Back in the saddle again, cowboys and cowgirls. The Atlantic Stampede is just around the bend.
For the twelfth year in a row, the Atlantic States Gay Rodeo Association (ASGRA) will host the Atlantic Stampede (September 5, 6 and 7). ASGRA includes cowboys, cowgirls, and other western aficionados from Maryland, Washington, D.C., Virginia, New York, and New Jersey.
"People travel from around the ASGRA region and also from across the U.S. and Canada, with a significant number of people attending from the West Coast," says J. R. Key, social and entertainment chair of ASGRA.
Stampede 2003 will include traditional rodeo events, such rough stock events, which includes bareback bronco riding, steer riding, and bull riding; roping events; and horse speed events like barrel racing, pole bending and flag racing.
"In addition to the usual slate of rodeo events, gay rodeo associations also include several camp events, like wild drag and goat dressing," says Key. 'These are some of most popular events among both competitors and spectators."
Goat dressing involves pulling a pair of underwear onto a goat and racing back to the finish line before the goat can kick the briefs off. A wild drag race pits teams consisting of a cowboy, a cowgirl, a drag king or queen, and a bull against each other. The object is to get the person in drag onto the bull and get across the finish line without getting bucked off.
Atlantic Stampede is an amateur rodeo, which means that people of all skill levels are welcome to enter. "Twice this year, ASGRA held rodeo training schools for persons who wanted to learn to compete in rough stock events like steer wrestling or bull riding," says Key. "We get a number of both men and women competitors and there are separate events and cash prizes and awards for both groups."
Rodeo events are only one part of the Atlantic Stampede weekend. "ASGRA's social and entertainment events have earned a reputation as among the biggest and the very best. Our Saturday evening dance, 'Harvest Moon Ball,' is the single largest event of the weekend and draws 1,500 people and up," says Key.
This year, ASGRA is adding a Sunday night concert featuring country recording artist Beverly Mahood to round out the weekend.
Throughout the year ASGRA has held events throughout the region, including participating in New York, Baltimore and D.C. Pride festivals, holding its 'Hoedown' dance in Baltimore in June, and hosting a western tea dance in Rehoboth Beach in July.
Rodeo events take place at the Montgomery County Fairgrounds, and social events, including dance lessons, dance performances, and concerts will take place at the Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill.
For all the details on Atlantic Stampede 2003 and ticket information, click on www.asgra.org.