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Latino group calls for boycott of Houston Rodeo

HOUSTON, Feb. 26, 2008 (AP): A group of Latino leaders said Tuesday that Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo officials haven’t done enough to include Latinos, so they are calling for a boycott of the three-week show that starts Monday, March 3.

“We request our friends across the whole state of Texas not to attend the Houston Livestock Show,'' said former state Sen. Gonzalo Barrientos.

Among complaints from the newly-formed group VIVE Tejano-Houston—made up of representatives from the Tejano music industry, Houston-area politicians and members of other professional organizations—is the type of performers at the show’s main venue on Go Tejano Day.

Rubén Cubillos, co-founder of the group, said that they object to the hiring of non-Tejano performers to play at the show’s main venue that day.

Leroy Shafer, the show’s chief operating officer, said Go Tejano Day is about Latino culture, not just one type of music. This year’s Go Tejano Day on March 16 will feature Duelo, a norteño band from Roma, and Los Horoscopos de Durango, a durangüense act from Chicago.

He said that a Tejano act won't take center stage because the genre's popularity has been waning. Tejano bands are scheduled to play on smaller stages.

Show organizers say this isn't the first time Go Tejano Day lacked a traditional Tejano artist on the main stage.

“If, in fact, they're asking people to stay away because they're trying to keep this genre of music on a big stage, then they're asking people to go against the very essence of what this day is,” Shafer said. “They're asking them not to come out and celebrate being Hispanic.”

Cubillos also says that not enough of the show’s scholarships go to Latino students and that the show doesn't have enough Latinos at the executive level.

Show organizers said that nearly a third of the 927 students who attended Texas universities on show scholarships last year are Latino.

The executive committee, the show's highest level of volunteer leadership, includes 11 active members and six lifetime members, but no Latinos. Those members are elected based on years of service and leadership, as well as economic contributions to the show.

“We have several people on track to get on that committee but they won’t be short-cutted,” Shafer said.

Several members of the show’s Go Tejano Committee also said they didn't agree with the boycott, the Houston Chronicle reports.

“They’re completely out of line,'' said George Hernández, a committee volunteer. ``We're not chartered by the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo to hear Tejano music. If they want their music heard, they should join a music association.”






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