In 1963 the Round Up was built on FM (Farm Road) 1093. It was a large indoor rodeo arena in full swing every Saturday night, drawing people from Houston and elsewhere. It is a favorite spot to bring visitors to the Houston area for a taste of the "real west". It seems that the Simonton rodeo has been listed as a tourist attraction in Houston Chambers of Commerce literature. When China's strong man, Deputy Premier Teng Hsiao-P'ing visited the United States in 1979, the stop he enjoyed the most, according to some news reports, was the evening he spent in Simonton at the rodeo.
Obtained from the Simonton town website
Our society is blessed with a number of rare individuals who avoid center stage, who, instead of seeking the spotlight quietly lead useful lives and constantly serve their fellow human beings.
In the late sixties a gay bar opened near the Shamrock that brought a refreshing air of refinement to Houston's gay bar scene. It was, and still is, frequented by ladies and gentlemen who enjoy the comfortable, well-behaved atmosphere of the place. Shortly after its debut the business was purchased by a gentleman ideally suited to maintaining the conviviality and respectability of the bar. This he has done for many years.
In addition to conducting the business he has unobtrusively engaged in many activities to benefit the gay community.
In 1978 he methodically toured the bars with the president of GPC to encourage business support of Town Meeting One, the predecessor of Houston's annual Gay Pride Week celebrations.
His support of the Montrose Sports Association is unmatched by any other gay business owner in Houston.
He has served well on the State Board of Directors of the Texas Gay Rodeo Association, paying his own expenses to attend out'of-town functions where the presence of board members was called for.
T.G.R.A. has been fortunate to have had the services of this man during our first year of operation. We feel that this, the souvenir edition of the program of the First Annual Texas Gay Rodeo, should be issued in his honor. It is with much love and respect that we dedicate this program to Jerry Kauffman.
To several of the owners of gay bars in Houston and San Antonio the words "gay rodeo" are synonymous with "raising money for charity". In 1981 the two cities-participating in the contests for Mr., Ms., Miss National Reno Gay Rodeo-raised over $17,000 for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. Similar participation in 1982 resulted in the two cities raising over $36,000 for MDA. In 1983 the Colorado Gay Rodeo Association staged the first annual Rocky Mountain Regional Rodeo and used the contest for grand marshal of the rodeo as a means of raising money for local gay charities. That year Texas chose to abandon Reno for Denver, and the two Texas cities, in 1983, raised over $31,000 for such organizations as the KS/ AIDS Foundation, the Montrose Clinic, the Montrose Counseling Center, the Montrose Guest Recovery House, and Gay Switchboard Houston.
The gay communities in Texas and throughout the country have many worthwhile organizations which depend largely on contributions in order to exist. Consequently the gay population is constantly besieged with requests for donations. After the 1983 Colorado rodeo a number of the Texas business owners who had sponsored contestants in the Reno and Colorado rodeos decided that the number of charity fund-raisers could be reduced and more money could be raised by concentrating each year on their own Mr., Ms., Miss Texas Gay Rodeo contests. Obviously this necessitated an annual Texas Gay Rodeo and an association to stage it. That association was therefore formed in July, 1983. T.G.R.A., the Texas Gay Rodeo Association, on July 29, 1983, received official certification from the State of Texas as a non-profit corporation whose purpose is "to raise monies for gay charities through an annual rodeo".
T.G.R.A. is a statewide organization consisting of a state board of directors and individual chapters throughout the state. Currently chapters, each with its own officers including a member of the state board, are active in Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, and San Antonio. Interest has been shown to form more chapters in Austin, Corpus Christi, and Galveston. Each chapter, in addition to conducting fund-raisers to keep the association itself solvent, encourages fund-raisers in conjunction with the Mr., Ms., Miss Texas Gay Rodeo contest and encourages participation in the annual rodeo itself. whether in the performing arena or behind the scenes.
T.G.R.A. exists solely to raise money for qualified (preferably gay) charities. The main fund-raising effort each year will be conducted in conjunction with the contest to determine the royalty to preside at the annual rodeo: Mr., Ms., and Miss Texas Gay Rodeo. Sponsors (usually gay bars) select contestants for these titles. Each contestant selects one or more charities for which to raise money. Sponsors assist their contestants in staging fund-raising events. All money raised goes directly to the charities (none to T.G.R.A.) as it is raised. Profits from the rodeo will be distributed to all of the charities proportional to the percentage raised for each charity of the total amount raised in the royalty contests.
One of the criteria for determining the winners in the royalty contest will be the amount of money raised. Each contestant must present documented proof of funds raised: photostat of a check payable to the charity, copy of a cashiers check, valid receipt from the charity. Other criteria for determining the three winners are western attire, personality, talent. and horsemanship.
Lawrence (Larry) Bagneris, Jr.
Shortly after the formation of T.G.R.A., the state board of directors decided to name a grand marshal for each annual rodeo. The person selected each year should be someone who has contributed considerably to the gay community. Selection is determined by allowing three votes each to individual chapters and board members. Winner of the honor for the first rodeo is Larry Bagneris of Houston.
Larry is probably best known for his activities in Houston's Gay Political Caucus, which he served as VicePresident in 1979 and 1980 and as President from 1982 to 1984. He chaired Houston Gay Pride Week from 1980 until just recently, and is the founder of Houston's Gay Pride Parade, which he has served as Chairman from 1979 to the present.
A 1970 graduate of Xavier Catholic University, Larry is also a graduate of the Texas State Board of Insurance and is a 15-year veteran of a National Insurance Corporation.
He co-founded Houston's Gay Hispanic Caucus in 1978, was an Eastern Region co-ordinator and board member of the Texas Gay Task Force in 1978, and was an organizer of the National March on Washington for Lesbian/ Gay Rights in 1978. Since 1979 he has been an Executive Board Member and Treasurer of the National Gay Task Force.
He has been a delegate to precinct, district, and state Democratic conventions in 1978, 1980, 1982 and 1984. He was the first openly gay delegate elected from Texas to the National Democratic Convention in New York City in 1980.
Larry received the Harvey Milk Award in 1982 from Christopher Street West in Los Angeles; received the Outstanding Young Men in America Award in 1980 from the Houston Junior Chamber of Commerce; was selected one of the top ten gay leaders in America in 1983 by New York Native; was the key note speaker for the 1984 Christopher Street Association, New York City, Gay Pride Rally; was included in The Advocate's 1984 list of 400 outstanding American gay men and lesbians; and was named one of the country's ten most influential gays in 1983 by Guide Magazine (Denver).
T.G.R.A. is honored to have Larry Bagneris as the Grand Marshal of the first Texas Gay Rodeo.
Stella Parton was born in Sevier County, Tennessee, in the midst of a cross section of music styles and songs of truth and life. With her twelve brothers and sisters, her parents, aunts and uncles, Stella sang gospel, country, traditional mountain music, bluegrass and rock 'n' roll.
Stella and two of her brothers sang on dozens of radio shows and did commercial jingles in East Tennessee. She played the autoharp and guitar while writing and performing her own songs. After high school, she began a musical journey that has taken her around the world.
Stella's career drew national attention when, on her own label, she released the album, I Wanna Hold You in my Dreams, from which she had an amazing four hit singles. The title tune went straight to #7 in Billboard and the other three soon followed to hit the top of the charts.
With the success and attention from the hit album and singles, Stella Parton was signed to Elektra Records. She recorded four albums with the label, Country Sweet. Stella Parton, Love Ya, and The Best of ... which included the hit singles, Standard Lie Number One, I'm Not That Good at Good byes and Undercover Lovers. She drew the attention of talented Commodore member Milan Williams, who produced her next album, So Far So Good on Townhouse/ Accord Records.
Stella has done guest spots on national TV shows including The Mike Douglas Show, Merv Griffith I Show, Hee Haw, The Today Show, Good Morning America, Intertainment Tonight and Dukes of Hazzard. She also appeared on Kick Clark's American Music Awards Show. She performed in the movie Solid Gold and on the TV show, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.
Stella, a very versatile entertainer, accepted the challenge as the lead role in the touring company of The Best Little Whore House in Texas. She received rave reviews wherever they appeared.
Stella has received many of the music industry's top awards. These include Record World's New Artist of the Year and The Most Promising International Act (Wemble Festival)- and nominations for Most Promising New Female Vocalist (Music City News) and Most Promising Female Vocalist (Academy of Country Music). The American Cancer Society named Stella their Country Music Ambassador. Pennsylvania proclaimed her Honorary Ambassador of Country. The Governor of Texas made her an Honorary Texan and the Citizens for Retarded Children of Louisiana made her an Honorary Louisianian.
Stella Parton delivers an exciting vocal performance, a variety of musical styles and an actionpacked stage show. Her straight-forward wit and her natural charm generate a refreshing approach to entertainment.
Born in Artesia, New Mexico and now hailing from Houston, Texas, this vibrant entertainer ventilates his energy to show he will be a victor in country music. With his unique, dynamic voice, he possesses a rare charisma that holds an audience spellbound.
He first recorded a remake of the hit Patches followed by Somebody Help Me Get to Houston. Then in 1974, he recorded a song that was found lying around at Soundmasters Studio, written by W. Wimberly nd produced by A.V. Mittelstedt. Capitol Records, impressed with this blond, blue eyed Texan, bought the master and released Bluest Heartache of the Year which brought Kenny national recognition as a country vocalist. It hit the country charts, and climbing steadily, came to rest in position #11 in Billboard Magazine. It remained on the charts for more than a quarter of the year.
Since then, his vivacious singing style has brought him hit singles such as Shame, Shame On Me Red Hot Memory, The Loser, Two Hearts Tangled in Love, Down to Earth Woman. Only Love Can Break A Heart, (hitting the Top Ten Charts at #7) Sharing, Let Me In, and his latest single Thank You Ever Lovin. And to date, three great albums Bluest Heartache, Red Hot Memory and Only Love Can Break A Heart.
Kenny has traveled from state to state, while his records have been aired to country music lovers all over the United States, Canada, Germany, New Zealand, United Kingdom, and even South Africa. His talents have been well awarded by the news media, with articles appearing in Music City News, Country Song Roundup, and Country Music News. Music City News readers nominated him as "Most Promising New Male Artist of 1978". Billboard, Cashbox, and Record World proclaimed that he's definitely not a passing thing, but a man loaded with talent. And he was nominated "Most Promising Male Entertainer of 1978", by the Country Music Association.
He has performed on the Grand Ole Opry, That Nashville Music, Capitol Records showcases for the Disc Jockey Convention, Fan Fair Convention in Nashville, The Bilie Jo Spears Benefit for the Mentally Retarded, many benefits and fund raising events and concerts and clubs across the United States.
The Spanish word for "roundup" is "rodeo". The events that we witness today in a rodeo performance are exercises in the skills in rounding up cattle and handling livestock that working cowboys have had to master ever since the days of the cattle drives in the middle of the nineteenth century.
Prior to the annual drives roundups were necessary to separate cattle according to the ranches to which they belonged. Calves had to be roped and branded; cattle needing doctoring had to be roped; wild horses had to be saddle-broken.
As a result of the rivalry among ranches contests between top hands of neighboring ranches began. These naturally led to betting and ultimately to formally staged contests- rodeos. The first to charge admission is believed to have been held in Arizona about twenty years after the Civil War. Today rodeos are held throughout the country. Professional performers make the rodeo circuit competing for cash prizes that are considerable.
Within the last decade the country's gay community has adopted rodeos as an enjoyable sport. an excellent way to provide fantastic social weekends, and an efficient way to raise money for worthwhile causes.
On October 2, 1976, the first gay rodeo anywhere was held in Reno, Nevada in the Livestock Pavilion of what is now the Nevada State Fairgrounds. Phil Ragsdale, now President of the Comstock Gay Rodeo Association/National Reno Gay Rodeo conceived the idea of a gay rodeo and prevailed, in spite of prejudiced livestock providers who refused to rent their animals to a gay group, to find livestock and stage a rodeo attended by 125 people.
In spite of the poor turnout the first year, the National Reno Gay Rodeo has prospered and become a yearly must for thousands of attendees. Time Ma~azine had a writeup of the rodeo in 1979.
In the latter part of 1982 the Colorado Gay Rodeo Association, which has been an active participant in the Reno Rodeo, decided to institute regional gay rodeos. The first Rocky Mountain Regional Rodeo was held outside of Denver in early June, 1983, in spite of rain and near-freezing temperatures. The second RMR Rodeo was held in June this year, with much better weather, good attendance, and much enthusiasm on the part of attendees and the host bars in Denver.
Texas, which has developed good rapport with Denver, started the second regional gay rodeo association by forming the Texas Gay Rodeo Association in July, 1983. This the first annual Texas Gay Rodeo, culminates the efforts of T.G.R.A. to date.
In July, 1984, the formation of the Golden State Gay Rodeo Association was announced in Los Angeles. Membership is comprised primarily of people from Los Angeles and Long Beach. G.S.G.R.A. hopes to hold its first rodeo in Los Angeles in the spring of 1985.
In late September, 1983, the Gay Men's 11ealth Crisis, a New York group, bought out the Saturday night performance of the World's Toughest Rodeo in Madison Square Garden and resold the tickets as a fundraiser for AIDS. Officers from the Colorado Gay Rodeo Association and the Texas Gay Rodeo Association were in attendance. Wayne Jakino, C.G.R.A. President. addressed the gathering, and Lee Kittleson, C.G.R.A. Vice-President. assisted in television advertising.
Rodeo is alive and healthy! And gay rodeo, although fairly new, is a very healthy youngster. The regional gay rodeos have been established by responsible people who have much mutual respect and cooperation. They provide a whole new dimension to gay rodeo- the possibility of a gay rodeo circuit with rodeos spread throughout the year.
At the 1984 Rocky Mountain Regional Rodeo the C.G.R.A. Drill Team accepted an invitation from T.G.R.A. to perform at the First Annual Texas Gay Rodeo.
Slightly dangerous, exciting, fast paced and entertaining ... thats the goal set by team members of the Colorado Gay Rodeo Association's one-of-a-kind mounted drill team and for many of the members, a statement of pride in both themselves and our community. Better known throughout the country than in their hometown, the group has performed at the Reno National Gay Rodeo in 1982 and 1983 and was asked to show off at Madison Square Garden for the AIDS benefit Rodeo last October (The team never made it to the Garden because of difficulty in winning permission to ride from the show producers!) To become a team member takes not only the expensive ownership of a horse, but the ability to control his mount with enough precision to ride the intricate patterns. Many people are able to achieve the first two steps but then lack the dedication to spend the necessary hours in practice to achieve a team attitude. C.G.R.A.'s 1982 team consisted of eight people and mounts, but a week before leaving for Reno disaster struck with the death of one of the horses. The pattern was quickly re-written to a four-horses unit, and the show went on. By 1983 the team had enough members to provide eight riders plus alternates. Now in 1984 dedication is the key to this team.
It is with a great deal of pride that they rode in the 2nd Annual Rocky Mountain Regional Rodeo with a brand new routine, and will again ride in the First Annual Texas Gay Rodeo. We hope you enjoy their spunk.