Balls & bulls

2 gay sports groups have 2 big weekends planned — and you’re invited

Rodeo5

LEARN THE WAYS OF THE HORSE | This weekend kicks off the Oak lawn Tennis Association’s 33rd season, and next week the TGRA begins a new tradition: A rodeo school.

There will be no lack of action this weekend. No, this isn’t about a successful night of Grindr-ing. All the action will either go down on a court or off a horse. The Oak Lawn Tennis Association (OLTA) and the Texas Gay Rodeo Association (TGRA) kick off their respective seasons over the weekend — in big fashion.

OLTA invites the community to “Friends of Tennis,” which marks the beginning of the group’s 33rd season. Tennis enthusiasts of all levels are encouraged to come out for the three days of mingling and playing and introduction to OLTA.

A mixer at Woody’s on Saturday at 7 p.m. starts everything off, with opportunities to learn more about the association. For those itching at the bit to get on the court, play begins Sunday morning at the L.B Houston Tennis Center with the annual Promiscuous Doubles play at 9 a.m. The open court allows for all players to mix it up between various levels of experience.  Lunch will be served after court time winds down.

L.B. Houston is located at 11225 Luna Road.

For more information, visit OLTADallas.org.

The TGRA’s big weekend isn’t until March 2–4, with its annual Texas Tradition Rodeo in Fort Worth, but the cowboys are busy this weekend when the Rodeo Roundup hits the Hidden Door on Feb. 25, starting at 2 p.m. But it’s the following Friday when things heat up.

This is the first year the association will hold a rodeo school for competitors wanting a refresher and for anybody else interested in rodeo events. Yes, anybody.

“Competitors can work with instructors on techniques as a sort of refresher course,” rodeo director Dan Nagel says. “But if someone’s never competed and always wanted to, they can come on in too and work with a champion.”

People can take courses on junior bull riding, chute dogging, calf roping on foot and steer decorating. And they’ll be in good hands. Every instructor is an experienced rodeo athlete and likely has a few awards to his or her name. Once a class is completed, students can sign up to enter the competition.

Like any class, there are some prerequisites. For newbies wanting their inaugural ride. they must first register with the appropriate rodeo association. Locals can sign up with TGRA while out-of-towners need to apply with their area organization (most chapters are expected to be at the rodeo). A mandatory safety class is offered, too. Classes are $15 each or $50 the whole she-bang. Other than that, Nagel says the only advice is to dress accordingly.

“Wear cowboy boots, jeans and a long-sleeve shirt,” he advises. “A hat is OK to wear at school but certain events require long sleeves and a hat. If they come in without it, they’re disqualified.”

After classes are over, the events and performances begin March 3 at 9 a.m. at the Will Rogers Arena in Fort Worth. The Chris Brade

Band, the Austin Babtist Women and the Free Ho Lay Sisters provide entertainment throughout the weekend. As a nonprofit, TGRA donates proceeds from the rodeo to various charities and has donated more than $2 million to Texas agencies.
For more information, visit TGRA.org.

— Rich Lopez

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition February 24, 2012.

—  Kevin Thomas