We are pleased and proud to have Wayne Jakino as the Grand Marshall for the 21st Annual Finals Rodeo of the International Gay Rodeo Association. Some of you will remember that Wayne has previously been Grand Marshal where we honored him for his outstanding contributions to Gay Rodeo. This time we honor Wayne for his outstanding contributions to us all.
Wayne Jakino has been a staple of the ·GLBT community since before it was a community. Part owner and General Manager of Charlie's Denver since about 1983, Wayne has been active in just about every facet of the community. Bar owner, community fund-raiser, community activist, community founder, and community icon are just some of the labels that might apply to Wayne.
Wayne, together with John King, has run Charlie's in Denver since 1983. In that time he successfully ran and grew the operation to the point of needing to expand its size and location from 7900 E. Colfax Ave. (and some 4,000 sq. ft.) to its present 10,000 sq. ft. location at 900 E. Colfax Ave. He has over seen a staff much larger and more diverse than just about anyone could ever have imagined.
As a fund raiser Wayne believes in supporting the community that supports him. Any fundraising event that would make a difference in the community is welcomed and encouraged at Charlie's. Traditionally, Wednesday and Sunday evenings are community support oriented. Wayne's generous spirit and influence can be felt in the Mr. Charlie's Program, the Valentines Extravaganza, Back Tracks, and a host of other projects and events all designed to put money back into the community. As a community activist, Wayne's presence can be felt in the myriad of political campaigns that have permeated the GLBT Community over the years. From the "No on 2" campaign to the race for every political office that might even remotely impact the community (which is all of them) Wayne is active and outspoken. Charlie's has often been the site for candidates' debates, forums, and meet and greets. Additionally, the GLBT community can thank Wayne for gaining the pride parade the entire use of Colfax Ave and not just part of it. Wayne's activism can also be felt in the neighborhood at large through his involvement in neighborhood associations and groups like Capitol Hill United Neighbors (CHUN) and Colfax on the Hill.
On election night in November 1992, when Amendment 2 passed, it was Wayne who was taking a phone call from Police Chief Michaud who was asking for help in quelling the beginnings of a riot downtown. Wayne had him call Mayor Webb and Governor Romer to have them come visibly join the crowd and march to the capitol thus keeping the demonstration peaceful and not a riot that would have caused irreparable damage to the GLBT community.
It's been said that Wayne is never happy unless he has a sledge hammer in his hands or is founding something. Through Wayne's tireless efforts (along with others) the GLBT community has the Colorado Tavern Guild, the Colorado Gay Rodeo Association, the International Gay Square Dance Association, the International Gay Rodeo Association, the Colorado Business Council, the Alexander Foundation, and many more opportunities for the community to interact and grow.
Over the years as Wayne put his efforts into the communities around him, the communities gave back. The most poignant and yet subtle evidence of this is any time you hear," ... well let's run it by Wayne and see what he thinks ... "from EVERYONE in town. This "Gay God Father" like respect and status is one that has been well earned over his many years of work in our community. This respect extends internationally to Calgary, Alberta Canada where the Alberta Rockies Gay Rodeo Association requested from and received a White Hat from the City of Calgary (a towering honor) so that they might present it to Wayne- the first time ever presented to an openly gay man.
Certainly the lives of everyone in Colorado and many more, whether they know it or not, are markedly better improved because of a man who gives back to the community because they gave to him.
Wayne in our Hall of Fame