The Duncan Banner

September 4, 2010

LTE: Rancher upset about ‘political rodeo,’ fish

The Duncan Banner

— To the editor,

Old time politics at the county fair had speakers, music, signs, banners and sometimes free bar-b-que. Voters loved it.

I think those bar-b-ques have degraded to fish frys. Being a rancher and a cowman I would rather see the politicians support the cattle business. But I understand there are getting to be a lot of fish eaters.

At the rodeo Saturday the ground crew set out the barrels for the barrel race. The top half of the barrels were covered with a candidate’s campaign signs. Very bright, red, white and blue. I felt this was a serious mistake by rodeo officials.

I’ve gone to rodeo’s all my life and never seen anything like it.

It changed a competitive, timed earned points rodeo event to a political rally. It could also spook or boogers some of the horses in the event if they were not trained with the same barrels. Chute gates or end fence panels should be used by all candidates. I didn’t know who to contact so I entered the arena and started removing the signs. Knowing I would be joined by rodeo officials and I would explain my objections. Sure enough, that produced a very tall, very angry man.

His first words were “OK, that’s it. You’ve made your point, you’re out of here.”

He started shoving me backwards to force me out of the arena. He continued to shove me six or seven times. I stopped backing up and warned him to not shove me again. He shoved me again three or four times and then I was attacked from behind by a young man.

I know by his attack and hold he was a trained wrestler. His stance, spread feet, and the pressure he applied showed he was ready and eager to make a flip and take down. Since he was 60 years younger, 100 pounds heavier, and my arms were penned, I could not break his hold.

As he held me one of the five or six people who had gathered around me said, “call the law,” I said, “Yes, do call the law.” Tall man said, “Do not call the law.” I said, “I think the signs should be removed before the event. This is a rodeo, not a political rally.”

The woman in the group said, ‘The candidate had paid to put his signs on the barrels,’ I said that doesn’t make it right. She asked “Will you talk to me sir?” I said, “Yes, ma’am.”

She asked if I would follow her over here. I said yes and followed her and tall man out of the arena.

I told her I didn’t come for a political rally. I had paid to attend a rodeo.

If they refused to remove the signs, they should refund my money and I would leave. My money was refunded and I left the rodeo. Some of those people may be fish eaters.

I think I smelled fish.

Jimmie Pruitt