Welcome to RENO and the NATIONAL RENO GAY RODEO & COUNTRY FAIR!! We hope that we, the association and the city of Reno will make your visit a memorable one, that will make you want to come back again.
Our lOth ANNIVERSARY, 1985, is scheduled for AUGUST 1st-4th, 1985. And, we promise you it will be a "party" you won't want to miss!!
I would like to take this time to say THANK YOU, to ALL the workers, contestants, supporters and participants in all phases of the Rodeo. I regret that this list is too numerous to thank individually. Thanks again to all and to you the audience.
Please let me emphasize that this event is an event where you are welcome to bring your sexual preference, however, we do ask that you leave your sex behind closed aoots at your hotel or home.
As you probably already know, the PRO-FAMILY CHRISTIAN COALITION is back up to its "petition drive" to try to stop the Gay rodeo. All that I will say is that I feel it is pathetic that these so-called "good Christians" feel that only their rights are right!
The ACLU approached Joe and I a couple of years ago, asking that we be the names on a "group suit" to change the anti-gay laws of Nevada. At which time I refused stating that I felt it was unnecessary, as it had never been used against anyone. But, now, it seems that it is time that we try to get this removed from the law books.
To get back to the lighter side, I'll just conclude my message by saying that "WE ARE GLAD YOU ARE HERE!!" We hope that you will join us next August 1st-4th, for our lOth ANNIVERSARY "PARTY".
Please remember, WE WELCOME YOUR POSITIVE INPUT, suggestions, gripes, etc.
In Western Gay Pride,
I would like to take this opportunity to welcome everyone to the NINTH ANNUAL NATIONAL RENO GAY RODEO & COUNTRY FAIR, and to the BIGGEST LITTLE CITY IN THE WORLD!!
This being my fifth year as Vice President of the CGRA/NRGR, I have seen and been part of many "new" changes with the rodeo. It takes a lot of work to put on a show of this size and there are several people that you do not see visually, that make up this force. They are the people who help setup, cashiers, go-fers, behind the chutes and many too numerous to mention individually.
Last year we added two new attractions: 1) The COUNTRY DANCE FESTIVAL, headed by Mr. Ron Brewer; and 2) The NRGR HORSE SHOW, headed by Mr. Dave Wilson. I feel that they have enhanced the entire event and I'm very proud of these additions. Next year we hope to add a livestock show, featuring all kinds of cattle, sheep, poultry, etc. There's a lot of room for growth and improvement in these and all events. Each year we learn more by experience and from YOUR positive input.
This year, as with last year, we are plagued with the PRO-FAMILY CHRISTIAN COALITION trying to stop the rodeo. First, we are told that they cannot stop the rodeo, as it is our Constitutional right; The Right of Freedom of Assembly. They will be out with their petitions in hand, to get Nevada registered voters to sign. It reads in part: To deny any person or group the right to use any public facilities that break the laws of the State of Nevada. (The Consenting Adults Act states that sodomy can be practiced between people of the opposite sexes; Not between two people of the same sex. This law has never been challenged before, however, NOW, IT WILL BE, with the forming of the NEVADA GAY TASK FORCE and with the help of the AMERICAN CIVIL LIBERTIES UNION.
So, to stop the rumors before they start, the NATIONAL RENO GAY RODEO & COUNTRY FAIR will be held AUGUST 1st-4th, 1985. We are, however, asking for help and support from everyone.
Help us to make the lOth ANNIVERSARY- THE "PARTY OF THE YEAR!!"
In closing I would like to say that this year's proceeds from the MR., MS., and MISS RENO GAY RODEO CONTEST is going (all 100%) to the A.I.D.S. Foundations of San Francisco, Sacramento and Los Angeles!!
We, the COMSTOCK GAY RODEO ASSOCIATION are LOS ANGELES BOUND-SEE YA IN THE SPRING!!
The Mr., Ms. and Miss National Reno Gay Rodeo Contest was founded by CGRA/NRGR President/Founder, Phil Ragsdale, in 1977. As a way to raise money for charity, primarily the Muscular Dystrophy Association, which he, representing the Reno Gay Community, started working for in 1974.
That first donation from the Reno Gay Liberation, not knowing a better name to use at that time, donated a mere $214.00. But, it was also the first time money had ever been given in Reno or Nevada for that fact, in the name of the Gay People!
Since that time he has coordinated this contest into several cities and states. Up until this year all proceeds in each contest was given to the Muscular Dystrophy Association, however, this year each city could designate 50% to MDA and 500% to a Gay charity of their choice. The majority of those participating, chose the A.I.D.S. Foundations.
Since its inception, this contest, in several cities, has donated over $200,000 to charity. And, with the inclusion of the A.I.D.S. Foundation this year, we anticipate this goal to climb well over the $300,000 mark!!
All local winners, from each city, come to Reno, during the National Reno Gay Rodeo and vie for the titles of MR., MS., & MISS NATIONAL RENO GAY RODEO, this national competition is not based on the total monies raised, as is the local contests. But, on Western Dress; Stage Presence; Men, on Masculinity; Females, on Femininity; Drags, on Female Impersonation.
So, during the weekend, when you see these contestants/winners, you might stop them and tell them that all their hard work, in the name of Gay men and women is appreciated.
If you would like to see your city participating in this contest, contact Joe Sedlack, Post Office Box 2372, Reno, Nevada 89505 or phone 702-677-0742, for full information.
The COMSTOCK GARY RODEO ASSOCIATION / NATIONAL RENO GAY RODEO (CGRA/NRGR) will be celebrating our TENTH (lOth) ANNIVERSARY, AUGUST 1-4, 1985!!
On October 2nd, 1976, the FIRST Gay Rodeo of any type or place was held here in Reno, Nevada, and in the Livestock Pavilion of the Washoe County Fairgrounds (now called the Nevada State Fairgrounds), founded and produced by Phil Ragsdale, now President of the CGRA/NRGR.
The first year rodeo had 125 people in attendance and through the direction of Phil Ragsdale, he asked the committee workers to "make it colorful" and colorful it was! there were male clowns, female clowns and drag clowns galore.
The rodeo "logo" was drawn by Dick Wells with this to represent "fun" and not sexual. The logo received some flack from those who found it "degrading to Gays," but each time a logo has been submitted it was "too sexual" or "too one sided" for what Phil always has felt that the rodeo should represent. That being an event that is "fun" for ALL; Male, Female and "Drag" (for those not knowing the term "drag", that is a female impersonator, and as you will notice, something that has virtually been self eliminated). However, Phil would never "consider" barring the "lesbian or drag" from the rodeo as many "Macho Gay Males", whatever in the hell, he states, that is!! As he has always said, "there are too many definitions of the term MACHO!!" And, as he well remembers, there would not have been a gay rodeo, had it not been for the lesbian and drags, the first two years. As they made up a very big part of it. And, they continued/continue to participate.
Although, some good always seems to come from the "negative" and here again that is what happened. Phil tried to think of an "event" that would put the three together as a team; Guy, Gal and Drag. That's when he came up with the idea of the WILD COW MILKING CONTEST. An event that is by far the favorite of a majority of the rodeo spectators. If this is your first visit to the rodeo, here is how it works:
There are eight (8) cows herded into the chutes, where ropes are attached to their necks and thrown over the chute gates to the Lesbian contestants who are standing out front. They will in turn grab a hold of the rope and get ready to try to hold that "beast" back when she comes out of the chute. The "drag" will be standing a little further out from the chutes and "in a wig and dress" must "mug" (that means to steady it by grasping it around the neck). Then when this is done the Male must "milk" the cow, getting at "least two drops of milk into the cup" and then racing to the arena judge. This declares the winning "team". Sounds simple, doesn't it? Well, just watch what happens when 8 onory cows, 8 cowgirls, 8 drags and 8 cowboys collide in the arena at once!!
Anyway, to get back to next year's lOth Anniversary, the CGRA/NRGR is planning a "spectacular" of events!! TEN (10) of the COUNTRY'S TOP STARS on the same stage, on the same evening!! FOUR (4) EXCITING DAYS/EVENINGS OF STARS AND ENTERTAINMENT!! FOUR DAYS OF RODEO AND HORSE SHOW EVENTS!! A GIANT FIREWORKS DISPLAY!! CARNIVAL RIDES!! BOOTHS!! PLUS MUCH MORE!!
One way to start this lOth Anniversary off, will be a drawing of 125 names from the barrel at the front gate (125 represents the number in attendance, the first year) and those 125 people will be able to, buy their 1985 NATIONAL RENO GAY RODEO FOUR DAY PACKAGE for the 1976 PRICE OF $5.00 EACH!! These names will be drawn Sunday evening and announced/notified of their eligibility to purchase these lOth Anniversary tickets.
The CGRA/NRGR would like to take this time to say THANK YOU, to all of you who have supported the NATIONAL RENO GAY RODEO over the years either through attendance and/or sponsorship!! Again our thanks to you!!
We encourage you to support these sponsors, whether they are here in Reno or during your travels during the year to the other cities where they are located.
They are "valuable" people to all of us!! Give them your support. And we hope that you will make yours plans now to join us for our lOth Anniversary PARTY!! (What a party it's going to be!!)
Make sure that you fill out your drawing stubs and deposit them, not only for the drawing but this will also add you to our 1985 mailing list.
We hope that your visit to Reno and the rodeo will be a memorable event!!
The Parker brothers, Harry and Mush, have been a "real" part of the history of Reno, having started Parker's Western Wear over 60 years ago. It's one of the finest Western wear stores in Nevada, with customers traveling from all parts of the United States to shop. They carry the "most complete" lines of finer western wear than you can find anywhere else. Plus, the entire staff is always friendly and helpful.
The Stetson Hat Company honored the Parker's by introducing a "Parker Stetson", for all their years of quality in sales.
They have been an intricate part of this community, both business and civics, too numerous to list. Both Harry and Mush have served and still serve on the World Famous RENO RODEO Board.
A finer bunch of people or store, you won't find!! Stop by and check it out for yourself. They're located at 155 North Sierra, just one-half block south of the Hilton Hotel.
They have been supporters of the NATIONAL RENO GAY RODEO for the past 7 years and due to circumstances, they have received "mixed" reactiorts for this, but that has never made them quaver. In fact, in 1981 they were the FIRST business, etc.., to put up a banner saying, "WELCOME RENO GAY RODEO"!!
Friends like them are hard to come by. We, at the NRGR, say THANKS!!
BUDWEISER, THIS BEER'S FOR YOU!!
The Official NRGR Beer-Morrey Distributing Company
Joe Morrey, the owner of Morrey Distributing Company of Reno, has been the Budweiser distributor for 27 years. And, he has been a supporter of the NRGR since its inception in 1976.
Joe Morrey, now semi-retired, was the only distributor who would furnish beer for that very first rodeo. The other dist ri butors literally "laughed" Phil out of their offices when he mentioned a "gay rodeo" and said they didn't want any part of it. Phil approached Mr. Morrey, somewhat reluctantly and said he "needed beer for an event". Joe simply said, "When?" and "How much?" Then, Phil, feeling more at ease, told Mr. Morrey that it was for a "Gay Rodeo". Joe looked up at him with a smile on his face and in his voice and said, "Phil, I don't care who drinks my beer!! " . That was the start of what Phil considers "a best fr iend and businessman."
Mr. Morrey told Phil and Joe a story of his beer business history and we feel that you'll enjoy it, so here it is.
Joe Morrey was Vice President of Hamms Brewing for some twenty years, working for the other man and finally he decided he wanted to be a distributor himself. His boss, a little Italian "man, just couldn't figure this out and kept asking Joe, "Why?". Finally one day the boss called Joe into his office. As Joe entered, the little Italian man was writing out a check. He looked up at Joe and said, "Hey, Joe, how do you spell tho'sand?" Joe looked at him and said, "THAT'S WHY I WANT TO OWN MY OWN DISTRIBUTORSHIP! " And then spelled thousand for him.
Joe Morrey has and still is an active member of the RENO RODEO. And, is always working with community services in the area.
The NRGR would like to say THANKS to Joe Morrey and Morrey Distributing Company for all their years of support.
So, drink up cowboys and cowgirls 'cause THIS BUD'S FOR YOU!!
AIDS Ambulance Service has been providing the ambulance and first aid for the NRGR for the past eight years. And, last year with the widely publicized attention that A.I.D.S. has received, the AIDS Ambulance Service has become the "brunt" of many A.I.D.S. "jokes".
The picture above, appeared in the March issue of HUSTLER magazine. AIDS Ambulance has even experienced instances of patients refusing to ride in their ambulance, for "fear of catching A.I.D.S."!! This type of ignorance and/or bigotry is ridiculous.
One "joke" that surfaced, here locally, was "Why is Reno the only city with a Gay Rodeo?" Because they're the only city with an AIDS ambulance. The entire staff has had to enlist "fast come-backs" to the comments that they receive. For example: A man walked up to the uniformed ambulance attendant in a local supermarket and said, "Do YOU have A.I.D.S.?" To which the attendant replied "YES, we're the West Coast distributors!!" The A.I.D.S. disease is in no way a laughing matter and the "jokes" and ridicule that has resulted for both victims and this business are senseless.
AIDS Ambulance Service is staffed by some of the most qualified personnel in their field. We are very satisfied to just have them in attendance and never use their services, but feel confident that should their services be required that "patient" will know that they are in the best of care.
TO HELP YOU, THE SPECTATOR, UNDERSTAND THE RODEO BETTER, HERE ARE THE RULES/SCORING FOR EACH EVENT;
1. BAREBACK BRONC RIDING:
Rider must stay on the bronc for the full six (6) seconds. At the end of six (6) seconds, the horn will sound. Riders will be scored 1-25 points on their ride and 1-25 points on the bronc's bucking. These points are combined, by two (2) judges. A "perfect score" would be one hundred (100) points.
At the judges discretion, a rider can be given a "re-ride". All riders must ride with one free hand, at all times. Should their free hand touch the stock, this will result in disqualification of rider.
2. BULL RIDING:
Rider must stay on the bull for the full six (6) seconds. At the end of six (6) seconds, the horn will sound. Riders will be scored 1-25 points on their ride and 1-25 points on the bull's bucking. These points are combined, by two (2) judges. A "perfect score" would be one hundred (100) points.
At the judges discretion, a rider can be given a "re-ride". All riders must ride with one free hand, at all times. Should their free hand touch the stock, this will result in disqualification of rider.
3. COW RIDING:
Rider must stay on the cow for the full six (6) seconds. At the end of six (6) seconds, the horn will sound. Riders will be scored 1-25 points on their ride and 1-25 points on the cow's bucking. These points are combined, by two (2) judges. A "perfect score" would be one hundred (100) points.
At the judges discretion, a rider can be given a "re-ride". All riders must ride with one hand free, at all times. Should their free hand touch the stock, this will result in disqualification of rider.
4. CALF ROPING: MOUNTED/ BREAK-AWAY:
Each roper will be allowed two (2) loops, (must carry a second rope) but may motion the judges signifying he/she does not wish to take the "second loop".
Break-away means that the roper only has to rope the calf, around the neck, and does not have to "throw and tie" the calf. A loop not securely around the neck (head) will result in a five (5) point penalty.
Calf roping is a stop watch timed event.
5. BARREL RACING:
Contestant must circle three (3) barrels, in a cloverleaf pattern. Cloverleaf may be started from either the right or left barrel. Any barrel knocked over will result in a five (5) second penalty.
Barrel racing is a stop watch timed event.
6. BARREL RACING "CLASSIC":
This event is for the experienced rider and horse. The rider will ride his horse to the arena judge and stop; there he/ she must calm their horse; the arena judge will give him/ her the "go" signal; rider will take their horse through the cloverleaf pattern, same as described above; barrel racing, ride back to the arena judge and stop; once again settling their horse down. The arena judge will drop his flag, to motion the time to stop, when the horse has been settled down.
Barrel racing "classic" is a stop watch timed event. Timing starts at the barrier, as in regular barrel racing and continues until the arena judge drops his flag.
7. STEER DECORATING:
Steers are released from the chutes, with ropes attached to their neck and one (1) contestant holding on to the rope. It is the second contestant of the team's job to secure a ribbon onto the steer's tail. Then race to the arena judge and slap his hand. (Ribbon must stay secured on the steer's tail or this will result indisqualification. Ropers are required to remove the rope from around the steer's neck after the ribbon has been secured.)
This event is a group event; there will be eight (8) steers turned out of the chutes; eight (8) ropers and eight (8) ribbon tiers. Steer decorating is a stop watch timed event.
8. WILD COW MILKING CONTEST:
(This event was founded by President/ Founder Phil Ragsdale, as an event to have the gay men/lesbian women and "drag" (female impersonators) compete together as a "team".)
There will be eight (8) cows released from the chutes, with ropes around their necks and the lesbians will hang on to the ropes; the "drags" must stand at least ten (10) feet in front of the chutes and "mug" /grab the cow around the neck and try to secure it; after the cow has been secured by the two forementioned, it is the gay men's job to milk, at least two (2) drops of milk from the cow, into their cup and race to the arena judge, standing in front of the main grandstands.
Any milker whose cup gets near his mouth will be disqualified. Wild cow miling contest is a stop wateR timed event.
9. BULL DOGGING (MEN ONLY):
There must be a hazer and a bull dogger; the hazer's job is to keep the steer going in a straight line between him and the bull dogger; it's the "dogger's" job to slide from his horse onto the steer's neck, then wrestle the steer by the neck, flipping it to the ground, flipping it in the same direction as he is pulling on the neck.
There is a maximum time limit of sixty (60) seconds.
Bull dogging is a stop watch timed event.
10. RIBBON BULL DOGGING (WOMEN ONLY):
There must be a hazer and a "dogger"; the hazer's job is to keep the steer going in a straight line between her/ him and the "dogger"; it's the "dogger's" job to remove the ribbonˇ from the steer's neck.
Ribbon bull dogging is a stop watch timed event. There is a maximum time of sixty (60) seconds.
11. TEAM ROPING:
The team consists of a header and a heeler; the header must rope the head of the steer and the heeler must rope the steer's rear heels.
A total of three (3) loops are permitted between the "team". There is a five (5) second penalty for roping the neck.
Team roping is a stop watch timed event.
It all started on East Commercial Row, just off Virginia Street in 1917 when Greek immigrant Pete Cladianos, Sr. opened the Economy Market. His business flourished and he purchased five slot machines when gambling was legalized in 1931. By 1944, Cladianos had built his company into the largest distributor of coin operated machines in the entire state before selling the company with intentions of retiring. Retirement did not suit Cladianos who purchased Farley's Auto Court on South Virginia Street, added 30 units and renamed the property El Rancho Motel South. He later built and operated the 82 unit El Rancho North at the corner of Fourth and Wells.
In 1965 his children, Pete, Jr. and Katherene Johnson Latham opened the 79 unit Plaza Court and in 1970 added the 24 unit Plaza Tower enabling them to obtain an unlimited gambling license. In 1979 the 299 unit Sands Regency Tower opened making the total number of rooms 402.
On December 23, 1983 the 17 story, 268 room Empress Tower welcomed its first guests. The $8 million tower features some of Reno's finest hotel rooms including 10 mini suites and four penthouse suites, a complete health club for guests with an oversized Jacuzzi, sauna, steam room, massage facilities and exercise room.
In February the Sands Reno sought approval from the Reno City Council to build a 35 story, 736 room hotel tower on the corner of Ralston and Third Streets. Construction is expected to start in 18-24 months and would take the total number of rooms to 1,404-making the Sands Reno the second largest hotel/casino in Northern Nevada. It would be the largest family owned and operated hotel/casino in the entire state.
The Sands Reno is proud to be the Headquarters Hotel for the 1984 National Reno Gay Rodeo and welcomes all its participants and fans.
Phil Ragsdale, President/Founder of the Comstock Gay Rodeo Association/NATIONAL RENO GAY RODEO
Since 1976 when I founded the idea "gay rodeo", here in Reno, Nevada, there have been a few others who decided to start a "gay rodeo" in their own areas. Although all earlier ones never seemed to get off the ground, for one reason or another. People do not realize the hours of manpower required to do such an event.
There was the guy from L.A., who called to inform me that he was doing a "gay rodeo" in the L.A. area and he was going to "show everyone" how to do it. He then added that "the reason I'm calling you is to TELL YOU, that I'm coming to Reno to get your books!!" Well, as you can probably guess, I didn't say anything. But, I awaited his visit to tell him that there was NO BOOKS to show how to put a rodeo on, as such!! He went to at least 35 of the L.A. bars and got them to "put up $500.00 each" and then disappeared as time drew near for the "NEW BREED RODEO," as it was called, and was scheduled to be.
Then the San Francisco Pacific Coast Gay Rodeo Association was formed by a group and headed by Grey Saunders. Once again several "sponsors" contributed money and worker "time". And, once again it never came to be. This was truthfully unfortunate for several "serious minded" people who worked very hard to help it come off and were never able to see this dream come true. In its inception and shortly thereafter, the rumors started that Reno had been cancelled, etc., thus creating a "problem" for us, on top of the problem that we were experiencing in 1981 from a local County Commissioner, Belli Williams, who wanted the "gay rodeo" stopped in Reno. (He now presides as Chairman of the Washoe County Commissioners.)
Then several other areas announced that they were starting "gay rodeos", but either through "lack of knowledge", "too expensive" or "too much work" these were dropped.
Then Denver Colorado announced that they were putting on a gay rodeo and the CGRA was formed. And, this past June, they completed their 2nd rodeo. Now, Houston, Texas has announced the plans for a "gay rodeo" to be held this coming winter.
I personally wish all of them the "best of luck!!" and I will continue to get to the nitty-gritty of this whole thing, is just to say that we have always and will always wish any/all serious gay rodeo associations the "best". But, at the same time, I think that the bad mouthing, to try to make themselves, whoever they may be, look better should stop. We all preach "unity" and we are all guilty of not practicing this.
I feel that the rodeo issue and this "unity" were subjects that needed to be addressed at this time.
If, as most of these people claim, there is room for more gay rodeos, which I also agree with, WHO DOES THIS PETTY B---S--- HAVE TO EXIST?? (Reno's been cancelled; Tearing down of posters; etc.)