Cloverdale Rodeo is a breeding ground for violent criminals

  • 5

Cloverdale Rodeo is a breeding ground for violent criminals

The Cloverdale Rodeo is taking place this long weekend.

Every year around this time, I see ads describing the Cloverdale Rodeo as a great family event.  Let’s just take a look at some of these so called family events happening this weekend: Bareback Riding, Saddle Bronc Riding and Bull Riding.  All these events involve a cowboy getting on top of a horse or a bull while the animal is bucking. The cowboy tries to stay on and the animal kicks him off.  This may sound harmless but what goes on behind the scenes is anything but.

In order for the tame domesticated animals to buck wildly, they have to be provoked.  Despite what the rodeos want you to think, these animals are not wild.  They are bred, born and raised on farms.

What makes the animals buck is a torture device known as the bucking strap or flank strap.  It is a belt that is tightly strapped around the flank area (an extremely sensitive part) of the animals. Once that strap is on, the animals buck wildly, not because they are so happy to be performing, but because they are in excruciating pain and are kicking to remove the torture device.  You can often see the raw tissue and scars all along the sides of the animals where the flank strap is tied.

There are lots of distractions at the rodeos designed to keep spectators from seeing the abuse.  For example, immediately prior to an event where a tame animal is to bolt out of a chute, the rodeo announcer will tell jokes or a rodeo clown will throw candy into the audience.  The strategically timed distraction helps to keep the audience from witnessing what is happening inside the chute.  While the audience is preoccupied, a group of cowboys will gather around the animal trapped inside the chute to “prepare” him/her.  This involves the gang of cowboys kicking the frightened animal with spurs or punching and tasering him/her in the face.  The cowboys will take the animal’s tail and wring it like a wet towel and then rub it on the metal bars of the chute to cause further pain.

Everything mentioned above are things I’ve personally witnessed at the Cloverdale Rodeo.  I’ve seen them do it to baby calves, bulls and horses.

Animals in the rodeo “perform” because they are reacting to extreme abuse and excruciating pain.  And the “entertainment” part is simply people witnessing an animal’s physical response to pain. The rodeo is no different than cock fighting or dog fighting.  It’s a modern day gladiator sport responsible for perpetuating and rewarding abusive behavior by violent people.

Yes, cowboys are violent and here are some examples of their nasty behaviors:

In 2005, a 55 year old woman named Janet Allen decided to film the abuse at a rodeo event in Australia.  In her own words this is what happened to her:

“I remember a cowboy, whom my friends later identified as Will Watson from the videos they took, throwing me around like a rag doll whilst continually uttering a stream of verbal abuse (he repeatedly called me a ‘fucking whore bag slut’). Finally he dragged me over to a filthy concrete water trough… he threw me to my knees and plunged my head into the filthy water. Both my thighs smashed against the concrete trough causing black bruises and lumps the size of a man’s hand which are still visible more than four months later. The cowboy then kneed me in the left buttock, causing bruises, which lasted for two months…”  Read More

What’s worse is that Janet’s assault happened in front of a stadium full of spectators, cowboys and rodeo security and everyone just cheered instead of helping this poor woman. The security guards even joined in on the assault.

In 2004, professional bull rider, Billy Ray Byrd, walked into his wife’s workplace and shot her in the head with a .22-caliber rifle, leaving bullet fragments in her brain.

In 2006, professional rodeo cowboy, Thomas Coffen, appeared on Dateline NBC’s news program To Catch a Predator after making a date online for sex with a girl pretending to be fourteen.

In 2008, professional Bull rider, Zeb Lanham, assaulted his pregnant girlfriend causing a broken cheekbone and swelling so severe that it was putting pressure on her brain.

It takes a special kind of violent person to abuse animals for a living and that behavior doesn’t just stop at the animals. The fury continues on to punish defenseless human victims, usually women and children.

I suppose Cloverdale Rodeo could be a wholesome family event if you want to model your family after the Manson family, but for the rest of the sane world, the rodeo should be boycotted.



May 24, 2010 at 8:12 am

Regarding the information on Billy Ray Byrd, Thomas Coffen and Zeb Lanham…you’ve identified them as professional bull riders/cowboys.
You don’t mention that men of all professions (including activists and blog writers) are capable of violent acts (including murder), misogyny and pedophilia.
As well, you also neglect to mention women are capable of murder and pedophilia.


May 24, 2010 at 9:27 am

It’s true that anyone is capable of violence – but many people are far less likely to actually commit these acts than people who engage in violence everyday, as part of their “profession.” The amount of people in the rodeo who commit violent crimes outside of the rodeo, as a percentage of population, seems much higher than the violent crimes committed by bloggers or activists.

A culture of violence breeds violence.


May 24, 2010 at 10:08 am

It’s a very well established fact that when people abuse animals they go on to abuse human victims. It’s beyond just engaging in violent acts but abusive acts. Meaning the receiver of the violence is a victim rather than an opponent. There’s a larger percentage people who work in slaughterhouses that commit violent crimes outside of their work. And again, the humans on the receiving end of the abuse are usually someone who is weaker, usually women and children. When you violently abuse a victim for a living, that lifestyle carries on. I’ve received physical abuse from cowboys myself at Cloverdale rodeo. The testosterone and power driven anger is quite real.


May 25, 2010 at 1:43 pm

Rodeo people are scary. I actually saw the Dateline NBC thing with that pedophile, Thomas Coffen. He was an unbelievable creep, even moreso than described on the SHARK website!


May 25, 2010 at 2:58 pm

Great post, Joanne.
People in violent professions are absolutely more prone to violence in other aspects of their lives.
Just as the cycle of abuse perpetuates within families.

Leave a Reply