2. Location of event
Larry Stewart suggested in his Senate testimony that the Roundup, because it was held at night in the hills of Tennessee, was "held in an atmosphere . . . associated with extremist group activity or simply Klan activities." OIG therefore examined whether the characteristics of the Roundup's two locations were consistent with and amenable to running secretive racist events.
The site for the first four Roundups was a public campground monitored by park rangers. Subsequent Roundups were held on private property. This second site had some tree coverage, but it was alongside a major road leading to a major tourist attraction. Many attendees camped out in open fields, adjacent to a main campground devoid of perimeter security. Many Roundup events, including the rafting, motorcycle competition, volleyball, and other sports, were conducted out in the open. Nominal security existed to prevent people who had not paid from drinking the Roundup's beer. Indeed, this lack of perimeter control is why Hayward and Randall so easily gained access to the 1995 Roundup.
Neither site is well-suited for secretive racist events, such as the typical secluded sites of Klan-type gatherings. Nevertheless, minority agents would have had no way of knowing this unless they actually attended a Roundup. Although objectively the views expressed by Stewart are not borne out, we found that other minority agents held similar views that contributed to their decisions not to attend the Roundup. Indeed, some minority agents indicated that regardless of the purpose of the event, they would not have felt comfortable attending an overnight event in that region because of historical connections between Southern rural areas and racist activities. Notwithstanding these perceptions, however, there were no geographic alternatives for holding an overnight rafting trip in Eastern Tennessee, convenient to Rightmyer's Knoxville ATF post.