutal but accurate portrayal of the Rodeo Mafia. In a final remark at the end of the documentary, producer Muller told the story of one rodeo contestant who was headed to Mexico after the rodeo, where he planned to kill a bull in a bullring.

Alone Against the Rodeo went on to win the coveted Brigitte Bardot International Award from the Ark Trust, an organization that recognizes the best work on animal issues by media worldwide.