This year the Colorado Gay Rodeo Association celebrates 25 years of gay rodeo in Colorado. Each year a Grand Marshal is selected to help celebrate this proud heritage. This year we have selected a Grand marshal who exemplifies a history of service to CGRA, IGRA and our community. Our Grand marshal for Rocky Mountain Regional Rodeo #25 is Ken Pool.
Ken grew up in Tomball, TX with horses. He competed in local horse shows and participated in the drill team for his local saddle club during his childhood and teen years.
In 1992, Ken was living in West Hollywood, CA when a group of friends invited him to attend the Road Runner Regional Rodeo in Phoenix, AZ. While his friends spent the weekend partying in the dance tent, Ken focused his attention on the arena thinking "I can do this!" Convinced of his abilities, Ken competed in his first gay rodeo in Las Angles, CA later that year. He competed in chute dogging, steer riding and wild drag race and his lifelong passion for gay rodeo was born!
Ken got involved in CGRA in 2000 after being told by R.C. Cuellar "Well youj can either stand around and complain, or get involved and change things". Ken is currently the CGRA Vice President and Co-Rodeo Director for the 2007 IGRA Finals rodeo. He has previously served as Membership Chair, President, and Trustee. He served at the IGRA level as Contestant Liaison Committee Chair. In addition, Ken was Mr. CGRA in 2004 and Mr. IGRA in 2005. During Ken's tenure as CGRA President, he was heavily involved in consolidating the multiple chapters within CGRA into a unified organization under a single Board of Directors. He was also instrumental in moving Rocky Mountain Regional Rodeo to its current home at Jefferson County Fairgrounds.
In Kens own words: I believe that gay rodeo provides an incredible venue to dispel fears & prejudices of lesbians & gays to a wider audience. While it is true some people must still protect their jobs & families, I feel that we have an obligation to educate the public at large, not always in their face, but often by finding common ground. Most rodeo people, gay or straight, are more concerned with how you treat your horse & if you can handle a steer rather than who you sleep with. Sometimes you win over a lot more people by focusing on the rodeo first.
It's been referred to as rodeo "family" so many times it's almost cliché… but for its abundance of dysfunction, it is a family and one I'm proud to be a part of."
Ken - your passion for gay rodeo and dedicated service to the Colorado Gay Community is rewarded with this honor and a public "Thank You".