Illinois axes subsidy for National High School Rodeo Finals

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, March 2011:
SPRINGFIELD, Illinois–The Illinois Department of
Agriculture on January 27, 2011 notified the National High School
Rodeo Association that it can no longer afford the $1 million annual
cost of underwriting the National High School Rodeo Finals, a 10-day
event held in Springfield in 2000, 2001, 2006, and 2007, due to
have returned to Springfield in 2012 and 2013.
“While Illinois is claiming cancellation of the rodeo is due
to budget cuts, the negative publicity generated by SHARK’s expose of
the rodeo’s animal cruelty year after year undoubtedly played a part
in the decision,” said SHARK founder Steve Hindi. In 2007 the
National High School Rodeo Finals lost the sponsorship of Choice
Hotels, including 11 leading midprice national motel chains, two
years before the sponsorship contract was to expire.

“The early termination, for rules violations and animal
abuse, followed a review of video documentation supplied by SHARK,”
Hindi said, crediting SHARK staff member Janet Enoch for successful
liaison with Choice officials.
The 2007 National High School Rodeo Finals drew 1,500
contestants and 10,000 spectators, said Associated Press. The
Springfield Journal-Register, a sponsor of the event, claimed
attendance of 50,000, apparently counting visitor days rather than
individual visitors.
The National High School Rodeo Finals have for more than a
decade rotated among Springfield; Farmington, New Mexico; and
Gillette, Wyoming, where the 2011 Finals are to be held. Gillette
cannot host the 2012 Finals because the arena is already booked for
an RV event, said the Gillette News Record. The News Record noted
that Farmington “has had trouble making money on the rodeo, though
there has been no such problem in Gillette.”

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