Going to a north state rodeo? Don't take your camera

Be sure to bring a cowboy hat to the upcoming Red Bluff Round-Up or the Redding Rodeo, but leave your camera at home.

At the Redding event, those carrying cameras will be asked to put them away and in Red Bluff, cameras will be confiscated, event officials said.

"If we find a guy taking pictures with his telephone we'll confiscate that," said John Trede, first-vice president for the Round-Up.

The Round-Up runs April 16 through 19. The Redding Rodeo is May 14 through 16.

Trede said confiscated cameras will be returned to their owners as they leave the rodeo.

While they won't take cameras away from people, officials at the Redding Rodeo will escort people out of the arena if they pull them out after being warned, said John Monteil, this year's rodeo president.

But the rules are somewhat ambiguous.

Montiel said Redding Rodeo officials don't mind if some parents snap photos of the child mutton busting, or if friends or family take photos of a local competitor.

"You got to use some common sense," Monteil said.

What the rodeo officials are watching out for are people trying to record video or capture commercial-grade photos to sell, he said. Officials are also wary of animal rights groups who might be trying to collect images for anti-rodeo campaigns.

The contentious issue of animal rights groups filming and photographing rodeo was at the heart of a recent legal battle.

In 2006 and 2007, Illinois-based nonprofit Showing Animals Respect and Kindness (SHARK) posted videos on YouTube taken at rodeos sanctioned by Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA), which also sanctions both local rodeos.

Colorado Springs, Colo.-based PRCA said the videos violated their copyrights and YouTube pulled them.

A court case followed, with a settlement reached in early February, according to information provided by SHARK president Steve Hindi. In the settlement, PRCA agreed to pay SHARK $25,000 for improper removal of the videos and the PRCA agreed to enforce a no-camera rule at its events only if the rule applies to fans and critics alike.

"It's not unusual for rodeos to have 'No Cameras' on their tickets," Hindi said.

But he said the prohibition has long been used as a way for rodeo organizers to restrict only those they want to restrict, while allowing others to film and photograph.

Past president of the Redding Rodeo Rick Williams said many rodeos now restrict cameras. He said the films and photos put out by the animal rights groups have been a part of that decision.

"They take pictures, manipulate them and bend the truth," Williams said.

While rodeo organizers in Red Bluff and Redding said they restricted cameras in the audience because of the PRCA-crafted guidelines, a PRCA official said the group didn't have such rules.

"It's up to the individual rodeo committee," said Jim Bainbridge, senior public relations coordinator for the PRCA

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