The Heartland Gay Rodeo Association is proud to honor Tamara Marks, our 2004 IGRA Finals Grand Marshal. Although she bas been active in rodeo only since 1996, she has had a significant impact on the International Gay Rodeo Association.
Before rodeo, Tamara worked in the gay community raising money for charity. She responded to a call for entertainers to participate in fundraisers for AIDS victims needing financial assistance for medical expenses. She received numerous awards for her vocal talents including Female Entertainer of the Year and top female Live Vocalist presented by the Performer's Award of Detroit.
Tamara was intrigued to read in a gay newspaper about the Michigan Gay Rodeo and its charitable fund raising. She was invited to perforn1 at the 1996 Michigan rodeo. It was from that experience that she 'knew' getting involved and learning more about Gay Rodeo was for her. She became the first Ms MIGRA later that year, and went on to win the title of Ms IGRA 1998.
In the ensuing eight years, Tamara traveled to 10 or more rodeos each year, and participated in fundraisers in other cities for both non-rodeo events and for her local community. While serving as IGRA Vice President from 2000 to 2003, she was instrumental in helping to restructure the IGRA Royalty program, and adopted the name, 'Royalty Mom'. In that time frame, she received the Directors Award, the Presidential Service Award, and the International A ward for her extraordinary contributions of time, dedication, and hard work for the International Gay Rodeo Association. Tamara also received the Benevolence Buckle from the City of Hope for her tireless efforts in raising money for charity.
She has worked as a Scorekeeper since earning her Certification in 1999; but when she's not scorekeeping, you'll see her timing, pulling gates, and working in the arena. She's a Gay Rodeo competitor, too, having won 2 Wild Drag buckles, and is working to win her first Calf Roping buckle. Versatile Tamara is still true to her first love as a singer, performing at countless Rodeos and fund-raising functions throughout the country.
When asked "why gay rodeo?" her response is, "Because it's a place where it doesn't matter whether you're gay, straight, bisexual, or transgender, we all work and play together without prejudices. It's like a family reunion at every rodeo!"
After winding up her responsibilities as the 2004 IGRA Finals Rodeo Director, Tamara will work toward producing her first CD.
Tamara and her partner, Bryn Geerdes, live on a horse farm in Ashland, Nebraska. At last count, 20 animals were in their care: horses, miniature donkeys, a cow, and assorted dogs and cats. She says she could not have achieved all that she has without Bryn's love, support and 'leg work'.
"I share this honor of Grand Marshal with Bryn, as I couldn't have done it without her!"