Whoa on rodeo

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

To the editor,

Holy Horse!

Holy Bull!

Rodeo is not a sport!

Rodeo is not a Christian sport!

Like me, many Beaverhead County residents are probably “limited” fans of the four-yearrunning, modern-day ranching TV series “Yellowstone.” Though set in Montana (and partially filmed at the Chief Joseph Ranch near Darby) and filmed mostly in Utah (because of tax credits), the Kevin Costner-Taylor Sheridan production is of “limited” viewing value for two reasons.

First, Yellowstone promotes and glorifies violence and vigilantism with little reverence for law and order and justice. Second, “Yellowstone” promotes and glorifies the violence of humans inflicting trauma and terror on animals, both in professional rodeos and at amateur ranch rodeos. (The ever-gifted writer Sheridan loves to show off his horse reining skills by mindlessly spinning horses in circles.)

Because of the fame and fortune of Costner and Sheridan (Sheridan last year led an investment group to buy for $320 million the fourth largest Texas Ranch, the 6666), the Wall Street Journal reported last week that Western-star-struck billionaires are developing a complementary trauma and terror rodeo with an expansion of professional bull riding.

Shame on the billionaire Costner-Sheridan mindless, immoral groupies for the latest expansion of trauma and terror rodeo!

Recently a state legislator stated: “Rodeos are modern-day gladiator games—bloodsport masquerading as entertainment…. Rodeo events are not family-friendly entertainment.”

Rodeo events are not Christian-friendly entertainment!

Rodeo champions a culture filled with unnecessary, gratuitous harm.

On Earth and in Heaven, there are no places for inflicting pain and suffering on animals.

Because we celebrated the birth of Christ last month, for Beaverhead County religious leaders of all faiths, an ethical-moral teaching opportunity exists by inviting your congregations to discuss actively the compatibility of traditional rodeo events with Christ’s teachings and actions.

Finally, because many, if not most, rodeo participants and rodeo fans are Christians, I make this appeal. What would Jesus do? Does inflicting pain and suffering on animals as “sport” reflect the teachings and actions of Christ?

“How did you treat all animals?” may be the first question posed to enter Heaven!

Let’s give new meaning to the toughness of Cowboy Up! and Cowgirl Up! by reducing and ultimately eliminating unnecessary, gratuitous harm of traditional rodeo events.

What would Jesus do? What will you do?

Randy Piper