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Atlantic States Gay Rodeo Association
First posted 2001
Reposted here Jan 13, 2018
Last update Jan-20-2020

Association Histories

The following section was extracted from page 32 of the 1992 Atlantic Stampede Rodeo program.

ASGRA The First Year

In July of 1991, four would be cowboys came together seeking a new adventure at the Rocky Mountain Regional Rodeo. Within a few weeks, Phil Hastings, Phil Riggin, Mike Lentz, and Dave H began to transform a dream into the Atlantic States Gay Rodeo Association. Through their perseverance, this vision has blossomed into an organization exceeding their wildest imagination.

Within three months of its founding, membership had grown to 107; ASGRA had held its first general membership meeting, began publication of a newsletter ("Thirteen Spurs"), and began holding rodeo events seminars, social activities and monthly trail rides. Perhaps most significantly, Atlantic Stampede 1992, ASGRA's first rodeo, was approved and set in motion.

To begin the 1992 IGRA rodeo season, a large contingent of competitors and supporters traveled to Dallas. John Workman thrilled the whole contingent by winning a buckle in his first attempt at bull riding. Several other competitors made strong showings, collecting ribbons and placement points toward finals. However, everyone was reminded of the serious nature of rodeo when Darrel C. suffered a concussion during bull riding and left the arena via ambulance.

As the year progressed, efforts were focused on expanding the membership base beyond the immediate Washington, D.C. area. An ASGRA clogging group, the Capitol Hill Cloggers, was formed. Growing contingents of members ventured to the Roadrunner Regional Rodeo in Phoenix and the Great Plains Regional Rodeo in Oklahoma; Dave H set a new IGRA record in chute dogging. Five members attended seminars to begin the rodeo official certification process.

The flurry of activity continued through the summer as ASGRA members participated prominently in gay pride celebrations in Baltimore, Washington and New York City. More than thirty members visited Denver for the Rocky Mountain Regional Rodeo. The team of fourteen competitors placed in several events, leaving Denver with six ribbons but again sobered by the reality of several scary injuries. At the San Francisco Rodeo, Gareth MacKenzie claimed the second ASGRA buckle of the year in goat dressing.

"Team Atlantic" enjoyed its greatest competitive success yet at the Great Plains Rodeo in Wichita. Each of the ASGRA participants won ribbons, points and prize money in at least one event. Both Darrel C. and John Workman won buckles, and several other members moved into positions to potentially qualify for the IGRA finals. Our royalty were busy hosting a major fundraising dance and readying themselves for the international competition to be held at the 1992 IGRA Finals Rodeo. At the IGRA convention in St. Paul, ASGRA delegates took part in committee work and helped to write changes to the international bylaws and rodeo rules. Our group even had a dance team compete in the amateur division of thee IGRA annual dance contest. Jeff Shaw received IGRA accreditation as scorekeeper and secretary.

Just over a year ago, the founders set what seemed like lofty goals for a fledgling rodeo association: become an IGRA member by 1992, enlist 50 members within a year, and prepare to host a rodeo by 1994. Instead, ASGRA received IGRA sanctioning with ten days, swelled to over 300 members, and is now hosting -- two years ahead of schedule -- the first gay rodeo east of the Mississippi. Our goal from the beginning was to be an inclusive group that offered members of the gay community a chance to enjoy good times and friends with a country and western flair and to focus energies toward helping those in our community who need our assistance. We will continue to expand social, recreational, and training opportunities. We encourage you to join us as we move forward into our second year.

Following section added Jan 13, 2018

The Association held very successful rodeos each year until 2008 when a hurricane dumped 12 inches of rain on the arena Friday night through Saturday. The Saturday rodeo had to be canceled.

On Sunday the sky was clear and the arena was basically dry. They ran both Saturday and Sunday events, skipping the Dolly Madison Race, however, because of the storm, almost no one showed up in the stands. The result was a $14,000 loss for the association which was covered by the Mother of one of the members.

A couple of years later, an anonymous donor paid off the loan from the parent but the association was never able to hold another rodeo.

As of 2018, the association continues to exist, doing small fund raisers to help some local charities, but is expected to dissolve in the next year or two.

Association Histories