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Monday, February 7, 2011

York rodeo organizer fires back at animal-rights protesters
Kenny Churchill of York just received approval to hold a rodeo this June at York's Wild Kingdom. Churchill is a retired rodeo rider and is pulling in people all over the country to participate in the event.Deb Cram/dcram@seacoastonline.com
February 07, 2011
YORK, Maine — Animal rights groups oppose rodeos and bull riding as a form of animal abuse, but the organizer of an event in June at York's Wild Kingdom said protesters need to educate themselves on the sport.
"The N.H. SPCA does not support rodeos. We haven't in the past; we wouldn't anticipate we would in the future," said Lisa Dennison, executive director of the New Hampshire Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in Stratham, which covers York County. "A rodeo is an opportunity, much like dog fighting or dog racing, to have a good time at the expense of the animal."
Jordan Crump, spokesman for the Humane Society of the United States, said the organization opposes rodeos, "since they typically cause torment and stress to animals; expose them to pain, injury or even death; and encourage an insensitivity to and acceptance of the inhumane treatment of animals in the name of sport.
"Accordingly," he continued, "we oppose the use of devices such as electric prods, sharpened sticks, spurs, flank straps and other rodeo equipment that cause animals to react violently, and we oppose bull riding, bronco riding, steer roping, calf roping, 'wild horse racing,' chuck wagon racing, steer tailing and horse tripping."
Ken Churchill, organizer of the rodeo coming to York, Maine, this June, rides a bull at an event in the 1990s.
The York rodeo will feature bull riding and barrel racing, an event in which horses gallop around barrels, according to organizer Kenny Churchill of York. There will be no calf roping or other events involving animals. Churchill, 49, a former professional bull rider, denied that bulls are mistreated and said he has heard such claims before.
"For many years, I've tried to sit down with them," Churchill said of animal-rights activists. "I've offered to educate them about the sport and how well the animals are taken care of. The problem with these groups is, they don't want to be educated."
Churchill is chief executive officer for World Cup Bull Riders, an organization he formed in 1999. He takes his bull riding and barrel racing rodeo to between 15 and 18 venues nationwide each year through his Extreme Country Stampede Tour. The World Cup Bull Riders Extreme Country Stampede Tour will be held June 4-5 at York's Wild Kingdom. This is the first time the rodeo will be held in York.read more at:http://www.seacoastonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20110207/NEWS/102070314/-1/NEWSMAP

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