Practical Issues > Animals for Entertainment > Rodeo - Index

SHARK vs. Rodeo Mafia


SHARK supporters and opponents alike know our history of investigating rodeos around the US, and our success in regularly exposing rodeo cruelty. Our documentation of rodeo animal abuse has been publicized by local, national and international media. This makes SHARK the most hated animal protection in the world in the eyes of the Rodeo Mafia. The following story demonstrates the fear, cowardice and incredible ruthlessness of the Rodeo Mafia. This is the story of Lee Adams, a talk show host from Reno, Nevada.

Statement of Lee Adams

On Friday, June 25, 2004, I set about to put together a radio show that I have done live at the Reno Hilton for the past 11 months on KPTT 630 Radio, a local ESPN affiliate. The Reno Rodeo was to have its next-to-the-last performance in town on this date to record crowds. Thinking that the subject was very topical and thought-provoking, I did some research about how animals are treated in rodeos across the country. I stumbled across a website at

I learned of documented abuse and mistreatment of animals in rodeos, and wanted to find out more, as well as hear from both sides. I telephoned the owner of the website, Steve Hindi, and invited him on the show. I then learned that the animal welfare coordinator for the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, Cindy Schonholtz, happen to be in town and I was able to track her down and invite her onto the show. She immediately agreed to appear in person on the show, and got directions on how to get there. I then informed her that I would also have Steve Hindi from SHARK (Showing Animals Respect & Kindness) on the show with her.

At this point she started backpedaling and told me that she would have to clear it with her superiors at the PRCA. Within an hour, she called back and canceled her appearance. I then got a call from my boss, General Manager Dane Wilt of Lotus Radio in Reno, who was very upset. He demanded to know whose idea it was to put an animal rights activist on the air. I should point out here that Lotus Radio has 5 radio stations in Reno, including 94.5 The Mountain, a country FM station, which turns out to be the official radio station of the Reno Rodeo for the past 4 years running. Since Miss Schonholtz had just canceled and I wanted to have both sides on the air, coupled with the fact that Dane was very upset, I told him that I wouldn't put Mr. Hindi on the air and he hung up.

First thing Monday morning, Dane called me into his office. He also requested the presence of office manager Tammy Jo Baxter, as he often does when very serious conversations are about to take place. He started out this way "Lee, there is absolutely no possible way that you can justify what you did on Friday. The rodeo is our partner. You have shown no regard for our relationship with them, etc, etc. You will never be on the air on KPTT again. Ever."

I then tried to explain my reasons for doing the show to no avail. I even apologized, saying I used poor judgment by not consulting with him first. He was determined to remove me from the air, saying that my apology was worthless because it didn't come fast enough. He went on to say that he couldn't trust me to be on the air ever again. Since I am also the sales manager of KPTT, I asked how he could trust me to call on clients if he couldn't trust me to be on the air. He said that that was different, and I disagreed. I told him then that if he really didn't trust me, I didn't need to be there, and so I resigned. I reminded him that all of this fuss was over a show that NEVER EVEN AIRED. It didn't matter. He wasn't changing his mind, so I assured him that I was serious about resigning.

Since this occurred, I have informed a few of my clients about what happened, and they are furious, some already demanding answers and threatening to cancel many thousands of dollars worth of advertising. The Reno Hilton is also a rodeo partner, but they have supported me. Their President & CEO Tim Maland has been very understanding. We are negotiating putting my show on another station.


This story demonstrates again the corrupting power of the Rodeo Mafia, and specifically the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA). Lee Adams was simply trying to put on a good, thought-provoking radio show. Mr. Adams simply wanted to let the public hear both sides and let them draw their own conclusions.

The Rodeo Mafia has sunk to a new low; something I would have thought was impossible. How nauseating to think that these clowns claim to be the keepers of Western American heritage. Now I hope that you will help out.

Please contact Dane Wilt, the radio station general manager, who was so willing to roll over for animal abusers, and let him know what you think. His E-mail address is, and his office phone number is 775-329-9261. Mr. Wilt's immediate supervisor is Tony Bonnici in Las Vegas. His phone number is 702-876-1460, and his email is

As usual, please let us know of any response you may receive.

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