November 11, 1963 -
First attended a gay rodeo in 1995
Chuck Browning was born in Casper, Wyoming where he was exposed to the ranch and rodeo lifestyle. He moved to Phoenix after graduating college and it was there that he was first introduced to IGRA in 1989. It would soon become apparent that rodeo was in his blood and a passion in his life.
It was at his first Gay bar in 1988 in Phoenix, that he became aware of "The Cowboys" that worked at Charlie's, among them Greg Olson and Craig Lorreta. Chuck won the Men of Charlie's Mr. November in 1989, and then volunteered to work behind the chutes at the Phoenix rodeo in 1990. As a spectator at many rodeos, he was taken in by the rodeo mystique.
In 1994 he purchased his first horse Sugar, a solid Paint mare that many said was too small for the rodeo events. He began competing at the 1995 AGRA rodeo, but would not win his first buckle until his second year at the Tucson Rodeo in 1996. His first buckle was in Goat Dressing with his rodeo teammate Dale Plumb.
In 1996, he partnered up with his best friend, Brian Helander. They have competed together now for 14 years. This team currently holds the Goat Dressing event record, completing the event in an astounding 7.65 seconds in Phoenix in 2008.
At the Oklahoma Rodeo in 1995, he was bitten by the Rough Stock Riding Bug after being introduced to Cheryl Wayne and Scott Terrel. Both were instrumental in helping him get started in steer riding.
After a year of success in that event, he decided in 1997 to add Bull Riding to his list of events in Kansas City and completed his first Ride on Clarence Bates' bull Vinton. Soon after that, he decided to attempt Bareback Bronc Riding. That began his pattern of competing regularly in all 13 rodeo events.
In 2005, Chuck began competing on Sugar's first off-spring Spice, a beautiful Paint filly. Today, Spice continues the competitive legacy of her mother while Sugar is enjoying her "early retirement".
Chuck has also been very involved with both AGRA and IGRA outside of the rodeo arena. In 1997, Chuck became Vice President of AGRA; in 1998 he was voted in as President, and again as Vice President in 1999. He has filled the roles of AGRA Trustee, Secretary, Auditor, and Treasurer. He is also currently the Chair of the AGRA Contestant Liaison Committee and the AGRA Audit Committee. In 2000 he was honored by AGRA as the Grand Marshall for the 2000 Roadrunner Regional Rodeo.
Chuck became involved with IGRA as the Division II Trustee Chair in 1999, the IGRA Trustee Chair 2000, and IGRA Contestant Liaison committee Chair in 2000. Since 2007 he has brought his expertise and knowledge to IGRA as Co-Chair of the Rodeo Rules Committee.
In conjunction with his best friend and rodeo partner Brian Helander, he has helped to produce 4 of the most extensive Rodeo Schools on the IGRA circuit, and has drawn several willing volunteers to assist with these productions. He has also assisted with Rodeo Schools in Albuquerque, NM.
He is known across the country for assisting first time riders (and even seasoned riders) in both the rough stock Riding events and Chute Dogging. He has stated that one of the greatest feelings is to see someone you have helped complete their first ride, earn their first ribbon, and win their first buckle. He even helps those in the events he is competing in, and has been seen pulling a rigging or being safety for a co-competitor right before getting on his own animal.
While Chuck is certainly passionate about rodeo, he is not only focused on winning. He is intense about ensuring that the playing field is fair, and the judging is at its highest level. Chuck is not afraid to delve deeply into all aspects of gay rodeo and is motivated by his passion to continually improve both the rodeos and the associations of IGRA.
He is currently working to produce the "IGRA Hall of Champions" page as well as an "Electronic Announcer Card" on the IGRA Website, an online Survey for the IGRA Spectators, and to update the IGRA Rodeo Rules Book.
In 2000, Chuck earned the honor of being the only IGRA contestant to earn a Finals invitation in all 13 rodeo events in one year. As of 2008 he has won over 200 event buckles, many of which have been donated to Royalty fundraisers, friends, family or volunteers who have gone above and beyond in his eyes, yet get little in reward. Chuck has been awarded 13 International Championship Buckles. Competing in over 150 rodeos in his 13 years, he has been in the All-Around top 5 at 72 Rodeos, and has earned an invitation to finals each year he has competed. He has also won 12 All-Around Cowboy titles to date.
Those who have had the opportunity to get to know Chuck have a respect and admiration for his passion not only in Rodeo, but in life.
The message from Chuck Browning is simple:
"The best part of rodeo is being involved for the greater goal, which is to raise funds for charitable organizations. You must always keep the goal in front of you, as it far outweighs the challenges and stresses we encounter."
"If you view me as successful, it is only because of the many individuals who have helped, supported and inspired me. Brian Helander has been the best friend anyone could hope for and has always been there for me no matter what. I carry the legacies of Greg Olson, David Pazutti, Wayne Jakino and several "Guardian Angels" deep in my heart, and I ask them to always look after our Rodeo Family. I can only hope to inspire others to carry this legacy forward. It is never about what you do, it is about what you do for others."
It is for this and his many achievements he is inducted today into the IGRA Hall of Fame.