July 15, 2009

CHEYENNE -- Video cameras have not been banned during Cheyenne Frontier Days rodeo and slack events after all.

Officials from CFD have clarified an earlier policy change that would have prohibited video cameras and phones with recording features from this year's celebration.

General Chairman Charlie West said that initial change drew outrage from fans and contestants who want memories from a family vacation or video footage to use for training purposes.

He added that the goal had been to ban commercial distribution, not private and personal use. And only photos and video used for commercial use, issue advocacy or fundraising now are prohibited without the consent of CFD.

"We overstated our intention," West said.

CFD officials also will continue to ban sound, film or video tape reproductions of night shows to support the copyright requirements for performing artists.

West added that group photos from rodeo events with a CFD logo in the background won't violate the policy even if the images are posted online. But it remains unclear how the updated policy will apply to Internet video clips.

West said officials will issue a cease and desist order if they find anything questionable and then will determine the follow-up action from there.

Steve Hindi, president of SHARK, SHowing Animals Respect and Kindness, said he still thinks the policy is intended to block more Internet video clips of animal abuse at Frontier Park.

He added that the insertion of the words "issue advocacy" seem targeted at his animal rights group.

"I can think of only one issue advocacy organization that has been to CFD, and that's us," Hindi said.

He met with CFD officials at the end of the 2008 celebration, explaining that SHARK would leave Cheyenne if officials ended events that are cruel to animals, such as steer busting and wild horse races.

"We told them exactly what will get us out of Cheyenne," he said.

He added that he was told officials would not stop him from recording the rodeo or posting additional videos on YouTube.

"(I was told) they would look at it and decide from there," he said. "What that means, I don't know.

"People have tried to sue us in the past. It has never worked. We don't break the law."

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