Missing rodeo horses rounded up in Reno
RENO (AP) – Bareback and saddle bronc competition at North America’s third largest rodeo will go on after all.
All but one of 62 bucking horses used in the events at the Reno Rodeo were found Sunday after escaping from a corral in Sparks, just east of Reno.
The animals left late Saturday or early Sunday and were in the Pah Rah Range about six miles northeast of the corral when they were found in the early afternoon, rodeo spokesman Steve Schroeder said.
They were driven back to town by a group of cowboys and were expected to perform Monday night. They were a little dehydrated but otherwise in good condition, organizers said.
“Those horses are pretty wiped out,” Schroeder said. “They were heading east (away from Reno) and in a full bore run when they were spotted.
“It took a while to turn around the leader and drive the herd back into town. Fortunately, it’s a happy outcome,” he said.
Rodeo officials were unsure whether the horses were intentionally released or escaped on their own from the Gondolfo Arena.
Three animal rights activists staged a protest Saturday at the Reno Rodeo Arena, where the event is held.
“We don’t know what happened,” Schroeder said. “There’s strange tracks near one of the gates where the horses left.”
The horses’ escape had threatened to cancel the bareback and saddle bronc events at the rodeo, he added.
Most of the horses, owned by Flying 5 Rodeo Co. based in Washington state, are worth thousands of dollars each. But some of the best that compete at the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas are valued at hundreds of thousands of dollars each, Schroeder said.
The horses were the target of an intensive search. Organizers even asked airline pilots to look for them as they approached Reno-Tahoe International Airport.
Searchers continued to comb the Pah Rahs for the lone missing horse.