A new relationship with animals, nature and each other.

Teaching Rodeo to Children

The new kids’ “sport” of mutton busting

“Kaden Bustamante tottered out of the rodeo arena after the brief, rough ride he had endured on a careening mount landed him face down in the dirt. He spit dust from his mouth and tried to stanch the blood that had begun to pour from his nose.

“Then he wailed for his mother. Kaden is 3; this was his first time riding a galloping sheep.”

So begins an article in the New York Times about the new, children’s version of rodeo: Putting infants onto frightened sheep and pushing them into a “mutton-busting” ring.

While playing rodeo-for-kids is not new in rural regions, it’s now joining the mainstream in the suburbs of upscale cities like Aurora, Colorado.

Those who support this “sport” say that it gets children out of today’s over-protected world and gives them a chance to prove their mettle.

The article focuses on the effects on children (one observer, vacationing in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, called it a form of child abuse), but says nothing about how these events are sponsored and promoted by the abusive rodeo industry.

One of those promoters is the National Junior Bullriders Association, which exists as a steppingstone to competitive rodeo. Another, Wool Riders Only, estimates that this summer, 8,000 children will ride — and fall off— its sheep. And Tommy G. Productions has expanded from one event at the Colorado State Fair to 16 stops from Dallas to Las Vegas, and a “World Finals,” in Fresno, Calif., with 125 sheep being trucked from one stop to the next in a double-decker trailer in the blistering heat of summer in the Southwest.

See the article in the New York Times.

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