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Fair responds to tragic accident at Xtreme Bronc Riding event 

– A letter decrying the California Mid-State Fair’s Xtreme Bronc Riding competition garnered a response on Tuesday from the fair’s executive director, Vivian Robertson. The bronc riding event was part of the Country Rodeo Finals held on Saturday.

CA-Mid-State-Fair-logoLinda Acuff wrote in protest of the event after witnessing a horse getting injured.

“I am writing to protest the first event at the Paso Rodeo in which wild horses are chased, accosted, man-handled and scared out of their wits by cowboys attacking them,” she wrote. “The event is barbaric, wrong-headed and brutal. In this particular event, a poor, sweet, young pony was chased and violently pressed to escape only to have his rear leg snap and break during is wild escape.”

Robertson responded that the horse was injured upon leaving the chute, something the contestants were not aware of.

“The contestants, unaware of the injury to the animal, proceeded in the competition as though there was no injury,” Robertson wrote. “One of the three Rodeo Safety Men in the arena that are charged with protecting both the animals and the cowboys, informed the contestants of the horse’s injury, stopped the competition relative to the team with the injured horse, and quickly ushered the horse out of the area.”

She continued that a veterinarian immediately responded and attended to the horse, who was later transported off-site.

“Regrettably the horse was found to have injuries to the leg such that the chances of recovery for the animal was low,” Robertson wrote. “After full consultation with the veterinarian, Flying U Rodeo Company made the difficult decision to have the horse humanely euthanized.”

Acuff said that as an audience member she feared for the participants and the young, wild ponies. “This is an abomination of what rodeo promotes, …horsemanship and the cowboy way of life,” she wrote. “Respectively, I urge you to discontinue this event or any other that you may influence.”

Robertson did not address Acuff’s request in her response, though she said there are always risks to participants and the animals in rodeo events.

“Flying U Rodeo Company apologizes for any discomfort experiences by spectators as a result of the injury and would like to thank everyone you contact us about the injured horse,” Robertson wrote.

The 2015 California Mid-State Fair wrapped up its 12-day annual event on Sunday, Aug. 2.


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