When asked to name a couple that epitomizes the ideal of the country and western lifestyle and support to the Gay community, we couldn't think of a better pair than Sandy and Jerry Thompson!
Originally from Texas, Jerry rode his first and only bull at the age of 20. As he recalls it, "...I came to my senses quickly...within 4 seconds!!!!"
He quickly decided that county and western music and dancing were far less painful but no less rewarding!
Sandy, an Oklahoma native and a self-proclaimed rodeo "Buckle Bunny," owns Red River Western Wear in the District and the Queen of Memphis (which produces the Miss Gay Capital City Pageant and is DC's only drag shop). She is a former quarter horse owner who placed 3rd in Pennsylvania in Western Pleasure during her youth.
Sandy met Jerry in 1992. They began teaching and dancing competitively in 1993 and quickly became a sensation, placing 7th in the World Championship Dance Competition in Nashville in 1996! That year, they were asked by the late Gary Robinson to judge several ASGRA dance competitions, including the Atlantic Coast Open. Sandy and Jerry have choreographed and taught many of ASGRA's top dance competitors, including the 1996 Division 4 Champions of the International Dance Competition Finals in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Also during 1996, they joined ASGRA, sponsored Royalty Buckles and have been active ever since. They have enthusiastically supported many of ASGRA's fundraisers and benefits, including numerous Royalty events and Cowhand Shirt Auctions. They have devoted their time, talents, and funding to such organizations as Metro Teen Aids, PFlag-MD, Grandma's House, Food & Friends, and Brother Help Thyself.
Sandy has been a rodeo vendor for the past four years and currently sponsors two ASGRA members on the IGRA circuit. Jerry has provided his services as a disc jockey at the rodeo site, Atlantic Coast Open Dance Competitions, and IGRA Finals. He has also provided the music for the ASGRA Dance Tent at DC Pride Festivities. This year Jerry will be the Host DJ for the Atlantic Stampede Jamboree, Harvest Moon Ball, and the Rawhide and Leather Dance.
For their warmth, humanity, love and contributions to the members of the Atlantic States Gay Rodeo Association, we salute Jerry and Sandy, and we are pleased to honor them as our Grand Marshals for Atlantic Stampede '99.
We dedicate Atlantic Stampede '99, our eighth annual rodeo, to the memory of our friend and fellow member, Johnny C. "Janda" Dodgen, who passed away in February 1999. Janda was an avid horseman and member of the Atlantic States Gay Rodeo Association. He served on the rodeo committee helping organize many of our training activities and as our official trail ride coordinator for several years. He also represented us at the IGRA convention, participating in the work of the rodeo rules conm1ittee.
Janda was known for his quick wit and candid commentary on the world around him. He wasn't afraid to call it as he saw it, and this served him well as he became the first ASGRA member to be certified as an TGRA rodeo judge. Janda was devoted to his friends and had a natural love of all beings. He'll be remembered for his menagerie of horses, dogs, a cat and ducklings at the farm. We will miss his welcoming us onto the "porch" of his tack house at Piscataway where we could escape the sun but never the heat of the banter around us. Jonda, we lament your leaving us, but we will hold our memories of you clear as we continue our venture along the trail.
Jonda in our Memoriam pages