By Ed Martinez
Simonton, 35 miles west of Houston, hosted "Roundup '84" Nov. 3-4. Cowboys and cowgirls aplenty turned out for this first gay rodeo in the Lone Star State.
TGRA, Texas Gay Rodeo Association, had been planning for the event for two years, according to Terry Clark, state president of the group. For about five years now, Texas has to eat Reno's dust, watching Reno, Nevada, walk off with all the national publicity for its gay rodeo. No more.
About. 3000 people showed up in Simonton, a sleepy little town, for the weekend events. Things kicked off Friday night, and continued through the weekend, winding up at the Holiday Inn on the Southwest Freeway in Houston with a Kenny Dale concert.
Sunday night was highlighted with the awards presentation. All Around Cowgirl was captured by Laura Lee of San Antonio. Dave Vickers of California was selected All Around Cowboy. Outstanding State Member was Buzz Mills, Houston. Outstanding Dallas Member was David Miller. Outsta:Qding Fort Worth Member was ,Gerald Ford, no relation to the expresident. Outstanding Houston Member was Scott Miller. And Outstanding San Antonio Member was George Gorman.
Larry Bagneris, well-known gay activist from Houston, was elected Grand Marshall of the First Texas Gay Rodeo. Lee Kittelson from Denver was chosen Mr. Texas Gay Rodeo; Laura Lee, San Antonio, was picked Ms. Texas Gay Rodeo; and "Pauletta Leigh," San Antonio, was selected Miss Texas Gay Rodeo.
All told, the contestants for the top spots at the rodeo raised approximately $30,000 for the event. Top fundraiser for the event was Cliff Decker, bartender at Mary's in Houston, who raised over $9000.
The atmosphere at the rodeo was relaxed and typically Texan, that is, friendly. Visitors mingled with one another and everyone seemed to have a good time.
Officers chosen for 1984-85 were treasurer, Walter Strickler, Houston; secretary, Gerald Ford, Fort Worth; vice president, Gary Miller, Dallas; and president, Terry Clark, Houston.