Rodeo Both Great and Small
by Catherine Kent, Linda Christas College Class of '12
As a student at Linda Christas College, we are taught about the dignity of man, about hard work, about courage and about scholarship.
The students and teachers of Linda Christas, both the Academy and the College, enjoy discussing the creative aspects of living, and the development of the human spirit.
Originally, I had decided to write an article about one of my favorite subjects: Rodeo.
As a gal born and raised in cattle country, I have always been a horsewoman, and have enjoyed the challenge of allowing my horses the pleasure of galloping full speed in open country. After being corralled for long periods, my three-year-old palomino, Tornado, loves the freedom of translating desire into velocity.
When I think of Rodeo, I am reminded of the courage, skill and intelligence that comprises the essence of the events properly arranged. They hearken back to a time when the cowboy (and cowgirl) ruled the roost in in the West.
However, that said, there is one Rodeo event, banned in many places, which still commands the attention of darker spirits.
I am referring to calf or steer busting.
Without being overly condemnatory, and keeping in mind that I am a true fan of Rodeo and keeping the cowboy tradition alive, I weep each time I am invited to a calf busting event.
For example, the neck of the animal pictured below was broken. The cowboy had no trouble looping his rope around three hooves in record time.
The cowboys I know won't participate in such an activity because, for them, to cripple or break the bones of a calf or young steer is not manly.
One of the reasons calf busting is often held on private property, hidden away from the rest of the Rodeo, is because the people who take part in the event know on some level that they are lowering themselves and the purity of Rodeo with each injury delivered to these helpless creatures.
When man engages personally in abusing animals for spectacle alone; when man himself uses his superior position to taunt and brutalize helpless creatures, that is presumably where we as "humane" beings step in to prevent the further degrading of our own souls.
One of the reasons, for example, I do not oppose bull fighting is that, in the bull fighting arena, creatures destined to be used for food are slaughtered in a situation whereby, unlike the slaughterhouse, the animal is given an opportunity to use its own natural "swords" to battle against the coming of the night.
It requires a great deal of courage to face a bull in that sort of arena, and, as such, the event is several levels above calf busting. Sponsored by Coca Cola, Bank of America, Dodge, calf busting in my opinion is a disgrace to Rodeo.
It is my hope that, as Americans, and as we become further and further removed from the animal level ourselves, we will encourage Rodeo organizations to stop scheduling events such as steer or calf busting, if only because the men and women who schedule and participate in these events understand the shame the event brings upon everyone, especially themselves.