Rodeo Bans “Professional” SLR Cameras — A Swipe at Animal-Rights Crowd?


We’re getting more and more accustomed to authorities telling us if and how we can photograph something, so the camera ban enacted for the recent Reno Rodeo isn’t all that surprising.

What’s different with this one is the intended target of the ban, which animal-rights activists claim is intended to prevent them from exposing abuses.

The policy prohibits spectators from bringing in videocams and “professional cameras with detachable lenses.” A rodeo publicist defended the policy as a copyright-protection measure, to prevent unauthorized distribution and selling of images of rodeo stars.


But an activist with Showing Animals Respect & Kindness (SHARK) said the real objective is to prevent the public from getting a good look at rodeo practices that injure animals. “We don’t want to say we saw this happening, we want to show you — that’s what they want to stop,” said Steve Hindi. “It’s as if they’re saying, ‘The abuses will go on; we just need to cover it up.’ ”


Earlier this year, the Kentucky Derby enacted a similar but more specific ban, casting it as a security measure in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings. Around the same time, Beyonce walled herself off from professional photographers, while airlines ramped up their efforts to prevent use of anything with a lens.

(via Reno Gazette-Journal)

Image credits: Photographs by dbking, Tango!, Somersetpedia.paul

  • Jimmy

    So just take a super zoom, like the canon sx240 and job done! Stupid rule, stupid people. Both sides if you ask me. Please don’t ask though. ;) The bull goes nuts and flips the guy off, which is a win, as the rider probably needs his entire spine re-aligned. The bull is just frustrated, but doesn’t need any physio. Compare that to Bull fights here in Spain and that is one lucky and happy Bull. No burgers for the people there!! He just goes back out in to the world being mad, kind of like the stream of people on the comment section of DPReview! :)

  • CrackerJacker

    I don’t buy it. It would be much easier to get surreptitious shots with iPhones or other smaller profile cameras. I think this is what the Rodeo is saying it is. They don’t want anyone making cash off of their event (unless, of course, they get their cut).

    Of course SHARK gets to parlay this into free publicity now, so win-win (except for us photographers, we lose again).

  • Mike

    Hey, Jimmy, what happens in Spain if the bull wins?

  • Matt

    You can’t really get close enough for a camera phone.

  • Johnny Blood

    I live in Montana and have attempted to photograph at rodeo events before without much success. The reason dSLR cameras are being banned is because they hire their own photographers and license those images. They don’t want to compete with amateur photographers. Smart move, if you ask me.

  • Mat Miller

    I bet you I could….

  • Mat Miller

    I live in Oklahoma, 2 years ago I was out with my 80-200 and not one person said a thing… Makes me want to get out and see if I can still go shoot rodeos now…hmmmmm

  • Jimmy

    Justice! :)

  • Chris

    Does the bull ever win? Poor thing.

  • Fred

    Seriously, is anyone redneck enough these days to actually go to a rodeo, camer or no camera?

  • Froggy

    Somebody has never been West of the Mississippi.

  • kjb

    I just saw a sign posted for a rodeo in central NJ last weekend and had I been in town, I was pretty interested in going (solely as a photographic opportunity). Seems like a pretty cool event to shoot!

  • kenyee

    Ditto what folks said about P&S w/ super zooms. If I were a terrorist or activist, something small w/ a good zoom would be my tool of choice instead of a bulky DSLR. You don’t need *that* sharp an image to plan anything, especially w/ people using screen res photos nowadays and being happy w/ crappy smartphone quality :-P

  • Duke Shin

    Sir, are you a professoinal? You’ll have to lea-

    No, I’m an amateur.

    Is that a 1Dx?

    Yes. I’m a very rich amateur.

  • Natasa

    I’d be happy to pay them to let me take photos with my DSLR and sell them

  • moonshin

    i went to the start of texas rodeo in austin last year with my sigma 120-300 f2.8 and a monopod. no issues