Friday, January 25, 2008


I've always had a problem with rodeos, ever since 1977 when I was hired as the soundman on a film shoot for a political candidate in Wyoming. A New York director was flown in, and among other locations, we drove out to a desolate area in what looked like strip-mining pits to me. After about a half-hour drive we came upon a temporary set-up of livestock fences, trucks and people setting up a “rodeo”. My only job was to get “wild” sound of the event. After about 15 minutes of recording, I settled in to watch the activity. Seeing other spectators on the wide livestock gate, I climbed up to get a good view. The horse chute was directly across the arena area from where I was sitting. About 50 people were in attendance. Horses would come bolting out of the chute, bucking and jumping to throw the riders. Then a smallish horse came streaking out, ears laid back, making no attempt to buck or throw the rider. He ran at top speed directly toward the gate where I was sitting. After a few seconds, it became clear that he was not going to stop, and we all jumped off of the gate. With a loud crack, he rammed the gate with his head. The gate flew open, the rider jumped off and the horse headed for the hills. The sound of the horse's head hitting the iron gate was so loud I was amazed that he wasn’t knocked out cold. As we watched the escaping horse scramble up the near-by hill, three cowboys took off after him. Ten minutes later, they returned with the horse in tow. In the mean time, other horses and riders took their turns. Then the most amazing thing happened. If I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes, I would have trouble believing it. After about 3 or 4 incredibly high jumps, this horse did a back-flip. Not quite a complete back-flip, as he came crashing straight down on his head, sending the rider to the ground. The horse appeared to have broken his neck. He made no move to get up. Three men ran to the horse, and after a few seconds, one shot him in the head where he lay. With great dispatch, the body was dragged from the arena by another horse and rider. I had had enough, and went to our car with the cameraman. Our conclusion was that these animals had been injected with something like speed, but maybe it was electric shock. We had no way of knowing, and had no footage of the horses. So it was with interest that I discovered the work of I was just this minute told that the story was on the local Denver news last night. Check out the video work on YouTube by searching on Sharkonline or go to and see what you think. Not a pretty picture. The video I’m putting up was not shot in Denver, but it best exemplifies the “shocking” details. This is not a sport.


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