HEALTH & SAFETY ISSUES FOR RODEO DIRECTORS
By Brian Helander
Health and Safety issues are primary considerations at all Rodeos on the IGRA circuit. The Rodeo Director plays an important role in taking responsibility and providing leadership for the safety of the volunteers, contestants, attendees and all other persons on the grounds. The most important action a rodeo director can take when a safety issue is identified is to stop the rodeo, consult with safety conscious, experienced trustees, senior contestants, officials and crew, and resolve the issue(s) before proceeding. If the resolution is unclear, err on the side of safety and develop a safe alternative. Serious accidents, up to and including fatality may result due to cavalier attitudes about safety.
The following are key concepts for the Rodeo Director to consider before and during the Rodeo.
- Fresh cold water and electrolyte replacements such as Gatorade should be readily available for the contestants, volunteers and officials.
- Consider water at the horse line up gate for horse contestants waiting in the sun and preparing to compete.
- Fresh fruit such as bananas and apples help replace electrolytes thru the day.
- If possible provide shade and sunscreen for the contestants, volunteers and officials. Use of sunscreen should be encouraged.
- Safety vests should be made available to all contestants, especially first-time contestants.
- Arena equipment should be in working order: if not, do not use it and use only chutes, roping boxes and other arena equipment. Faulty equipment has contributed to injury and fatality.
- Check for alley-way obstructions during the horse competitions. Gates swung inward in the roping box and alleyway can cause injury to horse and rider.
- Rough stock riders should have an experienced safety and a rigging helper.
- The IGRA health and Safety video should be shown to all new contestants and any one wishing to learn how to properly safety for a rough stock rider.
- When setting up Goat Dressing, spread out enough in the arena that you avoid running the teams close enough to potentially collide with each other or the arena wall. Do not allow the use of spikes or re-bar to "stake" the goat in place.