The fact that a contestant on The Price Is Right won a trip to the infamous Calgary Stampede rodeo has left Bob Barker furious.
“They wouldn’t have even considered it when I was there,” Barker said. “I had them take fur coats off the show. Game shows all gave away fur coats back then, but I don’t think any game show gives away fur coats now. We didn’t give away leather, that sort of thing. We didn’t do anything that was harmful to animals.”
The prize, valued at $25,329, included airfare to Calgary, five days at a hotel with car rental, two days at the Stampede, tickets to the rodeo and chuck wagon races, six pairs of leather boots and a Toyota Tacoma truck.
This isn’t the first time Barker has been appalled by the prizes being given away by his former TV show. Last month, the show gave away tickets to SeaWorld.
“I called the executive producer,” Barker said. “I didn’t get an answer, so I left a message. Then I called a producer – same thing. Then I called an executive with whom I’d worked, and she didn’t return my call.”
When he heard about the rodeo, he decided there was no point in trying to call the producer.
“I’m concerned about the Calgary Stampede’s history of animals dying and animals being abused on a regular basis, not unlike every rodeo here in the U.S. They’re all cruel,” he said. “They don’t represent the glory of the Old West, or the glory of the Canadian West. They are just cruel and unsavory forms of entertainment that should be stopped altogether.”
Last year, Britain’s Prince William and wife Kate got roped into the rodeo despite protests from humane groups in Canada and around the world. And despite protests from the organizers of the spectacle that the animals would be safe, two horses died during the chuckwagon races. The previous year, six horses were killed.
This year, the Stampede is preparing for its centennial celebration, and is on the list of CNN’s top places to visit in 2012.
“I’d like to see the Stampede disappear completely,” Barker said, “I’d like to see rodeos in the U.S. disappear. I’d like to see circuses disappear, I’d like to see all forms of animal cruelty disappear.”