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South Dakota rodeo club cancels 'slave auction' event after backlash

South Dakota rodeo club cancels 'slave auction' event after backlash
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A South Dakota high school's rodeo club has canceled its April 26 "Slave/Branding Auction" amid outrage over its name, according to The Washington Post.

The Faith High School Rodeo Club has held its annual event — during which the club members offer their services to ranchers in exchange for a donation — at the town's Legion Hall for decades, said host Glenda McGinnis.

But this year they canceled the event after the event's advertisement sparked a slew of criticism.

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Across the top of the advertisement reads "AUCTION," followed by a description of the night's events, which include a pancake supper followed by the "Slave/Branding Auction," according to an image of the ad shared by the Argus Leader.

McGinnis said people from across the country called to complain about the name. 

"I thought it was a joke. We have the event every year, for about 40 years now," McGinnis told the Post.

She added, "I even got a call from a local cowboy who said: 'How’s this going down? It’s not right.' I told him we weren’t doing anything wrong. And he explained, 'Well, it’s how it was advertised that’s wrong.' "

McGinnis said she didn't view the name as harmful before the outrage, but could see that it was a "very bad choice of words." 

"I didn’t even think of 'slavery' in racist terms. It’s just kids work for free to raise money for their club," she said.

"Now I see; this is a very bad choice of words. But I’m naive enough, I guess," she added. 

Another of the state's rodeo clubs had previously garnered criticism billing its auction the same way, but declined to change the name because it couldn't settle on an alternative, according to The Capital Journal.