‘Steer tailing’ event won’t return to county | VailDaily.com

‘Steer tailing’ event won’t return to county

Scott N. Miller
Preston Utley/Vail DailyThe above Mexican rodeo event, called "steer tailing," was been banned from the county fairgrounds after this photo, published in the May 7 Vail Daily, drew complaints from local and national humane societies.

EAGLE COUNTY ” It started with a photo.

That picture, published in the Vail Daily on May 7 from an event the previous day at the Eagle County Fairgrounds has brought complaints, and prompted a change in what kinds of events will be allowed in the future.

The event was a “charreada,” or traditional Mexican rodeo, held to celebrate Cinco de Mayo. Part of the rodeo was an event known as “steer tailing” in which the cowboy rides a horse next to a steer, then tries to bring down the animal by wrapping its tail around his leg.

Both the Eagle Valley Humane Society and the Humane Society of the United States complained about that event. That led the Eagle County Commissioners to ban that event ” one of the most popular ” from future rodeos.

The complaint from the local humane society was a measured one.

“The community in Eagle County has a reputation for treating animals humanely and we are saddened that a steer tailing event was performed in our valley,” wrote Char Quinn, director of the local humane society.

A letter from the national group ” which opposes all rodeo events ” signed by Colin A. Berry, was more harsh.

“Cruelty is implicit to this style of Mexican rodeo and should not be tolerated in any society,” Berry wrote.

In response, the Eagle County Commissioners this week decided that steer tailing would no longer be allowed at the fairgrounds.

“A lot of communities have done that,” Quinn said. “A lot of the Mexican rodeo companies don’t do it.”

The county’s current animal treatment policies are taken straight from the guidelines set out by the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, Commissioner Arn Menconi said.

“But that rodeo wasn’t covered by those guidelines,” Menconi said.

However, the complaints from the local and national humane society offices got the commissioners’ attention.

While there’s a policy now in place, there may not be another Mexican rodeo in the county this year. Miguel Lizardo is one of about 30 members of a local “charreada” group that put on the May rodeo. Lizardo said it was a success, but a lot of work, especially for him.

“There won’t be another one this summer,” Lizardo said. If there is another Mexican rodeo, perhaps next year, Lizardo said the group will do as it’s asked.

“If they say you can do another one, but you can’t do that, OK,” Lizardo said. “If they say no, you can’t do another one, that’s OK.”

Staff Writer Scott N. Miller can be reached at 748-2930, or smiller@vaildaily.com.

Vail Daily, Vail Colorado

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