‘Heroes’ among us

Posted on 04 Nov 2016 at 7:00am

Fort Worth’s Club Reflection wins IGRA national award

club-reflection-customers-and-bartender

For many of its customers, Club Reflection is the place where “everybody knows your name.” That included, on a recent afternoon , from left, Sean Tamboura, Scott Driver, bartender Rusty Bowlin and Terence Halpin. (Tammye Nash/Dallas Voice)

 

tgra-trans-yellowClub Reflection in Fort Worth has earned the International Gay Rodeo Association’s Hometown Hero award, the most prestigious recognition  IGRA gives to non-members.

TGRA member Jason Bernard said he nominated the owners of the bar for the award, because since they opened six years ago, they’ve always offered their space to any group raising money for a community group or charitable cause.

TGRA member and Club Reflection fan Nancy Peoples said owners John Garska and Kevin Barnett created a welcoming environment when they opened the bar and maintain that with their presence in the bar.

“We call it the Fort Worth version of Cheers,” she said. “The bartenders know your name and they know your drink.”

That personal attention extends to care about the community.

“If you’re raising money, you can raise money for breast cancer or colon cancer or for your organization,” People’s said.

Garska said he appreciates his customers and is happy to make his venue available for them to raise money. But he and co-owner Barnett, who are reluctant to talk about themselves, do more than just open their doors.

“They would say, ‘Whatever you make, we’ll match,’” Peoples said.

Club Reflection isn’t just the home bar for the rodeo, but also for the Trinity River Bears and Cowtown Leathermen.

Peoples said the bar welcomes each of the groups equally and, she added, Club Reflection’s owners and staff are always out in the community ,supporting what’s going on. After the Pulse massacre, she noted, Celebration Church held a memorial and Garska and Barnett were there.

When TGRA hold its finals, Garska and Barnett attend and sponsor buckles.

In his letter nominating Club Reflection for the award, Bernard wrote, “Cowboys and cowgirls from across the state call Club Reflection their home bar; for their drinks and staff, TGRA fundraising efforts and John’s great dance floor. They love supporting their Fort Worth community … whether Kevin is singing karaoke with their bar patrons, stopping by another local bar to show support or bowing their heads in prayer, standing unified in our community church as one, Kevin and John have also been extremely generous the last couple of years opening their doors and hearts by doing fundraisers for the World Gay Rodeo Finals and IGRA.”

Garska and Barnett aren’t just bar owners, Bernard said, they are proud supporters of gay rodeo and the LGBT community as a whole. Their club, he said, is the home of the Texas Gay Rodeo family as well as rodeo-goers and volunteers across North America.

— From Staff Reports

 

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