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The Villages
Saturday, February 24, 2024

Sumter County shuts down rowdy rodeo that upset rural neighbors

A noisy rodeo last month in Sumterville prompted Sumter County commissioners Tuesday night to retroactively revoke a permit for the rowdy event.

Neighbors said the rodeo drove them out of their homes and loud music played until 3 a.m. the following day, way past the county’s 10 p.m. noise deadline. Sheriff’s deputies responded twice to noise complaints.

Although the Oct. 21 rodeo is over, County Attorney Jennifer Rey said revoking the permit could influence future permit applications.

Peter DeAbreu and his business partner, Maria Solano-Herrera, requested a public hearing on the permit revocation.

Both speak Spanish and the hearing lasted two hours because an interpreter from the 911 center was tapped to translate both English and Spanish via cell phone.

They want to hold another rodeo Dec. 19, but did not file another permit application by the time of the meeting.

Rey said DeAbreu is not prohibited from applying for another event permit, but the application could be rejected or saddled with more conditions due to the revocation.

During Tuesday’s hearing, DeAbreu said he made a mistake and asked for a second chance.

Commissioners were not sympathetic.

“The first time the Sumter County Sheriff’s Office responded was your second chance,” said Commissioner Don Wiley. “I don’t see any reason to give you an opportunity for another violation.”

Through the interpreter, Solano-Herrera said the rodeo was a way to celebrate Latin American culture. She said a goal was for children, including some afflicted with autism, the enjoy the animals.

“We are committed to fulfill the norms established by the county,” she said. “We don’t want to create a conflict between us and the county.”

Linda Siemer, who lives in the six-home neighborhood, said the loud music raised her blood pressure and drove her and her husband out of their home. She said DeAbreu visited her after the event.

We told him it was awful and we don’t want it to happen again,” she said. “We live in a great family community.”

Christina Eldridge said she saw men urinating along the driveway, which DeAbreu disputed because he had port-potties available.

“Every time the police were called, they would turn the music down for approximately 10 minutes, then turn it back up,” Eldridge said.

Other speakers told commissioners that DeAbreu and Solano-Herrera should have another chance.

“Yes, they had a party,” said Michael Benitez. “Yes, they went past the deadline. But we all deserve a second chance.”

Rick Anderson, a nearby farmer, said the music noise was not unique. He said his tractor shakes windows when he starts it up.

“The man deserves a second chance,” he said. “If he screws up again, then shut him down.”

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