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Hola es su centro para mantenerse informado, compartir ideas y conectarse con recursos. (Hola is your hub to stay informed, share ideas, and connect with resources in northern Illinois.)

Outside attorney agrees with AG warning to avoid discriminatory action against Mexican-style rodeos in Boone County

With the mild spring temperatures, the Mexican-style rodeo season kicked off over the past weekend in Boone County.

Just last month, the Boone County Board voted to table a ban on steer tailing. It’s the main event held at coleaderos or Mexican-style rodeos hosted by Hispanic property owners in the area.

Steer tailing entails a horse rider attempting to knock down a castrated bull by the tail.

The vote in March was the latest attempt by the board to outlaw the event, which the local Hispanic community say holds cultural significance.

Boone County Board member Brent Mueller sided with the majority in the 9 to 3 vote to table or postpone a vote on a motion to ban steer tailing. And while he believes steer tailing is animal cruelty, he doesn’t predict the board will bring up the motion to ban the event in the near future.

“We've got enough on our board agendas to keep us occupied here for the next few months,” Mueller said.

Even so, the head of an animal rights group spoke out last week against the county for approving the latest rodeo permit request.

Prior to the county’s March 21 meeting, an outside attorney advised the board against taking action that may be discriminatory.

The letter from the law practice of Ancel Glink states that, “Based on the review of relevant authority, we agree with the Attorney General that enacting or enforcing regulations that would have the impact of treating Mexican-style rodeos differently than American-style rodeos would subject the County to claims of unlawful discrimination.”

Boone County Board member Dave Wiltse told WNIJ in March that new information provided to the board prior to the vote swayed his decision to table the motion to ban steer tailing.

In addition to the letter from outside counsel, county staff shared with the board an email from the Winnebago-Boone County Farm Bureau. The letter states it’s not the organization’s official public statement, but it does declare its support for the adoption of the Illinois Humane Care of Animals Act to county code.

The board eventually voted to include the state law under the county’s provision, which board members told WNIJ served to reinforce the existing statue.

The board also voted to expand the prohibition on horse tailing and horse tripping to include similar animals such as donkeys and mules.

A vote on the motions to ban steer tailing and another to ban all rodeo events were postponed.

In the letter, the Farm Bureau called for the county to lower the minimum of people in attendance that requires a temporary use permit for animal shows and rodeos.

Under the current code, a minimum of 10 people participating in an animal show or rodeo including spectators require a temporary use permit for the event.

The Farm Bureau’s recommendation for the threshold to be increased to 100 didn’t receive enough support from the board.

A Chicago native, Maria earned a Master's Degree in Public Affairs Reporting from the University of Illinois Springfield . Maria is a 2022-2023 corps member for Report for America. RFA is a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms to report on under-covered issues and communities. It is an initiative of The GroundTruth Project, a nonprofit journalism organization. Un residente nativo de Chicago, Maria se graduó de University of Illinois Springfield con una licenciatura superior en periodismo de gobierno.