Message from Councilmember Diane Pearce

Council Member Diane Pearce

May 9, 2024 – When you hear about the “Clovis Way of Life,” you cannot help but think about the rodeo and all it celebrates and represents. Clovis just wrapped the 110th Clovis Rodeo and it was fantastic!

One of the special things about it is how it links our history to our present. I think it is safe to say that no current Clovis resident remembers that first rodeo back in 1914, but there are some families that have been serving the Clovis Rodeo Association for generations.

And many people from all over have deep-rooted traditions surrounding Rodeo Week, including the concerts, the dance, and the parade.

Every time I get to attend the Rodeo – this year I was fortunate enough to make opening night with PBR on Wednesday, April 24 and closing day with the championship rounds on Sunday, April 28 – it reminds me of the grit and determination of the American spirit.

From opening in prayer to standing proudly for the National anthem to acknowledging and supporting law enforcement, the Clovis Rodeo does not fall prey to the divisions today’s society tries to force on us.

And yet, even this historic and beloved event finds itself under attack in California. In just the last few years multiple California cities have banned rodeo events and equipment and certain counties have considered measures banning them as well.

As this movement gains steam and more cities follow suit, one can only see the conversation of a statewide ban on the horizon. Governor Newsom signed legislation banning animals from circuses and this effort follows the same ill-informed arguments of protecting animals from cruelty.

The efforts to demonize an All-American sport like rodeo comes from the same groups that have harmed our family farms that raise chickens, pigs, and the like, asserting they do not care about their animals and must have the heavy-hand of government tell them how to run their business.

Generations of families have raised livestock to feed the world and to showcase animal athletes in sports like horse racing, bull riding, and rodeo events. To insinuate they do not properly care for or protect the health and well-being of these animals is insulting – not just to those whose blood, sweat, and tears have gone into raising and training them, but also to those of us who sit in awe of these animals and the cowboys and cowgirls who interact with them.

When people outside those industries try to disparage and regulate them, the animals are not better for it. And the communities, like Clovis, in which rodeo has been part of their fabric and identity for generations are lesser places for it.

Another impressive part of Sunday’s rodeo events was the Clovis Police Department’s K-9 unit demonstration. Getting to see our four-legged officers show their skills is a really incredible experience that brings great appreciation for how these animals contribute to our community and public safety.

Our K-9 officers are an integral part of the Clovis Police Department and its ability to execute its duties while maintaining the safest environment possible for our officers, community members, and even suspects being taken into custody.

And yet, partisan lawmakers in Sacramento have also introduced legislation attempting to eliminate our K-9 officers service in our communities.

Clovis would not be the same without the Rodeo. We would not be as safe without our incredible Police Department, and their four-legged officers.

Clovis is unique in the Golden State. We are not San Francisco or LA- and would like to keep it that way.

I am proud of our heritage and am determined to protect the Clovis Way of Life.