We are writing to urge that you take no action with respect to renaming the Rodeo Days Holiday. The apparent reason for the consideration of this subject is the unsubstantiated attack on the sport of rodeo by two animal rights advocates at your August 14 meeting.
On the other hand, we could provide volume after volume to document the humane treatment of rodeo livestock. The Tucson Rodeo is sanctioned by the largest professional rodeo sanctioning body in the world, the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) of Colorado Springs, Colorado. They sanction nearly 650 professional rodeos across North America.
The PRCA Rule Book governs the conduct of all aspects of sanctioned rodeos and includes more than 70 rules relating specifically to the humane conduct of rodeo animals. Professional judges employed by the PRCA are on hand to ensure that all rules are followed, especially the rules pertaining to the humane treatment of livestock. One of those rules requires a veterinarian to be on-site at any time rodeo competition occurs.
Calves used at PRCA rodeos must weigh between 220 and 280 pounds and rodeo judges may order that they be weighed if there is any question as to any calf meeting the weight limits. Additionally, the PRCA Rule Book specifically outlaws dragging of calves. Violation results in fines and possible disqualification.
The use of a cattle prod in the bucking horse and bull riding events is allowed only if it is necessary for the protection of the animal, the rider or bystanders. The average bucking horse or bull works less than five minutes per year in the arena. Bucking horses and bulls are very valuable and as such, receive exceptional treatment. For example, a top bucking bull was recently sold for $265,000.
The phrase "...stomped, beaten and whipped throughout the days-long event" sounds horrific and it would be if it happened; but it simply does not. Rodeo, as practiced by the rodeo committees sanctioned the the PRCA, does not contain a "cycle of violence" and it is most certainly not inherently cruel. Those claims are patently false, as is the statement that rodeo "...glorifies horrifically abusive practices toward animals." These are all perceptions held by animal rights advocates. We urge you to deal in reality, not perception.
The Tucson Rodeo Committee is a nonprofit corporation comprised of hard-working volunteer members of our community. We come from all walks of live and care deeply about our community. Many of us were born in Tucson. We believe in giving back to our community. In 2018 the committee supported charitable organizations in the amount of $138,000. We fund an endowment fund at the University of Arizona. The annual economic impact of the Tucson Rodeo on our community is over $13 million.
In 2000, the Tucson Rodeo Committee was inducted into the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Hall of Fame. In 2006 we were inducted into the Pima County Sports Hall of Fame.
In closing, we ask you not to ignore 93 years of history in this community. The Tucson Rodeo and the Rodeo Day Holiday have gone hand in hand since 1925 and we hope they will for another 93 years.
Sanctioned by the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association. Stock furnished by Beutler & Son Rodeo Co. Photos courtesy of Louise Serpa, Dan Hubbell, Mia Larocque and Jennifer Vimmerstedt. The terms Tucson Rodeo™ and La Fiesta de los Vaqueros™ are protected by federal trademark law.