Wild Horse Race Removed from Oregon Rodeo Roster

A controversial horse race that claimed the life of one equine participant last year will not be part of the 2013 St. Paul, Ore., Rodeo schedule.

The annual St. Paul Rodeo is one of eight events nationwide designated as a Wrangler Million Dollar Tour Gold Tour Rodeo event. Previously among that rodeo’s annual events was a "Wild Horse Race," during which teams of riders compete at catching, holding, saddling, and riding free-running horses. In 2012, two galloping horses used in the event collided head on; one horse sustained head trauma and neck injuries during the incident and was subsequently euthanized.

In a written statement St. Paul Rodeo spokeswoman Ruth Nicolaus said that the event had been stricken from the rodeo’s 2013 event schedule, however other traditional rodeo events will remain on the event’s roster.

“The St. Paul Rodeo Board of Directors has voted to discontinue the Wild Horse Race for 2013,” Nicolaus’ statement said. “All (Professional Rodeo Cowboys’ Association) events will take place, as they have for the past 77 years, including the bareback riding, tie-down roping, steer wrestling, saddle bronc riding, team roping, bull riding, and the barrel racing, sanctioned by the Women’s Pro Rodeo Association.”

David Lytle, public affairs manager for the Oregon Humane Society, said that last year his organization had spoken out in opposition to the event on grounds that the race put horses’ lives at risk. He welcomed the directors’ decision to discontinue the event.

“I’m glad to see that they’ve made this decision,” Lytle said. “Putting animals at risk for pure entertainment is just wrong.”

This year's event is scheduled for July 2-6 in St. Paul.

About the Author

Pat Raia

Pat Raia is a veteran journalist who enjoys covering equine welfare, industry, and news. In her spare time, she enjoys riding her Tennessee Walking Horse, Sonny.

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