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The Red Bluff Round-Up rodeo is a big deal, and one the Redding (CA) Searchlight covers regularly. Not this year, however, the paper explained. “For the first time anyone here can remember, the Record Searchlight today won’t have any journalists inside the rodeo arena at the Red Bluff Round-Up,” the paper reported.
The Round-Up Association had established new “ground rules” meant to “manage” news coverage of the event. Last year a bull had jumped into the stands, injuring some spectators. This resulted in in less than positive news reports, as one can imagine. So this year the Association brought in a team of “media wranglers” meant to escort (that is, herd) writers and photographers from the gate to a designated media area (coral). Often rodeos will allow media into the area behind the chutes. It makes for better photos and interviews. Not so at the Round-Up.
Moreover, if another bull found his way into the stands, the wranglers would push the media into a designated area where they would be fed reports from rodeo officials. In other words, reporters couldn’t cover the event. They would be taken to a place where they could receive press releases. So, the Searchlight declined media credentials and won’t be covering the event. (They did cover the parade, above.) “Cowboys understand simple right and wrong,” the paper wrote. “To us, this is wrong.”