Thursday, October 20, 1988
Churchill County is charging forward to head the gay rodeo off at the pass by filing today for a temporary restraining order to prevent the event from happening this weekend on private property.
Churchill County District Attorney Kevin Pasquale told a packed county commission meeting room Wednesday afternoon that he would file a motion with the District Court in Fallon today asking for a temporary restraining order to prevent the rodeo from coming to Fallon, even though to him it was still officially a "rumor" because the county hasn't been notified of the event.
That motion argues that under state law any event that will involve more than 1,000 people on private property requires 60 days notice to the appropriate government agencies. In this case, Churchill County.
Officials with the International Gay Rodeo Association did not return phone messages left for them Wednesday.
About 75 people showed up yesterday to protest the gay rodeo and a liquor license application by the owners of the arena where the rodeo is planned.
Hilda Lantry, one of the owner's of Stockman's Arena on Union Lane, applied for the one-year liquor license Oct. 12. The property had an active liquor license until 1984 when it lapsed. Wednesday, however, commissioners unanimously voted to deny the license because it was a "non-conforming" use on the property.
The arena, however, is a licensed commercial roping and horse arena. And according to media reports Wednesday, the Gay Rodeo Association signed a contract with the Lantrys to lease the property for the rodeo, which was rejected earlier by Reno, Virginia City and Churchill County.
The majority of those attending the commissioners' meeting cited concerns about the safety and reputation of the community.
One of those attending said Fallon was in danger of becoming the "fruit bowl capitol" of the country.
Another wondered if those attending the rodeo couldn't be arrested because they were professing to be gay and were committing sex acts against state law. Pasquale said that while sodomy between people of the same sex is a felony, an arrest can't occur because of the threat of a crime.
In fact, only one person spoke in defense of the event.
Ed Anderson, a Reno resident, said he was a native Nevadan, said he was raised in Winnemucca and a former Fallon resident and had a gay son.
"I feel like a social worker at a KKK rally," he told the crowd.
To a very unreceptive crowd, he said, "I probably had some of the same fears a lot of you have today (when he first learned his son was gay)." He added that "I don't want to see an exercise in homophobia and hatred. My God to the left is different than yours to the right. He is more compassionate and forgiving."
He received catcalls of "There's only one God," and "Go on home."
Everyone else in the crowd said the rodeo shouldn't be allowed because of all the ill feelings in the community and the safety concerns. And because the association was trying to "ram it down our throats," according to one of those attending.
Pasquale said, "They (the association) chose to ignore... our concerns and it's pretty sneaky and pretty underhanded. The same concerns we told them about two weeks ago exist today."
At a meeting held then after the association tried to rent the Churchill County Fairgrounds, representatives of the association were told that the county was concerned about physical violence erupting, traffic and parking control, animal control, sanitation and sewage and security.
And while Les Krambeal, president of the association, has told the media about plans to hire a private security firm, bring in portable bathrooms and take other measures, Pasquale said the county hasn't been notified of anything.
"A business license doesn't give a person carte blanche to do anything they please with their property," he said.
Commissioners will hold an emergency meeting this morning at 8:30 at which time Pasquale will ask permission to file the court documents to ask for a restraining order.
CONTROVERS - This van drove around Fallon Wednesday urging those opposed to the planned gay rodeo to attend a commissioners meeting on a liquor license for the event. According to official tallies, 1,519 people signed petitions opposing the rodeo, planned for private property. Photo by Christy Cayo
Gay Rodeo - Churchill County District Attorney will file a motion with the District Court in Fallon today asking for a tempoarty restraining order to prevent the gay rodeo from being held on private property in the county. Here he speaks out on the issue. Photo by Christy Cayo