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Box Elder officials reconsider policy after Utah horse roping backlash
Box Elder County » USU student is asked to leave after recording event in Tremonton.

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"It makes me feel like I can change something for once," Van Valkenburg said. "Whether this issue is right or wrong, it just depends on who you ask, but the fact that people are talking about it makes me feel like I have done something."

Rhodes doesn’t recall hosting any other horse-roping events and says they aim to "have something in place so that if somebody wants to have this again, we’re not discriminating against them," by denying rental. That’s tricky, says County Attorney Steve Hatfield, because "If you just say we’re not going to allow any events that cause cruelty to animals, who defines that?"

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County commissioner Stan Summers stressed that the county — which charges $40 per hour to rent the arena — didn’t fund it or condone it, and they don’t deserve the "hateful, horrible things" that animal rights activists have said to him. "I’m just a father and a part-time commissioner," Summers said.

One constituent contacted state Rep. Ronda Menlove, who told The Tribune that despite having grown up on a cattle ranch, this is the first she’s heard of horse roping. She told her constituent that she’d look into other states’ laws during the upcoming session.

Munns said the draw of Judkins’ event wasn’t the chance to drag down some horses. The cowboys aren’t cruel people, he said. Judkins’ event simply offered the region’s ropers a chance to socialize during one of the slow winter months.

And Judkins says he hopes to do it again.

"I’m trying to keep the cowboy tradition alive, and I’m trying to go to bat and keep it."


Twitter: @matthew_piper

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