From ANIMAL PEOPLE, July/August 1997:

WAUCONDA, Illinois––
Demonstrating more faith in the
court of public opinion than in the
justice system of Lake County,
Illinois, the Chicago Animal Rights
Coalition is challenging the
Wauconda Rodeo and all rodeos this
summer with a 40-minute video,
Bucking The Rodeo, by Robyn
Douglas of Earth Network News.
Wwhatever an authoritarian-leaning
viewer might say about
the allegations the video raises of
police brutality against anti-rodeo
protesters, the arrogance of police
who incorrectly claim it’s illegal to
videotape them, and the perjury of
police whose courtroom testimony
the cameras belie, the violence
toward animals is self-evident.

Over the past four years
CHARC hidden cameras, longrange
video, and night viewing
equipment have captured at
Wauconda not only open mayhem
according to Professional Rodeo
Cowboy Association rules, but also
countless incidents of behind-thescenes
kicking, punching, tailyanking,
and tight cinching, along
with a dramatic against-the-rules
jerkdown that breaks a calf’s neck,
after which another calf is paraded
out to reassure the crowd. The cameras
produce close-ups, as well, of
festering wounds on horses and
steers who are used and abused over
and over, show after show, with little
if any evident veterinary care.
Newly hired CHARC
executive director Dug Hanbicki will
send Bucking The Rodeo for $20
(POB 66, Yorkville, IL 60560).
Excerpts will likely be used for years
to show what’s wrong with rodeo.
CHARC president Steve
Hindi, meanwhile, obtained the IRS
Form 990 filings of the Wauconda
Chamber of Commerce, the rodeo
host, along with the filings of other
charities that purportedly benefit,
––and discovered that while the
rodeo is by far the most lucrative
Chamber project, just 3% of the revenue
actually goes to charitable
work. Attendance, meanwhile, has
fallen 30% since the CHARC
protests began. Hindi offered
$1,000 to one beneficiary, the
Wauconda Food Pantry, on condition
that two CHARC videographers,
now barred, could attend this
year’s rodeo. When that was
refused, Hindi offered $10,000 a
year to the charitable beneficiaries in
each of the next five years, i f t h e
rodeo isn’t held and the Chamber of
Commerce works with him to develop
new fundraisers. That too was
Anti-rodeo protesters Terri
Campbell, Chris Grushas, and
Susan Piszczek, allegedly knocked
down without provocation by
Sheriff’s Deputy John Van Dien at
the 1996 Wauconda Rodeo, still
haven’t been able to bring charges
against Van Dien, because State’s
Attorney Waller won’t file them,
but Grushas did get a day in court,
charged last summer with resisting
arrest but acquitted in May. Hindi
and CHARC director Greg Campbell
expect to bring them all into court as
witnesses, however, having been
sued by Van Dien on May 14 for
allegedly defaming him with a
leaflet captioned, When Will Lake
County Investigate Brutal Sheriff’s
The video evidence has
been seen by retired Criminal Court
of Cook County Circuit Judge
Christy S. Berkos, an 18-year veteran
of the bench.
“I viewed a film of an incident
which occurred near, but not
on, property where the Wauconda
Rodeo was being performed,”
Berkos stated. “Police officers,
obviously poorly trained, arrested a
young man carrying a camera and a
two-way radio. The officers physically
restrained the man while
attemping to take his radio. No
crime had been committed by this
man. One officer grabbed the man
and then the officer performed an
obviously fake fall to the ground,
apparently attempting to make it
appear that he was being attacked.
Thereafter, others in the area (two
young females), who attempted to
retrieve the man’s radio, were
grabbed, dragged, thrown to the
ground, handcuffed, physically
abused and arrested without cause or
reason. This is a true example of
law enforcement officers totally out
of control,” Berkos emphasized.
“The only crime I viewed on the
film was police brutality. Each of
these officers should be reprimanded,
and an investigation should be
conducted regarding their behavior.”

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