Texas Gay Rodeo Association (Gay Organization)
Phone: 214 346-2107
Group: Join this group for more up to date information.
Gay Rodeo! Who would have ever thought of those two words together in the same sentence? In 1976, only one man: Phil Ragsdale, the Imperial Court Emperor of Reno, Nevada. He held the very first gay rodeo in America to raise money for the Jerry Lewis Labor Day Telethon for Muscular Dystrophy.
For nine years that rodeo flourished. By the fifth year, Texans had heard about it and arrived with serious competition for All Around Cowboy and Miss National Reno Gay Rodeo, raising $40-thousand along the way.
It was about that same time that Walter Strickler - the owner of a Houston bar called The Barn - became interested. He called up Gary Miller - now co-owner of The Roundup Saloon in Dallas. He said, Gary you gotta see this thing. So off they went to Reno.
So excited were they with all they saw that they decided then and there to form a chapter in Texas. This was the era of the Urban Cowboy and Texans were ready to Cowboy Up! Already Colorado had formed the first Gay Rodeo Association. By 1983, CGRA had held its first rodeo, and Texas was rearing to go!
The first TGRA meetings were hosted by Jim Pollock at the Hidden Door. Then at a statewide meeting held during Houston’s Gay Pride Celebration, the Texas Gay Rodeo Association was officially formed. November 1984 was the date selected for Texas’ first rodeo. Simonton, 35 miles outside Houston, was to be the site.
That first rodeo led to a string of successes. Thousands of members have passed through the rolls of TGRA Chapters. An estimated $2-million have been raised over the years and donated to mostly AIDS-related charities. This month, each of TGRA’s five chapters will once again write checks to designated local charities totaling more than $50-thousand. And this fall, TGRA will host its 24th annual rodeo.
But the highlight of the year is bound to be the 24th Anniversary Rodeo in Austin the third weekend in September. Contestants and spectators from all over Texas will converge on the Capital City Rodeo for a weekend of rodeo and celebration. Mr TGRA, Miss TGRA and Ms TGRA will be crowned after a Thursday night competition. Rodeo organizers are hoping for a gathering of many of the past All-Around Cowboys and All-Around Cowgirls. That’s the title awarded to the contestant who scores the most points throughout the weekend of competition. As always, the rodeo itself will provide lots of extreme excitement! From bucking bulls and broncs, to high-speed barrel racing, to the fun and games of the Wild Drag Race. Officials are hoping for their largest attendance yet.
After 24 years, it’s clear: nobody knows how to combine Gay and Rodeo like Texas!
For more information about the Capital City Rodeo, or about TGRA in general, visit www.tgra.org or call the Rodeo Hotline at 214 346-2107.
And don’t forget about the Cowtown Rodeo 2008, the first weekend in March 2008 in Fort Worth, Texas