My Turn: Setting the arena record straight
I would like to set the record straight regarding the My Turn guest column Seeing and hearing what we want to see and hear in the Sierra Sun on Feb. 28. I would have to agree with the writer when he states that if 10 people witness an event, you would probably get 10 different descriptions of what happened. I dont think the number is that high but Im willing to give him that one. What I would like to ask is this: If one person of that ten recorded what was said, how many of the other nine could deny the recording? That is precisely what happened and if the writer could not hear adequately from the row in which he was seated, I would be happy to play it back for him.Regardless of that however, I would like to expound on the writers glowing definition of a Mexican Charreada. It is of course a cultural event, dancing, singing, mariachi music and tequila. Except for maybe the tequila, the other events of the Charreada can be beautiful. But let me educate you on what the writer has failed to express to the Rec and Park district and you as the reader and all of us as a community.Charreadas date back to around 400 years. The stock which is used is leased or purchased from slaughter houses or auctions where they ultimately are returned. There are about nine different events, three of which were outlawed in California in 1994 by Governor Pete Wilson. These three events have to do with the skill of horse tripping. The skillful charro ropes the front legs or the hind legs, in two different events, and then pulls the horse crashing to the ground. The third event accomplishes the same thing from horseback. Because of the resulting barbaric crippling of the horses, seven different states have outlawed these three events.Another event which animal rights activists have tried to have outlawed in California is the tailing of steers. Steers are chased down the length of a fence; their tail is caught by the charro and wrapped around his leg and stirrup. The charro then veers quickly away from the steer sending it crashing to the ground. Steers sometimes loose their tails or break their necks and legs.The remaining events are much like our rodeo in this country. Steers and horses are bucked from chutes with one huge exception. In the American rodeo, livestock are bucked for only 8 seconds and not ridden again. In the Charreada, stock is bucked to exhaustion, repeatedly.While the writer claims that the board expressed that this activity would be good for the entire community, my tape would tell you otherwise. The board expressed that its only fair that the Hispanic community had its own event. I believe Mexican Independence day is one such event. That is not to say there should not be others. My only problem with such a statement is that it does not bring this community together, but rather divides it. For the last three years I have personally invited the Hispanic community, through flyers in Spanish, to the after rodeo barbecue, which the Junior Horsemen put on as their fundraiser. Something no other person had done before. I have included them.The Horsemen do have a contract with the Rec and Park District, which gives them first priority for the use of the arena. This is something the writer is fully aware of as he was once a member of the Horsemen. This is not news to him. But what he is obviously unaware of is this: The members of the Truckee Donner Horsemen Association do not claim rights to the arena. The arena was established by the McIvers for use by horsemen and to provide a place to hold the Truckee Rodeo. Had the writer come to the Horsemen first and made his request known before going to the Rec and Park District and done it on a timely manner, perhaps he could have found a place in the 2007 calendar. Regardless, the Horsemen cleared and offered two dates at their Feb. 20 meeting for the writer and are still at the time of this writing waiting to hear from him.So in closing I would suggest to you the members of this community to use the Internet. Look up Mexican Rodeo or Charreada and make your own opinion. You can go to their own web site at: mundocharro.com and open their galleries of pictures where you will find hundreds of pictures of the abuse these animals go through. You can also go to SHARK or PETA Web sites and see pictures, videos and read articles. Then if you think this thing called culture belongs in Truckee you will have made an informed decision. Phyllis Keller is a Truckee resident.
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