Increasing transportation expenses reflects only part of the negative effects that this proposed legislation would incur. Adding more trucks to our roads would only increase congestion and pollution, which are two problems usually targeted for reductions by popular opinion and U.S. transportation policy. Adding more trucks to rural highways in order to move rodeo stock to and from the various rodeos operating across the country, would further jeopardize traffic safety on these secondary arteries.
Proponents of this proposed legislation have a misguided understanding of the modern technology of double deckers and the careful standards rodeo stock carriers have adopted for the safe and efficient transportation of rodeo livestock.
Jim Korkow, a member of the Professional Rodeo Stock Contractors Association and owner of the Korkow Ranch in Pierre, S.D., says, “This legislation in the 112th Congress, though perhaps well intended, is so broad in scope that it takes in the transportation of rodeo horses. These horses can be safely transported in manufactured or modified double deck trailers to protect them from injury, to be ready to perform at peak standards, when they arrive at the rodeo site.” Korkow also stated, “I do not know of a rodeo sponsor who wants injured horses participating in their rodeo.”
Rodeos have long been a part of Americana in thousands of communities across the United States, and an important generator of revenue for nonprofit organizations ranging from 4-H Clubs to community hospitals. The numerous rodeos in the United States donate over $25 million dollars to charity each year, proving just one of the significant economic benefits of rodeos. The Wrangler National Rodeo Finals, in Las Vegas, generates over $50 million dollars. Millions of additional dollars in revenue are created, annually, in areas such as Houston and Austin, Texas, Denver, Colo., Tucson, Ariz., Jackson, Miss., Cyanine, Wyo., and Rapid City, S.D. Each and every rodeo is vitally dependent on the safe and efficient transportation of rodeo stock.
There are some 80 professional stock contractor transportation companies operating in the U.S., all of which are small, family owned businesses.
In these difficult economic times, rodeo is thriving, as Americans are looking for value in entertainment and an event the whole family can enjoy. The Professional Stock Contractors Association strongly urges congress to oppose any legislation that would unfairly penalize rodeo sponsors and rodeo stock contract carriers across America.
Fletcher R. Hall is a consultant for the Professional Stock Contractors Association and Chairman and CEO of F.R. Hall and Associates in Potomac, Md.