rodeo protest

Paul Williams of Atlantic City (right) protests the rodeo in front of Boardwalk Hall. Friday March 30 2012 Boardwalk Rodeo, Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City. (The Press of Atlantic City / Ben Fogletto)

ATLANTIC CITY – Before the Atlantic City Boardwalk Rodeo got started, about a dozen protesters were outside Boardwalk Hall with signs and a megaphone.

“Just say no to the rodeo,” was their cry.

The South Jersey Animal Advocates were out for the second year in a row in attempt to get those going to the rodeo to change their minds.

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“Somebody has to be the voice to the voiceless,” Galloway Township resident Richard Grzywinski said. “Someone has to speak for the animals.”

Those outside Boardwalk Hall handed out flyers to people passing by. They said the “rodeo is cruelty to animals” as others walked into the box office to get tickets.

Galloway Township resident Ronda Cluff, 44, doesn't think they are going to change people's minds as they are walking in, but she wants people to think about what they are seeing. She wants to start a conversation.

“I think part of the problem is the romanticizing of it,” Cluff said. “The whole cowboy culture is part of it.”

The group is going to be back again in three weeks when a circus will be at Boardwalk Hall. They will protest the animal use in the “Barnum Bash.”

Atlantic City's Paul Williams, 40, wish the rodeo never came to his hometown. He views it as a desperate attempt by city officials to bring revenue into the city.

“This wouldn't be happening if Atlantic City was booming,” Williams said. “This is a blot on Atlantic City.”

Some of the protesters standing near the box office were asked to move to the other side of the Boardwalk by Boardwalk Hall security and Atlantic City police, but the protesters were allowed to stand in front of the hall on the Boardwalk as long as they weren't blocking any entrances.

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