LSR Journal: 2 of a kind — but different

Paul Cross and Jim McCoy were single when they each started volunteering for Lone Star Ride Fighting AIDS; now as a couple, their dedication is renewed

Paul Cross, left, and Jim McCoy

M.M. Adjarian  |  Contributing Writer
editor@dallasvoice.com

If ever two people exemplified the idea of “different strokes for different folks,” it’s longtime Lone Star Ride Fighting AIDS supporters Paul Cross and Jim McCoy.

Each man loves to cycle, especially if he’s with the other. But as for the individual approaches Cross and McCoy take to bike riding — that’s another matter entirely.

Both men have either participated in or donated to the LSRFA since 2001, the year the ride began. In that inaugural ride, when both were still single, Cross served as a pit crew volunteer and McCoy cycled.

By 2003, however, the two bachelors had become life partners and rode together in LSRFA as a couple. Their commitment to each other took top priority after that.

“We had been meaning to get back to it [the ride] over the last three or four years,” says McCoy, a consultant in healthcare IT. “It’s just one of those things we had in common — our [desire to help] the community.”

Shared goals have made for a strong union between the two men. But it’s the differences that have kept their relationship consistently interesting. Take, for example, their divergent cycling styles.

“[After we got together,] people kind of laughed at us: They called us the Tortoise and the Hare,” McCoy says. “When I want to go fast, Paul goes slow. And then when Paul wants to go fast, I want to go slow.”

These differences in style translate into differences in perspective. If McCoy tends to be the one more eager to get from one point to another as quickly as possible, his partner takes special pleasure in smelling the proverbial roses along the way.

“I like to just ride and look around and just watch everything,” says Cross, a banker.

“But then when we get to a hill, I’m the one with the energy,” he adds with a certain smugness.

The behavior these 40-something partners display in the saddle could not be more dissimilar. Yet both men are alike in how they carry exceptionally painful memories of the devastation HIV/AIDS wrought in the gay community.

“One of the things I’ll remember throughout my life is when This Week in Texas came out and there were no obituaries to report,” says McCoy. “That was in the late 90s. For a long time [before that], you had pages and pages of obituaries.”

What they saw in the dangerous decades of the 1980s and ’90s has served as the impetus behind their participation not only in the LSRFA, but in other HIV/AIDS-related causes such as Cheer Dallas and the AIDS Life Walk.

“We’re not ‘going out’ people,” admits Cross.  “But where there’s a fundraiser or event, we’re definitely there.”

The Tortoise and the Hare still haven’t decided how many miles they’ll be doing together in this year’s Lone Star Ride Fighting AIDS: Tortoise says 180 and Hare says 150. Regardless of how far they plan to pedal or the approach each will take to reach the finish line, both are united in their belief that they’re cycling for a cause that matters.

Says McCoy, “With the way the economy is, there are a lot of people who need a lot of assistance. Programs are constantly getting cut.”

“Everyone seems to have put [HIV/AIDS] on the back burner like it’s not out there anymore, but it is,” adds Cross. “And we still need to raise awareness.”

Lone Star Ride Fighting AIDS will be held Sept. 24-25. To donate to an individual rider, to a team or to the Ride itself, go online to LoneStarRide.org.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 2, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

‘Drag Race’ tour hits S4 this month

As anyone who watches the show knows, one of the perks of winning RuPaul’s Drag Race is that the victor gets a victory lap … around the country. Raja will come to Dallas as part of the Drag Race/Absolut Vodka Tour later this month — on my birthday, no less. (Hold the applause.)

The tour kicks off in Denver on the 14th and goes to eight cities; the only Texas stop will be at Station 4 on Wednesday, May 26.

In addition to Raja, other queens from the show (names are not yet available) will be on hand, as will Absolut mixologist Justin Winters. We’re holding out hope someone from the “Pit Crew,” pictured, will make it, too. Sigh.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

LSR Journal: Because by working together, we can make a difference

CAMERON THOMPSON Texas Casino Parties

The core group of LSR volunteers from Texas Casino Parties. Cameron Thompson is fifth from the right on the back row.
The core group of LSR volunteers from Texas Casino Parties. Cameron Thompson is fifth from the right on the back row.

I joined the Lone Star Ride after hearing one of my best dealers at Texas Casino Parties talking about it for a few years.

She had continuously talked about how important it was to her and how much fun it was.

I had been involved with March of Dimes for some years and each time I asked, she and other members of the Texas Casino Parties family always stepped-up, raised money and participated with me in that effort. So it was a no-brainer for me to step-up and participate with her.

Being a straight man, I knew about HIV/AIDS. But I had never really thought about how it affected me, my life, my family or what I considered to be my community. And then Lone Star Ride came along.

In stepping-up to support one of the dealers, we started with something simple and donated a casino party fundraiser for the Ride with Pride team. Many members of our dealer team volunteered their time and ended up donating money to the cause.

It was evident that our Texas Casino Parties family found some connection to the Lone Star Ride organization. My wife and all the rest of us that participated that first year at the party and on the ride had a blast and were ready to sign on for another year — and did.

We are happy to report that this will be our third year participating in Lone Star Ride.

Each year, the participation from the TCP family increases. In addition to donating the annual casino night event, an increasing number of dealers (we call them owners of the company) sign up to participate as riders, sweep, bike transport, pit crew, moto and administration. And this year, we now have representation on the medical team.

To say I’m glad that I have the opportunity to participate in Lone Star Ride would be correct. It’s a lot of fun, you get to meet great people, and best of all, support the community.

To say I’m proud to know that people I work with will step up and support each other in whatever their favorite cause may be would be an understatement. The Lone Star Ride is an amazing example of what can get accomplished when everyone works together.

To donate to Lone Star Ride Fighting AIDS, go online to LoneStarRide.org.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 10, 2010

—  Kevin Thomas