It is our pleasure to introduce the Grand Marshall for the 1997 IGRA Finals Rodeo, and who could possibly be more appropriate than our IGRA President, Mr. Tom Vance!
Joining us all the way from North Star Gay Rodeo Association in Minnesota, Tom has been an active part of gay rodeo since 1992.
Currently in his second term as IGRA President, Tom has been on the IGRA Board of Directors since 1993 and served as NSGRA's Trustee from 1993-1995. Over recent years, gay rodeo has taken on many new members and state associations and part of the credit for this has to be given to Tom as a result of his service as Rodeo Growth Chairperson for 1995.
This won't be Tom's first ride around the arena in this capacity, however, as he proudly served as Grand Marshall for North Star's 1996 rodeo in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area.
We would also like to recognize Tom for his outstanding accomplishments as Founder of The Mayfield Foundation, a non-profit organization committed to the education of children and young adults concerning HIV.
Welcome to Arizona and the Valley of the Sun, Tom. We're sure your many accomplishments and contributions not only to gay rodeo but to the gay community in general will be appreciated for years to come!
The 1997 IGRA Finals Rodeo Program is hereby dedicated not to one individual, or even to one group of individuals. Instead, the General Membership of Arizona Gay Rodeo Association-Phoenix Chapter has chosen to recognize the countless individuals and groups who work together as a team to comprise a very important and frequently unrecognized family. A family without whom gay rodeo could not possibly exist.
We proudly salute our corps of volunteers, not just in Arizona but throughout gay rodeo across the United States and Canada.
While we are all aware that events such as this require the help of various individuals with many talents, it is likely that many of us are UNAWARE of just how many people this actually involves.
First and foremost, the IGRA and State Boards of Directors work year-round to provide these events for the enjoyment of both the fans and contestants of gay rodeo and when possible, for the financial benefit of numerous organizations in need of support nationwide. Immeasurable hours and expense are involved in many very technical aspects of rodeo in order to achieve this.
Your international and local Royalty work year-round raising funds, entertaining and traveling at their own expense to create outreach and public awareness without which, the success of gay rodeo would be lessened considerably.
The General Membership of each Association is an integral part of this structure, as well. These people are there year after year to support local fund raisers with both labor and financial resource. Your Rodeo Officials and Arena Staff. The ticket-takers and parking lot attendants. The on-site security staff. The food and beverage servers. Those providing entertainment. There is seemingly no end to the list.
We hope you enjoy your day at this, our most coveted event of the year. We also hope you will take a moment to appreciate the collective thousands of hours these dedicated individuals give to produce these events. Without them, none of us would be here today.
To our volunteers throughout the grounds, THANK- YOU!! Thank you not only for what you have done over the years for us, but for what you and your successors will continue to do in the future.