Good O' Boy Roundup Report - March, 1996

a) Competitions

Some of the most egregious racist conduct at the Roundup occurred during the Redneck of the Year contest. Such objectionable behavior, however, happened in comparatively few Roundups. Over the fourteen-year history of this contest there were approximately sixty or seventy performances; two were overtly racist and none of the winning skits contained racist material. [ / Out of fourteen contests, the Redneck of the Year award was won three times by federal law enforcement agents: one Secret Service and two ATF agents. Larry Stewart alleged in Senate testimony that former ATF deputy director Steve Higgins attended a Roundup and was awarded the "Good O' Boy of the Year" award. First, there is no such award. Second, the closest contest to such a thing was the Redneck of the Year award. We obtained the names of all of the winners of this award and Higgins was not one of them. Third, other than Stewart, and Cooper in a subsequent interview, repeating rumors of Higgins' attendance, we found no evidence that he ever attended a Roundup. He has denied it, Rightmyer confirmed that Higgins was never present, and none of the over 500 attendees interviewed during this investigation identified Higgins as being present. ] Each time blatantly racist behavior occurred during a skit Rightmyer spoke to the participants and informed them that their behavior was unacceptable. [/ Like the term good o' boy, the title Redneck of the Year suggests a reference to whites. Thus, apart from the content of the skits in this contest, the name itself may have created a subtle racist context. ] We also received reports of racist remarks or jokes made by persons on stage for unspecified reasons. These incidents were not part of any official performance. Witnesses' recollections generally included that the offending individual was booed or yanked off the stage. It is likely that we were not informed of all such instances and these incidents contributed to a sometime racially hostile environment. When skits had taken a turn toward gross indecency or exhibited some racist content, Rightmyer gave speeches to the crowd urging participants to be creative and funny instead of merely gross. He explicitly prohibited racist content from the skits. [/ Rightmyer testified that he started making these speeches after some officers from Tampa, Florida, told him that if they use the word "nigger," even off duty, they could be fired. Furthermore, if one of them heard a fellow officer from their department use this word but he did not report it, he could be fired for that as well. Rightmyer said this made him look at these incidents in "a different light" than how he had looked at them previously. Although this knowledge may have spurred Rightmyer to take some action, it was clearly insufficient to make him realize that more decisive action was necessary. ] Although not everyone heeded this call, the winners in 1994 and 1995 had no reported racist content.

The remaining competitions (such as the beer Enduro, truck push, volleyball, motorcycle events) were devoid of racist content.