Three rodeos hit by ad campaigns all made more money
CHEYENNE, RENO, SALINAS––Exposing the sadism of rodeo appears to just attract more sadists to watch it, 2015 attendance claims indicate.
Cheyenne Frontier Days, the Reno Rodeo, and California Rodeo Salinas all reported surging paid admissions in summer 2015: an increase of almost 11,000, to a record 98,246 in Cheyenne, eight out of 10 rodeo performances sold out in Reno, and a 6.5% increase in Salinas, to 51,296.
1,000+ “hard-hitting graphic” TV spots
Cheyenne Frontier Days, the oldest and largest U.S. rodeo, the Reno Rodeo, and California Rodeo Salinas were all “targeted by hard-hitting, graphic commercials, paid for by Showing Animals Respect and Kindness and Last Chance for Animals,” SHARK publicist Cres Vellucci told ANIMALS 24-7.
“More than 1,000 paid spots ran in the San Francisco Bay area, Cheyenne, Denver, and Reno over the past few weeks,” Vellucci elaborated, “all aimed at telling potential rodeo-goers to not attend the rodeo.”
Last Chance for Animals, of Los Angeles, “paid $10,000 for spots on CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, MTV and other networks in the San Francisco Bay area,” Vellucci said. “SHARK supplied the undercover video showing animal cruelty at previous rodeos in Salinas,” used in the commercials.
SHARK meanwhile “purchased $7,000 in spots criticizing the Cheyenne Rodeo, and paid $2,000 for spots slamming the Reno Rodeo in late June,” Vellucci said.
Fans paid to see animals die
Fumed SHARK founder Steve Hindi in advance of Cheyenne Frontier Days, a frequent target of SHARK video exposes since 2004, “Animals will die at the Cheyenne Frontier Days rodeo for ‘entertainment.’ We know it, the sponsors know it, and Cheyenne Frontier Days knows it. Animals are literally dying at the hands of cowardly rodeo thugs to help greedy corporations sell more sugar water and to entertain drunk and/or dumb-witted fans. All while the rodeo, the local media, the PRCA, and the sponsors wrap themselves in God and country, then turn around and beat the living hell out of animals.
“Over the years SHARK has forced a number of changes in the rodeo,” Hindi continued, “such as banning electrical prods in the chutes (although they were used last year) and the education of potential artistic performers,” notably the singer Carrie Underwood and the band Matchbox 20, who cancelled scheduled appearances shows at Cheyenne Frontier Days in 2006 and 2008, respectively.
“Inhumane, cruel & stupid”
“However, many inhumane practices still take place: cruel and deadly calf jerk-downs, and the Wild Horse Race, which is as cruel as it is stupid. And of course the most brutal event in all of rodeo is a big part of the Cheyenne rodeo: Single Steer Roping, known to rodeo people more accurately as Steer Busting,” Hindi reminded.
“Forget the myth of rodeos as all-American sport,” Hindi urged. “Anyone with a heart knows it’s wrong to clothesline a baby animal, body-slam it to the ground, tie its legs so it can’t move, and drag it by the neck. If this were done to a puppy or kitten, t he offender would be charged with a crime, and likely be jailed. In rodeos, however, it’s called calf roping, and supporters claim it’s a sport.”
Hindi expected that high-profile exposure of violence against animals at past runnings of the Cheyenne Frontier Days, Reno Rodeo, and California Rodeo Salinas would disgust most viewers of the SHARK video clips.
But, as with video exposure of other sadistic spectacles SHARK has hit since 1992, including pigeon shoots and bullfighting, the initial result appears to have been to attract more voyeurs to watch the mayhem.
“One year won’t tell the tale”
“We know the rodeos targeted for TV campaigns have fought back, claiming attendance is up,” Vellucci acknowledged. “But except for what we can observe, we don’t know that to be true.
“In any case, one year won’t tell the tale. As with all advertising, frequency matters. Rodeo ads, one year, may not make a noticeable difference. But these ads ran not just on adult networks, but also on MTV, and some other networks that reach young people.
“We’ve also tried to target national networks frequented by people who might care about animals. But that’s tougher to do,” Vellucci said, “because most of the ‘animal-friendly’ networks now have programming that is aimed at animal abusers, even and especially Animal Planet. Very frustrating. So we’ve gone with news nets, as mentioned, to reach ‘thinking’ people. At least they’re watching political coverage and what passes as news. Also, youth shows.
“We all know that advertising works”
“We know that at least in Reno, the ads were rejected by the main news broadcast station. Turned out the station was a big sponsor of the rodeo,” Vellucci said. “If the ads wouldn’t make a difference, why would the station reject them?
“Comcast considered rejecting them re: Salinas,” Vellucci added, “but I successfully argued they needed to run.
“We all know that advertising works, or political campaigns wouldn’t use that medium primarily to persuade voters to vote for candidates or issues,” Vellucci finished.
Crowds saw the mayhem they wanted
The bigger rodeo crowds in 2015 saw the violence that apparently attracted them.
“SHARK has documented injuries to more than 40 animals at the Salinas rodeo over the past two years, including some that led to deaths, but the rodeo has only reported four of those in an attempt to hide the danger and cruelty to animals at the rodeo, and is being sued for under-reporting,” Hindi said.
At Cheyenne Frontier Days, “One horse, three calves and five steers were the most obvious victims, although there were numerous animal wrecks, falls and trampling that could result in additional injuries” coming to light as result of detailed analysis to the SHARK videos, Hindi added.
Hindi also noted Cheyenne Frontier Days “use of cruel and life threatening jerk-downs––a violent roping technique supposedly banned at rodeos sanctioned by the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association. Nevertheless, numerous jerk-downs were observed and video-documented at the Cheyenne Frontier Days rodeo,” Hindi alleged, “resulting in injured calves.”