Good O' Boy Roundup Report - March, 1996

c) Rules

The official rules of the Roundup were also facially race-neutral. From the beginning some basic rules governed the Roundup; as the event grew, new rules were added. Most rules were written on fliers so that people would know them before they arrived, and they were posted by the registration area at the campsite.

One of the first rules prohibited fighting. [ / At the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, ATF Director Magaw suggested that this rule was established during the 1990s because of problems which had arisen from fights at the Roundup. Because our information differed from this, we asked Magaw for the basis of his belief that fighting had been a problem at the Roundup. He told us he inferred this from seeing the no fighting rule on an invitation in the 1990s and assumed that there must have been problems which led to its creation. This rule appears, however, on all of the invitations we could find, including two from the 1980s. Scores of people we interviewed, including people who attended the very first Roundup, told us this rule was always in place. ] Rightmyer stated there were never any fights. Others remembered one. [ / When questioned about this particular incident, Rightmyer claimed it was never a "fight" but merely "wrestling," but he put these two men on what he called "do betters," or a form of probation. Others thought the two men had been told not to return, but Rightmyer does not recall expelling them from the Roundup. ] There was no written rule about weapons, but many of the people interviewed thought there was one. Rightmyer said he did not need a written rule because everyone knew not to bring a weapon. Rightmyer acknowledged, however, that he believed that on one occasion a Treasury agent fired a weapon into the air late at night. Rightmyer said he confiscated that person's weapon and that every time that person returned, he would make the person surrender his weapon. [ / Rightmyer said when the agent arrived Rightmyer would demand that the agent surrender the weapon. The agent would claim he did not have a weapon, but Rightmyer would tell others to search the car, and the agent would end up handing over his weapon. The agent was interviewed and confirmed that Rightmyer would confiscate his weapon, but he denied he ever fired it at a Roundup. ]

At one point a rule banning fireworks was instituted because a group shot off fireworks all night one year. [/ In addition to the general noisiness of this activity, a bottle rocket was allegedly shot into someone's car and fireworks were said to have been set off inside the bathrooms while someone was in there. Finally, attendees reported to us that someone set off a tear gas grenade. Rightmyer became concerned that they would set the campground on fire. He imagined "300 drunks trying to get their cars out of that place and the woods burning as fast as they could," so he banned fireworks from subsequent Roundups. ] Video cameras were banned after 1990, because people complained about the presence of two video cameras that year. [ / Rightmyer could not recall who had the other camera in 1990 and we did not hear from anyone else of a second video from 1990. While we obtained still photographs from a number of years, we only obtained the Hayward video from 1990 and a second video from 1994. ] He said the rule change had nothing to do with the Hayward video from 1990, the contents of which he said he had no way of knowing. [ / We cannot say for sure, but it is unlikely that Rightmyer knew what was on Hayward's video at the time the rule was instituted, given that the video was not publicly released until 1995. ]

Rightmyer also imposed the rule that "what went on there, stayed there," because with that many "men acting like boys" people would do embarrassing things, and he wanted people not to worry about the exposure of their conduct and activities. This rule also ostensibly protected a number of married men who would come to the Roundup, meet local women at Grumpy's, and take them back to their campers, tents, or cabins for the night. Still others told their wives they were going to the Roundup, would stop by and pick up their T-shirt, and then spend the weekend elsewhere.

In 1993, a rule was instituted expressly prohibiting political activity at the Roundup and press releases about the event. These rules stemmed from Richard Hayward's bringing David Duke for President material to the 1992 Roundup and then writing an article in the July 1992 NAAWP News in which he suggested that Duke had numerous supporters at the Roundup. [ / We discuss these particular incidents at length, supra p. 90. ] Indeed, as a result of this incident, a sheet listing this rule was taped on the registration table at the 1993 Roundup, and everyone who registered was required to read it.

Several rules covered who could attend. First, persons not in law enforcement needed a law enforcement sponsor the first time they went. Second, persons were responsible for their guests. If someone brought a guest and that guest broke the rules, the sponsor was liable for the conduct of the guest. Third, due to the drinking, a rule banned drinking by persons under eighteen years of age and the admittance of anyone under twenty-one unless they were accompanied by a parent. At one point a rule prohibited women from attending, but that was revoked. We found no evidence of any rules restricting the attendance of minorities.