Boone County Board puts temporary ban on rodeos

It’s the last round up in Boone County, at least for the next two months.
Published: May. 5, 2022 at 10:25 PM CDT
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - Gracie Robles says it was always her fathers dream to be able to share his heritage and culture through rodeos, and that dream became reality just more than a decade ago, after they bought a farm in Kirkland.

“These are traditions; you don’t get to see this everywhere,” said Gracie Robles. “It gives them a sense of home, for people who are from Mexico or Guatemala.”

That sense of home is withering away after several residents submitted complaints.

A vote passed Thursday at the board meeting bans the animal shows for 60 days while permit details are finalized.

“We’ve followed all the procedures, all the permit requirements to have these events,” said Robles. “We only have 6 rodeos a year.”

The complaints started after another farm’s rodeo was believed to violate a permit, causing too much noise. The music and traffic upset the neighbors.

“If it has to be at Boone County Fairgrounds, that’s an appropriate place to have such an event,” said Public Commenter Richard Wolf. “Not out in the community amongst neighbors.”

Some board members say this needed to be done in order for farms like Robles’s to continue hosting rodeos after the reevaluation.

“The ones that are following the rules are being punished for a few bad apples,” said Chairman Karl Johnson.

Others say the decision was a discriminatory act against the Hispanic community.

“For many, this is their lifestyle,” said Boone County Board Member Cherie Bartlet. “This is what they make their money on to send their kids to school and feed their children.”

Johnson says he’s appointed several board members to an ad-hoc committee where they will discuss what needs to be adjusted in the permit by hearing from community members on both sides.

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