Thank you for the honor to be selected as this years Grand Marshall.
A little bit about myself; I was raised in a small farming town in Illinois. My Fathers family heritage was farming. His cousin had a dairy farm across the fence and I remember having fallen out of their hayloft a number of times. I have fond memories of that time in my life.
As a young adult, I went to the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and attended the University of Chicago to earn a Fine Arts Degree. I was drafted into the Army in my third year of school and spent my service in South Vietnam as a radio operator. Upon returning home I moved to New Mexico, in January of 1970, and established a career in photography. Santa Fe and New Mexico have been very good to me.
In the nineties; with the loss of many friends to Aids, and seeking fellowship, I became involved with the gay rodeo association, and to my surprise I discovered that my long dormant love of dirt and manure came back to life. I met the horse of my life, Homer, in 2001 and what a great time we had. I have also been involved with the Rodeo de Santa Fe and am thrilled that we are holding our rodeo at their splendid arena and grounds.
NMGRA is a great organization that brings cow folks, real and imagined, together for this annual event and it continues to be a rich reward to work with such great women, men, and livestock. I hope that you will relax and enjoy our rodeo this year.
Again, thank you, and best to you, Herbert Lotz
Pictured above and to the left are Herb Lotz, known to many of his friends as "Herbo" and his longtime companion Homer. Together they have competed in many rodeos in the horse speed events. He has been an active member on the boards of the New Mexico Gay Rodeo Association as well as the Rodeo de Santa Fe. He was instrumental in helping relocate the Zia Regional Rodeo to Santa Fe 2011. It had been a longtime vision of his to bring our rodeo up to the City Different and had proven to be a move for the better.
Herb has also been a big help to new contestants coming into the rodeo and getting them started and involved in the rodeo.
This weekend, we take the opportunity to honor an individual who is dearly missed, especially as we begin another New Mexico rodeo, Kenneth Wayne Badsgard. Ken was very involved in the New Mexico Gay Rodeo Association, and not just as a contestant. He served on the board of NMGRA for many years, in several] different capacities. He could be found prior to the rodeo working to get hay, making sure we had buckle sponsors, and on rodeo day, behind the chutes helping pull gates. On award night, there was seldom a rodeo that Ken and his horse, "Snip-N-Go" were not up receiving a ribbon or buckle. "Snippy," now retired, will forever be known to us all as the horse who never quit. Aside from his success in horse speed events, Ken was also striving to achieve what few had done before him to win a buckle in every event. The only event he lacked was bull riding. He buckled in every other IGRA event at one time or another in his rodeo career.
Throughout the years, we could all count on Ken to help with whatever needed to be clone. He was the one that people came to when something was broken on a horse trailer, or if someone needed a tool. Ken was the "go to man" when it came to helping anyone. Ken could always be counted on to be there to lend a hand, fix a flat or help with your horse.
But ... did vou know that Ken also rode dirt bikes? Before he discovered his love of horses and rodeo, Ken was an a avid dirt bike rider - a "hill climber," which completely fit Ken's character and his love of risk. Hill climbing is an extremely dangerous sport. Any of you who had the opportunity to see Ken without his shirt on could see the scars he suffered from a serious accident, resulting in a broken back when his bike fell over on him during one of these grueling hill climb events.
Ken had so many diverse talents. It is with continued sadness that those talents will not be seen or experienced any longer. Ken was a distinctive individual who will continue to live on in our memories.
This weekend, as you continue with your rodeo, as a competitor or spectator, know that Ken is around every corner - cheering you on to go faster, not to hit that pole, to ride that bull, and at the end of the day, thank all of the volunteers for their generous work so all can enjoy another successful New Mexico rodeo.
Within hours of Ken's passing, our rodeo family lost another dear friend, Dwight "DJ" Jones. He was from Texas and came many of the Zia Regional Rodeos, making many friends over the years. Both Ken and DJ were qualified to compete in the World Gay Rodeo Finals later that Week.
Just three Weeks ago, Ty Teigcn, another clear friend of NMGRA passed away. Although she was from Colorado, she was a big part of the lives of the contestants here in New Mexico. She came to the Zia Regional Rodeo every year and helped many of our contestants and their horses both here and on the road at other rodeos across the west.
We honor and miss all of these wonderful individuals that have touched and enriched our lives deeply. We celebrate their lives every time we come together and rodeo!
Doug Nava is a native of Santa Fe. He has always been a big participant in all the local events that the city has to offer. One celebration that he holds very close to his heart is Fiesta de Santa Fe, which he proudly displays with his many tattoos. Doug is currently the Vice President of the Human Rights Alliance/ Santa Fe Pride, and just like Fiesta de Santa Fe he loves participating and helping all he can in the GBLT Community. It was about five years ago when his good buddy Michael Kaplan, took him to the rodeo in Phoenix, where Doug just loved everything about it. When he was called to help bring gay rodeo to Santa Fe he was going to do all he could to make that happen. One thing that he loves about Zia Regional Rodeo are the people who are associated with it, he would like to thank Zia Regional Rodeo for this honor and looks forward to this yearly event in Santa Fe, and more importantly expressing his love for Michael Kaplan and Brian Helander and a very special someone who makes the Gay Rodeo something he carries very deeply in his heart.
Hometown Heros - Albuquerque
Bunnie Cruse has been a staple in the GLBT community for 20 years, proudly reaping the "T" in the GLBT. While working at the AMC, 18 years ago, Bunnie started participating with The United Court of The Sandias. UCS opened up a whole new world for her, UCS taught her how to be a leader, fundraiser and mentor. UCS also helped Bunnie build relationships with groups like Albuquerque Pride, NMGRA and other civic groups across the country. Bunnie has served an unprecedented three times as Empress with UCS, and is currently President of UCS. Bunnie is the New Mexico Pride Pageant Coordinator and New Mexico HIV / AIDS Walk Coordinator for Albuquerque Pride. Being part of the PRIDE family in such a big way has led her to help with Eastern NM Pride in Clovis and Roswell Pride (which is next Saturday BTW). Bunnie is on the Executive Board of the Albuquerque Social Club, in her second year, serving the Club as Secretary. When Bunnie is not working at EFFEX, Swank or The Market@610 she loves to hike, shop and go out to eat. Bunnie would like to thank her family, friends, drag siblings, monarch siblings and her Emperor for always believing in her hair brained schemes to raise money. Bunnie is very humbled to be recognized with Wes Haggard, as a Hometown Hero by the New Mexico Gay Rodeo Association. In addition it gives her a reason to shop for boots! Happy Rodeo!
"How do you go on about yourself? You don't, you just try to make some sort of dot, in history. I struggle with it every day. That will be my legacy. Boots on, lets Rodeo!" - Wes Haggard
"Thank you for being such an inspiration and a loving friend to me and so many. This world is a happier place because of you!" -Leon
"You are one of the most amazing people I've ever met! You will never know how much I really do appreciate you and the magic you bring" -Joseph Richardson