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(As you can see from his photos, Bruce Eden stands out in a crowd. Added to his all-American good looks is a genuine warmth and self-effacing quality that goes right to the heart. When we heard his story, we felt that it had to be told. It's a tale of courage such as might have emanated from the Old West itself. The Editor)
BRUCE: I almost died of that, September third, last year.
When I came back from Oklahoma, I called John, my ex-lover. I knew he'd been in the hospital with pneumonia, and I said, "Look, I know something's wrong, and I want to see the best doctor I can see in Austin" - and I knew John was going to him. He had an appointment with the doctor that morning, actually, and he said, "Come with me. Instead of me going in, you're going in to see him." 'Cause the doctor would not see new patients -he was just in over his head, the poor man. So I went in instead of John, and the doctor looked at me and he knew something was wrong. He sent me down to be x-rayed, then told me to go to the waiting room and sit for a few minutes. After about thirty minutes, he came in and said, "You definitely have pneumocystic pneumonia, and you need to go to the hospital right now - this second. They should have caught this weeks ago."
BRUCE: Ok. I eat three meals a day. Every morning I fix something even if it's an instant breakfast. I can't have caffeine anymore; my doctor has taken me off coffee. That was probably the hardest for me 'cause I love coffee. Always a good lunch with vegetables. I'm very careful with what I eat and keep away from the junk foods and the grease. Every night my roommate fixes a very good meal with vegetable and she tries to put as many calories into it as she can to get my weight up.
By Lou Thomas
As the IGRA heads into it's 1989 season, it would be hard for a spectator seated in the arena at Austin or Phoenix or Denver to imagine the long and colorful road down which gay rodeo has traversed. Even today, mention of a gay rodeo might well elicit a chuckle or a downright belly laugh from the listener. It hasn't been easy getting from there to here., believe it!
1975: Most of us are aware of the "Imperial Court System," wherein an Emperor, Empress, Crown Prince and Crown Princess are elected by the gay community to spearhead fundraising efforts for various charitable causes. In 1975, in Reno, Nevada an intrepid and energetic man named Phil Ragsdale, Emperor that year, chose as his cause the Muscular Dystrophy Association and as his means - of all things - a gay rodeo!
And that was just the beginning of his troubles as the questions began to mount: where to stage the Reno Gay Rodeo? Where to find the livestock? Phil was told by the operators of the Washoe County Fairgrounds that the first available date was October 2, 1976 and accepted immediately. Next he began contacting local farmers and ranchers in the area to obtain livestock. As soon as the locals heard that the Reno gay community would be sponsoring the event, there was hemming and hawing and livestock suddenly became very unavailable. (One wonders if they feared the cattle might become gay by association!)
And suddenly it was Friday, October 1, the day before the rodeo, and still no livestock. In desperation, Phil drove to Fallon, some sixty miles from Reno, and bought some livestock from a rancher there, then secured a truck to deliver it the following morning. The livestock which was delivered on Saturday morning consisted of fine "wild" range cows, ten "wild" range calves, one pig an done Shetland pony. The numerous gay organizations who were to run the different concessions arrived, along with many clowns. As it was put in the program for the 1982 National Reno Gay Rodeo:
"With only one large arena, 'wild ' cows and calves running loose, no holding pens, no chutes, IT WAS RODEO TIME! There were three categories: 1) Kind of the Cowboys (Male), 2) Queen of the Cowgirls (Female), and 3) Ms. Dusty Spurs (Drag).
"Even though the attendance of our First Reno Gay Rodeo was small, less than 125, through word of mouth and the great efforts of our own Phil Ragsdale, Emperor I, our rodeo has progressed to what it is today. With the combined efforts of a small group of people, the event was bright, colorful and full of fun"
1977-1980: National Reno Gay Rodeo flourished and Phil Ragsdale's new fundraiser, the Mr., Ms. an Miss National Reno Gay Rodeo Competition, began in 1977, growing each year with larger and larger donations to the Muscular Dystrophy Association.
1981: An energetic representation from Texas showed up in Reno to represent their state. Under the guidance of Terry Clark and Walter Strickland, the Mr., Ms. and Miss contestants raised over $30,000 for the Texas MDA. The rodeo theme song was "Stand By Your Man" and performers included Ed Bruce W and Rose Maddox W and San Francisco dance groups The Barbary Coast Cloggers and The Foggy City Squares.
During the festivities, Miss Texas bumped into Wayne Jakino and, upon learning he was from Denver, chided him for a lack of representation from that state. Jakino assured her that Colorado would be well represented the following year. Sure enough, a month later Jakino, Ron Jesser and seven other men met to form The Colorado Gay Rodeo Association.
1982: When Colorado returned to the 1982 National Reno Gay Rodeo they numbered over 400 strong, including a mounted drill team, The Mile High Squares, The Denver County Cloggers's, Mr., Ms. and Miss candidates and forty-three rodeo contestants (two-thirds of the contestants that year). Colorado's contestants were very demanding and rallied support from other states to push for more uniform rules and a better quality rodeo.
Attendance in the grandstands reached over 10,000 and estimates of the gays who came only to party in the bars and casinos reached 40,000. Joan Rivers W was featured as Grand Marshal and performers included Sharon McKnight, Rose Maddox, The Texas Mustang Band and The Western Electric Band.
History has not recorded the exact reason, but Texas left Reno greatly disenchanted and stated that they would not return.
1983: Colorado had returned from Reno in 1982 fired up with the feeling that a single rodeo each year just wasn't enough to satisfy true rodeo fans and contestants. The CGRA went to work! Jakino, John King and others went to Huston, moving upstate through San Antonio, Austin, Dallas and Fort Worth, seeking support for the formation of the Texas Gay Rodeo Association (TGRA) and, more specifically, a rodeo. They elicited a promise of support if Colorado would lead the way with a rodeo of its own. The CGRA, now 250 strong, voted to hold its first rodeo in June, dubbing it the Rocky Mountain Regional Rodeo.
That was the easy part. Finding a site to hold the event was the problem. One by one, the appropriate site managements were approached: Arapaho, The Denver Complex, Jefferson County Fairgrounds, the Bolder Valley Pow Wow Grounds, the Adams County Fairgrounds, the Deertrail Rodeo Association's Jolly Ranch - and then, finally, someone mentioned Coal Creek, the new rodeo grounds in Aurora. Jakino and the board rushed out to inspect - no barns and not enough seating but the equipment was new and there was plenty of parking. Gay was ok by Aurora!
And so it was that on June 3, 1983, Denver became the second city in the U.S. to host a gay rodeo. Supporters and contestants flocked from Texas and California to Arora, only to have a torrential rain dumped on them that weekend. But the games went on! They had been through too much to let a little water stop them!
And that weekend a new gay phenomenon came into its own. The entertainment consisted of square dancers and cloggers only, great gay talented groups finding a way to tell their community that "We are what we are and we're damned proud of it!"
Later that month, Jakino and King again visited Huston to talk with Terry Clark, Walt Strickland and various other Texas cowboys and the result was the creation of the TGRA and the scheduling of the first Texas Gay Rodeo in 1984.
In August, Colorado returned in force to the Eight National Gay Rodeo. The largest number of dance groups ever assembled at a rodeo were there that year. Over fourteen countries totalling more than 12,00 spectators jammed the grandstands.
And Al Bell, from Long Beach, California, spent hours with John King discussing the possibility of forming a gay rodeo association in California. Growth was in the wind!
This year saw the formation of the Golden State Gay Rodeo Association in California (GSGRA). Sadly, it also saw the Ninth (and final) National Reno Gay Rodeo. The rodeo's books were seized by the Federal Government and the Wasoe County Fairgrounds officials declined use of their facility for the future. Nevertheless, Phil Ragsdale had introduced gay rodeo to America, and Colorado, Texas and California were determined to keep the sport alive and well.
In November,gay rodeo was firmly established in Texas with the staging of the First Annual Texas Gay Rodeo a few miles out of Huston. Eight contestants and several dance groups participated in the successful festivities.
In December, The Arizona Gay Rodeo Association (aGRA) leaped to life in Phoenix with over forty members.
Jakino became convinced that the ever-growing rodeo family would work more cohesively under an umbrella organization and, to this end, he contacted leaders in each of the three other states to sound them out. All agreed to meet in Phoenix and Al Bell (GSGRA), Terry Clark (TGRA) John King (AGRA) heard a proposal by Jakino to form the International Gay Rodeo Association (IGRA). The proposal was accepted and a March date listed for formation.
May and June that year saw the presentation of "Nine Days of A Mile-High High," combining the Second International Gay Square Dance Association and Third Rocky Mountain Regional Rodeo, boasting 580 dancers and 100 contestants, respectively.
In July, Les krambeal and Walt Rupprecht sought help from Jakino and Terry Clark to form the Oklahoma Gay Rodeo Association (OGRA). Later, in September, the First Convention of IGRA was held in Denver with the four founding states in attendance. Oklahoma was formally seated as the fifth member.
Goals were established with the key purpose being the fostering of National and International Amature Competition and related arts ad crafts, and the development of amateur athletes and activities for such competition. Each of the five states wished to produce a rodeo and an official schedule was selected for the first IGRA circuit with the rodeo year set as November 1 to October 31.
1986: Arizona's first and highly successful gay rodeo took place in January. After undergoing the by-now familiar hunt for a proper site, they were able to obtain the El Lienzo Charro Rodeo Grounds in Phoenix.
In August, Oklahoma, after a false start occasioned by a conflict in dates with a Jerry Falwell convention (!) went on to produce its first slam-bang rodeo, ending the first circuit year on a highly successful note.
1986 also saw the formal seating of three more gay rodeo associations at the Second Annual IGRA Convention in Denver: Kansas (KGRA), Missouri (MGRA) and New Mexico (NMGRA). The right to hold the first IGRA Finals was awarded to California, to be held in Hayward.
The First Circuit Year awards were made by total point accumulation from each of the five rodeos with buckles to bets in each of the thirteen events and All-Around Champion Cowboy title going to Lee Kettleson (now residing in California) and All-Around Champion Cowgirl to Laura Lee of Texas. In addition, a full set of bylaws was established for the association in order to cope with its tremendous growth. IGRA's second president, Les Krambeal, took the oath of office at the conclusion of the convention.
Another first was the Mr., Ms. and Miss IGRA Competition for the royalty titles to represent IGRA for the 1987 rodeo year. The title winners were Larry Brandon (OGRA), Jeanie Nelson (CGRA) and Fritz Capone (KGRA), respectively.
1987: The feature that made itself painfully felt during this year was the glut of contestants. In Denver, for instance, the 180 contestants entered an average of seven events each, for a total of 1,260 events. Even if officials could push one event per minute through the arena that would total twenty-one straight hours of rodeo. IGRA officials quickly recognized the problem and resolved to address it at the next convention.
Another important event that year occurred when Les Krambeal moved to Reno and attempted to form the Nevada Gay Rodeo Association. This was met with some resistance but was finally pushed through and the Silver State Gay Rodeo Association (SSGRA) was finally seated in the IGRA.
The third IGRA convention in July in Albuquerque saw the bid for the 1988 finals awarded to Reno. And, to alleviate the growing pains the association was experiencing, Wayne Jakino proposed splitting the association into two divisions. Division I would consist of California, Arizona, New Mexico and Nevada, while Division II would consist of Colorado, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Missouri. Effectively, each division would consist of three rodeos and place half of the contestants in each division, thus reducing each rodeo's number of hours in the arena by half and allowing space for new contestants. As new states joined the association, a third division could be added when needed.
1988: Six rodeos, three to each division was planned, were carried off with great success. At the Fourth Annual IGRA Convention in July, held in Fort Worth, Texas, Oregon and Wyoming were officially seated as the tenth and eleventh states, respectively. Gerald Ford (TGRA) was elected the third president of the IGRA.
It is now common knowledge that the finals to be held in Reno were thwarted by the hand of homophobia. Originally scheduled to be held at Lawler Events Center in Reno, the rodeo's contract with the Center was cancelled and court action to force the Center to perform failed.
A contract with a private facility in Fallon (sixty miles east of Reno) found itself face to face with an injunction to stop the rodeo from being held, two days before the event. Two days in court plus a trip to the Nevada Supreme Court failed to overcome the adversity. The 100 or so contestants and 600 spectators found themselves with only the evening parties.
IGRA officials quickly referred to the bylaw as and standing rules if order to award buckles in all events to the top point earner in both Division I and Division II. The all around tittles were also presented by division with Division I All-Around titles going to Greg Olson (AGRA) and Cindy McCormick (GSGRA) and Division II All-Around titles going to Bill Sanders (TGRA) and Lee Free (OGRA). Jerry Hubbard (GSGRA), Connie Clovis (KGRA) and Magnolia Sprits (Buddy Sojourner) (CGRA) won the royalty titles of Mr., Ms. and Miss, respectively.
Wayne Jakino, who served as IGRA's Membership Chairman in 1988, informs us that additional states in the process of forming associations are Idaho, Louis anna and Nebraska. Utah will be formally seated during the next convention. The following states are expressing interest: Montana, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida.
Inquires for information concerning membership or activities of the IGRA may be directed to Mr. Gerald Ford, in Fort Worth. (address not included in this transcript sine it is out of date)
By John Toss
A first-timer at a gay rodeo will find that the parties surrounding the event may well be his greatest adventure. In addition to the festivities planned by each local rodeo organization, the bars all gear up with special parties for the hundreds of visitors and contestants. Whatever your choice, leather Levi disco - piano bar - country/western dance bar, all will be running full tilt and the tone is total party.
In each of the rodeo cities on the circuit there is a key country western bar which seems to be home base for the local rodeo association. For the 1989 rodeo circuit the first stop in November is Austin, Texas, and the country dance bars are Snuffy's Saloon and Nexus/Petticoat Junction. January will put you in Phoenix, Arizona rubbing elbows with the cowboys in Charlie's during the Road Runner Regional Rodeo. Moving a little further west in April for the Golden State Gay Rodeo in the Los Angeles area don't miss Floyd's in Long Beach and the Rawhide in Hollywood/The Valley. (Note - Sometime in September you will find one more rodeo in California which could be either in Hayward or San Diego.) On Memorial Day Weekend in May you will find the Rodeo people at The Bunkhouse in Oklahoma City whooping it up during The Great Plains Regional Rodeo.
Right around the fourth of July you'll want to take a little vacation in Denver, Colorado for the Rocky Mountain Regional Rodeo and check out our featured bar, Charlie's, Denver. Presently located near the Airport at 900 E. Colfax, Charlie's will soon celebrate its eighth anniversary, making it one of the oldest country/western dance bars in America. Charlie's first opened its doors in 1981 under the guidance of John King. John said he named the bar after his lover because Charlie's sounded a heck of a lot friendlier than John's. John's favorite term is "The Charlie's Concept" and the bar reeks of that concept. A place to meet friends, both old and new, dance a lot, visit, relax and feel like you just arrived at home even though it may be your first time through the door. A place involved in its community and dedicated to that community's well-being. And above all providing friendly service.
In the early days of Charlie's, when the bar was a lot quieter and the community was just beginning to learn what "country" was all about, John had the brilliant idea of bringing a real, live horse into the bar to demonstrate to the clientele the seriousness of his intent to create a real western bar. Up went a small corral right under the blue Charlie's sign and sure enough a horse appropriately named "Lady" made her debut in an evening of fun and frolic.
On another occasion, Charlie's gave away a horse, but not without a little trauma attached. This horse was much younger and not the least bit thrilled with the bar. Once he had been unloaded he produced a two-hour temper tantrum which kept everyone hopping and scrambling for cover until he was finally reloaded in the trailer.
The real heart and soul of Charlie's are the Colorado Gay Rodeo Association, The Denver Country Cloggers and The Mile High Squares, all of whom meet regularly at the club. Presently you can walk into Charlie's and find either square dancing, clogging or country two-step and line dance lessons six nights a week and the meeting rooms in use three or four nights a week. One night a month, the entire dance floor is filled with the general membership meeting of the Colorado Gay Rodeo Association. And, to cap it all off, every night after nine PM it's country dancing and partying with friends until closing. The 4500 square foot building has every inch working daily and when rodeo time rolls around a twenty-five by one-hundred foot tent is added to accommodate the crowds. The tent will remind you of the first saloons in the old mining camps complete with sawdust floors and a cook shack loaded with good grub.
The walls of Charlie's are filled with the history of the gay rodeo movement and tidbits of other organizations in Denver as well as items the staff collects to substantiate their tea (gossip) on someone. (A recent item in the trophy case was one staff member's underwear, inadvertently misplaced during a "Charlie's on the road" trip to Boise, Idaho.)
Charlie's heavy involvement in rodeo might be traced back to its management. John King moved to Arizona four years ago and opened Charlie's Phoenix, started the Arizona Gay Rodeo Association and still serves as the Trustee of the International Gay Rodeo for the state of Arizona. His partner, Wayne Jakino, manages Charlie's Denver, and was the founding president of both the Colorado Gay Rodeo Association and the International Gay Rodeo Association and continues to work actively on both levels. Both men believe that gay rodeo and its related activities are an extremely healthy contribution to gay society.
The twenty-plus members of the staff, a unique family in their own right, meet twice a week to discuss problems, invent new party themes, and work on their projects to benefit the community and to decorate the bar for the weekly party. The family feeling of the bar can be credited to these men who more often than not can be found on the customer side of the bar on their nights off dancing and visiting with everyone.
A contest held the first Friday each month, to find the man of the month for the Charlie's poster, has gained a lot of attention with twenty to twenty-five contestants each month. The men who win the contest then promote community benefits and raised $3,000.00 in 1988 for the AIDS Project.
Charlie's provides a healthy, hassle-free environment for people to gather together to relax and forget the problems of the day. An unfulfilled goal for the bar is moving to a larger building where they would be able to expand their support of the community.
The staff and management of Charlie's extend their invitation to "Come on in and let us make you at home!
(second photo is of Russell Forest)
(Glen Hostetler has a pair of eyes that fairly crackle with mischief, but behind the mischief a strength of purpose is very much in evidence. Glen loves life but he is not about to take any crap from anybody. and if you're his friend, count yourself lucky. The Editor)
(He is known to Dallas gays as "The Lone Ranger of Oak Lawn" and the man most responsible for narrowing the gap between the Dallas gay community and the police force. Forty-five-year-old police sergeant Earl Newsom has brought a measure of mutual respect to cops and gays alike, and if the situation is not as perfect as he would like, it is certainly well on the way and infinitely better than it was. Newsom is the self-imposed acknowledged liaison between the Dallas police department and the gay community. He has helped raise funds for AIDS and has re-written the course on the police academy's gay cultural awareness training, including a section on AIDS and the history of gays in Dallas. Testifying to the love and respect felt for the man by the gay community, he was chosen in 1987 as the Grand Marshal for both the Dallas Freedom Day Parade and the Texas Gay Rodeo. We learned about this remarkable man while attending the Austin rodeo this year and immediately made arrangements for the following interview. The Editor)
Bull riding is the ultimate challenge between man and beast, with the arena itself and rodeo clowns being the only outside controlling factors. This sport is certainly one of the most dangerous in rodeo. The animal will, on average, weigh close to 2,000 pounds which, up against an average rider weight of 150 pounds, doesn't make for very good odds. Some bulls have horns up to nine inches long, giving them a span of eighteen inches. The bull knows where his horns are and how to use them against the rider.
The equipment used for this event includes a bull rigging (one inch plaid grass rope) which goes around behind the bull's shoulder and around his belly, and a riding glove (right or left) that protects your hand from the pressure of the bull rope. Chaps are not mandatory but some riders choose to wear them to protect their legs from hitting the gates or from rope burns. Most riders wear spurs, which have locking rowels, allowing the rider some stability by permitting him to put the spurs in each side of the animal.
Two judges are required to score a bull ride, the highest score being one hundred. Each judge will score the rider and bull up to twenty-five points each.
Bull riding almost always generates an excited response from the audience, as they watch puny man attempting to conquer mighty beast!
(Porter Warren could have chosen to lead a life of leisure among the California palms. Instead, she became a nurse and then decided to devote her time, skill and money to the battle against AIDS. She now owns nurses' registries in four states devoted solely to the care of AIDS patients. She has been dubbed a latter-day Florence Nightingale and her nurses, mostly gay males, are known as "Flo's Girls." Porter, along with her "lady," is an avid rodeo fan and participates whenever possible. It was at the gay rodeo that she picked up the nickname, "Nurse Strange," and it has stuck with her. But there is nothing strange about this indomitable, persistent lady, unless it is her fierce determination to make a difference.)
(Scratch the clown white paint on Dwight Whitt's face and you find an honest, charming and handsome man of about thirty who has his eye on the target and is determined to hit the hull's eye. He is the kind of man who will wear yellow in the arena - his wig, his bib - when yellow is notoriously and traditionally the bad-luck color of the rodeo, and many cowboys and cowgirls will not let him touch them. To Dwight, this superstition is but another of life's challenges which he must overcome, and add to the list of challenges already behind him. And have no fear-overcome it he will. The Editor)
(Whoever nails Bill Sanders is going to be one helluva lucky guy. What he's gonna get is a handsome, strapping man in his late thirties who exudes charm like the sun exudes rays, who has three healthy, good-looking teen-age kids who know - and accept -the fact that he's gay, a thriving veterinarian business in Dallas, a couple of show and rodeo horses and, from what we observed, a string of friends stretching from here to there. Coincidentally, Bill shares the honors for Best All-Around Cowboy for the IGRA 1988 finals -and this issue's cover - with master horseman Greg Olson. We caught up with Bill at the CGRA Rodeo in Denver in July, and elicited this interesting conversation from him. The Editor)
(Denver. The CGRA Saturday night hoedown. The ballroom of the Regency Hotel was filled to overflowing. In the front hall, people were dancing to the lively music of a live band. In the back, hucksters manned their stalls, peddling items from art to clothes. Suddenly, a raven-haired beauty in a red dress materialized before our eyes and Sasha Laboe entered our lives. There were many female impersonators in the crowd that night but Sasha stood out from the rest, bright and luminous and - somehow - very real. We felt a need to know what made her tick and -some three hours later - we felt we had at least come close. The Editor)
Fallon W is a small farming and ranching town in Nevada about 50 miles east of Reno.
By Lou Thomas
Did I imagine it or did shouts of "Save us, Jesus!" ring out through the dusty streets and alleys of this little Nevada town, normally found peacefully sleeping in the noonday sun? What terrible pestilence was about to befall the righteous citizens of Fallon? Why - those big, bad gay cowboys was a-comin' to have a rodeo right here! And they was gonna bring in AIDS and give it to all them fine, upstanding rednecks! Imagine that!
And so, on Wednesday, October 19, 1988, at approximately 12:20 PM, two deputies from the Churchill County Sheriff's office arrived at Lantry's Ranch on Union Lane to present David Lantry, proprietor of the site which was to locate the International Gay Rodeo Association's 1988 finals, with papers ordering him to show cause why a temporary restraining order should not be issued, enjoining him from permitting the rodeo to take place. Mr. Lantry was ordered to appear in court in Fallon at 3:00 PM, some two-and-one-half hours later, to reply.
Promptly at 3:00 PM, Lantry appeared before Judge Archie Blake to explain that the IGRA lawyers, Rod Sumpter and Mark Wicker, located in Reno, had not had sufficient notice and were unable to make the sixty-mile journey to Fallon by the specified time. The judge, over the furious objections of petulant district attorney Kevin Pasquale, postponed the hearing until ten o'clock the following morning. Pasquale swore to the media that if the courts did not grant his restraining order, he would himself see that the rodeo did not take place in Fallon.
The hearing began at ten o'clock the following morning and lasted until 2:15 PM. Most of that time was spent in the badgering of Lester Krambeal, president of the Silver State Gay Rodeo Association, the host group to the IGRA finals. Finally, a packed courtroom listened intently as Judge Blake solemnly pronounced that, based on a string of technicalities, he had found in favor of the D.A. Within minutes, Krambeal, Lantry, their attorneys and various reporters were en route to Carson City, about an hour away, where the Nevada Supreme Court had been notified that they would be requested to hear an appeal of the case that very day. Unfortunately, that august body (one member of which required a definition of "gay pride") was not able to see a transcript of the trial which had taken place just that morning and so apparently felt constrained to find in favor of Churchill County.
And so it was that the 1988 Rodeo Finals of the IGRA were not permitted to take place. Bigotry had once again reared its ugly head in redneck country. Repression was once again allowed to hold sway in the land of the free and the home of the brave.
The shame of Fallon, unfortunately, is not exclusive to that unhappy town. Religious and political groups all over the country have seized upon the AIDS epidemic as a pallid excuse to justify persecution of homosexuals. And that is the real tragedy.
(The following dialogue took place on Tuesday, October 18, 1988 on the courthouse steps of Fallon, Nevada between FirstHand Events and Churchill County District Attorney Kevin Pasquale.)
Pasquale: Well, the first step we have to take is there has been an emergency meeting called of the Board of Commissioners of Churchill County. The meeting has been set for tomorrow morning at ten AM, and at that meeting it will be requested that we be allowed to file a lawsuit, a nuisance complaint based on the types of things we talked about, like public safety and other considerations. Based on that complaint, we'll seek a temporary restraining order to prohibit any gay rodeos in this county. (emphasis ours)
Pasquale: What we are talking about is moral public safety. General language statutes give us more than our county ordinances, as in N.R.S. (Nevada Revised Statutes).
Pasquale: Well, I don't know that that was what I was saying. What I'm saying is that we are going to lay this in front of a judge and let a judge make a decision; that we basically understand our position as a county and of the needs that we feel have not been met by this organization. I feel very confident.
Pasquale: No, thank you!
Pasquale: Certainly the concerns that you heard from residents, like noise, dust, those type pollutants. But I think more important is just the fact we don't know how many people are going to be here. The type of problem it is going to raise for traffic control, for law enforcement. (According to rodeo organizers, the local sheriff stated he was prepared and anticipated no problems. Ed.) Have they made any arrangements at all for sanitary facilities, drinking water? (Again, the organizers assured us that sanitary facilities had been ordered and drinking water was available on the site. Ed.) Those are vital concerns regardless...whether or not it is held on private property or public.
Pasquale: Well, no. Not necessarily. My office has not received any of these types of phone calls or threats. But, beleive me, my phone has been ringing off the hook ever since these rumors of the gay rodeo started. It is my understanding that the sheriff has been receiving those kinds of phone calls that differ slightly from mine.
Pasquale: I think I'd rather let the sheriff tell you.
Pasquale: That is just it. We don't know if there is a legitimate business enterprise that wants to come in, follow the law, follow the rules. Instead, apparently - and I stress the word apparently - they have gone around us. "To hell with you. We're not going to use your public facilities. We'll find a private facility and we'll do it there." But the thing of it is, those concerns don't go away. Now, we are not talking about property that Churchill County owns - we are talking about property that is individually owned. But the concerns are the same. Will there be adequate protection? Is there going to be fire safety? Will there be sanitation facilities? Are these needs going to be met? What's the effect going to be downtown, with the Chamber of Commerce of Fallon. We just don't know.
Pasquale: As far as out in the public, yes. It is going to make a difference. I think that when we looked a the liquor board meeting today, I've never seen a liquor board meeting anything like that. Generally, they are scheduled for five minutes or less, and it's over. I think it made a difference as far as the public was concerned.
Pasquale: I think there are greater risks when you associate the word "gay."
Pasquale: I think your observations are as good as mine on that. You saw the people in the courtroom. Right or wrong. I'm saying there's a greater risk of confrontation, and I don't think that needs to be said.
Pasquale: That is not what I'm saying at all. I think there is a greater risk of confrontation. Right or wrong.
Pasquale: Liquor license were denied by the board.
Pasquale: No, county. Board of Churchill County.
Pasquale: I say there will be confrontation.
At the age of forty-six, Joyce Myers was probably the oldest cowgirl at the Denver rodeo. But don't kid yourself that this was a handicap. This little lady looked better than some of the gals half her age. Her first competition in a gay rodeo was in Texas in 1984, when she won the barrels award. She repeated this feat in 1985 and in 1986 she became the IGRA barrel racing champion. Indeed, the barrels seem to be her specialty, though she is equally adept at several other events such as goat decorating and pole bending. In her own words:
"I love barrels. I've had a lot of accidents in my younger years. I've fractured my skull, my spine. I've had two surgeries on my left leg." "I thought I'd never ride again when I was forty-four years old. I came back riding and winning. I got tougher. The older I get the more determined I get!"
"You gatta make a horse bend to go around any object. A lot of people think you can just go around. You gotta teach them how to bend and know how to rein hem."
"There is nothing I cannot do. I can learn anything if I put my head to it."
"When I dress up I want to look like a lady. I'm a lady around straight people. I'm me and I believe in me."