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Chicago Mayor's ‘Census Cowboy’ Hits Trail to Stir Up More Response

By Craig Bannister | July 14, 2020 | 10:48am EDT
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“Holy hell, you really did this,” nationally-syndicated conservative radio host Dana Loesch replied Monday after Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot tweeted video of herself donning a cowboy hat and introducing “The Dread Head Cowboy” at a local speaking engagement.

Mayor Lightfoot’s tweet rebranded the local celebrity cowboy as “the Census Cowboy” in order to rustle up more response to the 2020 Census:

“Giddy up, Chicago. I'm calling on the Census Cowboy to help improve our Census response rates across Chicago. Make the Census Cowboy proud by filling out the Census today at http://my2020census.gov.”

Following in the footsteps of its poor showing in 2010, Chicago’s 2020 Census response rate is currently 55%, and less than 40% in some South and West neighborhoods.

So, on Monday, Lightfoot trotted out a dreadlocked 33 year-old former boxer who has become a local celebrity, known as “The Dread Head Cowboy,” that Lightfoot has recruited to ride through poorly-responding areas, The Chicago Sun Times reports:

“So on Monday, Lightfoot gave that dismal effort a “C” grade, donned a cowboy hat, and asked the ‘Dread Head Cowboy’ to ride to the rescue of a 2020 U.S. Census response that will determine federal funding to Chicago for the next decade.

“In rode Adam Hollingsworth on horseback to the tune of “Old Town Road,” by Lil Nas X.

“The 33-year-old former boxer is expected to spend the next week riding through 10 South and West Side wards where response is lowest, with the goal of boosting census participation.”

While the Dread Head Cowboy became a social media hit on May 30 when he rode in a Chicago Loop protest of the death of George Floyd that resulted in riots, looting and clashes with police, he says the city has “a lot of good cops” and he was there trying to be a positive influence, the Sun Times reported in its coverage of the event:

“Hollingsworth said he has a positive relationship with many police officers he encounters on his frequent rides. ‘We have a lot of good cops,’ he said. ‘We have a lot, even though we see a lot of people giving them hell, and they do the best they can in that situation.’

When the initially peaceful Loop protest May 30 turned violent as looters raided storefronts and clashed with police, Hollingsworth said his first instinct was to leave.

“’I’m not out here for looting and rioting,’ he said. ‘I’m out here trying to bring positive back.’”

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