TGRA holds annual meeting in Dallas; Nagel to receive Founders Award

cowboy_butts_1The Texas Gay Rodeo Association’s annual meeting will be held in Dallas this weekend, and while that might sound like a stuffy corporate thingamajig, the cowfolk know how to do it up right.

For example, the main meeting to discuss by-laws and such won’t be held in an office conference center or hotel hall, but inside the Rose Room at Station 4 on Sunday morning. On Saturday morning, committees will be at Sue Ellen’s Vixin Lounge. But even beyond that, there will be plenty of fun, including mixers on Friday night at the Round-Up Saloon and Sue Ellen’s, a bachelor/bachelorette auction and barbecue at the Hidden Door on Saturday night.

Another good thing about it being held here is Dallas chapter chair Dan Nagel will receive TGRA’s Founders Award, the top honor awarded by the group, for embodying the values and mission of TGRA, which has contributed more than $2.7 million to charity over the course of its existence. 2013 marks the organization’s 30th year.

Members from the five chapters — Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, Austin and San Antonio — will be in town for the event, so if you see a surplus of Tom Lamas, well, you know why. Say howdy!

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Thanksgiving meals served Wed. at Resource Center, Thurs. at Round-Up

Local AIDS service providers are offering Thanksgiving meals before the holiday, and the Texas Gay Rodeo Association and the Round-Up Saloon are making sure everyone gets a holiday meal on the holiday.

AIDS Interfaith Network‘s Daire Center provided a big holiday meal last weekend and another today.

For Resource Center Dallas, Wednesday is the day of the holiday meal. RCD has a daily lunch program on weekdays but the Thanksgiving lunch will be elaborate and open to the public.

“It’s longer than normal because demand is increasing every year,” RCD Communications and Advocacy Manager Rafael McDonnell said.

McDonnell said they will not be checking client IDs and everyone is welcome. Lunch will be served in the Rainbow Room where the program normally takes place — with coffee and desert in the Color Rooms.

“We have 12 turkeys, our own cornbread dressing and other traditional sides,” he said.

TGRA is serving Thanksgiving dinner at the Round-Up Saloon on Thursday. That dinner is open to the public.

“We wanted to do something special for the community,” said TGRA President Butch Compton.

He said he contacted AIN and RCD to tell them to send their clients. About 400 people are expected at the Round-Up.

Compton said everything’s donated. On Wednesday, volunteers are picking up pieces of the meal to prepare and cook at home. He said he has 30 turkeys, nine hams, 25 pies, 100 cupcakes and lots more. Donations of food are not needed but cash donations to help defray the costs are welcome.

“We reached out to friends and family,” Compton said.

Any money that doesn’t go toward the meal, he said, would go to RCD, AIN or Legacy Counseling Center.

Volunteers are still needed. To volunteer, send an email to Compton.

—  David Taffet

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

Victoria, victor

Michael Fulk, aka Victoria Weston, basks in the warmth of an IGRA title

!Victoria-Weston-Miss-IGRA-2012_img4619

RIDE ’EM COWGIRL! Victoria Weston brought the IGRA title back to Dallas with her win last month in California. (Terry Thompson/ Dallas Voice)

STEVEN LINDSEY  | Contributing Writer
stevencraiglindsey@me.com

In 25 years of International Gay Rodeo Association pageants, the top honors have only been won by a contestant from the Texas Gay Rodeo Association three times — one of which was late last year, when Michael Fulk’s alter ego Victoria Weston walked away with the Miss IGRA 2012 crown, a first for Dallas and a victory decades in the making.

“I have been dressing in female attire ever since I could open my mom’s closet door,” Fulk laughs.

His drag career started in earnest, however, at a Halloween ball in St. Louis in 1988. One month later, he was doing his first fundraiser, “and within a year I had moved to New York City,” he says.

After many successful years as a full-time entertainer in New York City, Fulk returned to Dallas shortly after Sept. 11, 2001.

“My career switched upon my move,” he explains. “In NYC, I was an entertainer full-time and a hair and makeup artist part time. Now I am a full-time hair and makeup artist, makeup coach and educator for Artistic Salon Spa across from NorthPark. Entertainment was relegated to a passion rather than the breadwinner part of my life.”

But that didn’t stopped Fulk from competing and performing in drag — a description he’s proud to wear.

“We are all born naked, everything that comes after that is drag, honey!” he laughs. “Drag comes in all shapes and sizes: leather drag, business drag, casual, cowboy, club kid … the list is endless. I have no issue being called a drag queen, female impersonator, illusionist, yadda, yadda, yadda. If that size 11 pump fits and looks fabulous, I wear it. For the most part, though, when people around me speak of what I do, more often than not they simply refer to me as an entertainer.”

Victoria Weston stands out among many other drag performers because rather than lip sync, she sings live.

“The entertainers from before Stonewall were live,” Fulk explains. “Some sang, some danced, some stripped, but back then there wasn’t as much syncing and/or surgery as today. I think I am a throwback to that era. I am first and foremost closely related to the big band singer. That is my passion, whether it is blues, jazz, Broadway or standards.”

Since returning to Texas, Fulk has upped the quotient of country-western and pop music in Victoria’s act.

“I have heard people say my singing style resembles Shirley Bassey and I have always been compared to the look of Ann-Margret. I couldn’t ask for better comparisons. I’ll take both of those as high compliments,” he says.

Still, he insists, it’s best not to take himself too seriously.

“I take the illusion I portray serious enough to not make it a joke. I don’t want to be insulting or a cartoon of a woman. Every time I sit down to bring Victoria to life I view my job as putting together an ideal,” Fulk says. That means Victoria “doesn’t drink, smoke or do drugs. Old Hollywood glamour is my mainstay. Even though I am wearing a lot of makeup, hair jewelry, rhinestones, gowns and great shoes, I guess I want to appear to simply be a red carpet version of what I think a woman looks like: Totally put together. Besides that, I like to think of Victoria as a grounded, drama-free old soul with a wry sense of humor and a heart as big as all outdoors.”

Perhaps it’s this philosophy and a healthy sense of humor that has kept Fulk from suffering a fate foretold years ago by his drag mother from St. Louis, Miss Tracy.

“God rest her soul, [she] told me to be ready for a lonely life. She said, ‘They are either going to hate you as a drag queen and love you as yourself or they are going to love you as a drag queen and hate you as yourself. And be prepared for lesbians to hate and resent you.’” Fulk recalls. “I have found that to be false on all levels.”

And few things symbolize that overcoming of obstacles better than a really, really big crown.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition January 13, 2012.

—  Kevin Thomas

Jeffrey Payne announced as TGRA Grand Marshal for annual March rodeo

Former International Mr. Leather Jeffrey Payne can add another accomplishment to his resume. The Texas Gay Rodeo Association has announced Payne as its 2012 Grand Marshal for its annual March event, A Texas Tradition Rodeo. TGRA celebrates almost 30 years of gay rodeo and the 2012 event will be held March 2–4 in Fort Worth.

Read the official announcement after the jump.

—  Rich Lopez

Spirit of Giving: LGBT community gets into the holiday spirit

EDITOR’S NOTE: As the holiday season kicks into high gear, the LGBT community of North Texas once again is responding in a variety of ways to help out those who are less fortunate.

This week Dallas Voice profiles five events intended to raise funds or other donations for a number of different causes. But the community’s good will doesn’t end with these events.

If you know of an individual, business or organization that is holding or participating in a charitable holiday event or effort, email the information to editor@dallasvoice.com.

TGRA Dallas’ Hard Candy Christmas Show and Auction

Dan-and-Mark

Mark Gurrola, left, and Dan Nagel

While some local charities have experienced major declines in fundraising due to the bad economy, the Dallas chapter of the Texas Gay Rodeo Association has actually seen an increase, according to President Dan Nagel.

“When I was first elected to the board as the chapter’s state rep four years back, my partner Mark Gurrola and I knew there were opportunities for improvement in our organization that were greatly needed,” Nagel said. “With the condition of our economy, change had to occur. Our first goal was to partner with other organizations and businesses in the Dallas GLBT community. There really was no relationship at that time.

“Secondly, our events needed to be produced and promoted better than in the past. Third, the membership had shrunk and needed to grow,” Nagel said. “We have successfully done all three.”

The new and improved TGRA Dallas will again be on display Dec. 10, when the organization hosts its 25th annual Hard Candy Christmas Show and Auction. This year, TGRA Dallas will again team with the United Court of the Lone Star Empire for Hard Candy Christmas.

Nagel said Hard Candy Christmas was started by TGRA Dallas members Tom Davis and Michael Lee, who produced the first show in 1987. That night, a drag queen named “Boo-tee-La-Tits” took the stage and sang “Hardy Candy Christmas” by Dolly Parton, Nagel said.

This year, hosts and emcees will be Miss International Gay Rodeo Victoria Weston, Miss TGRA Trisha Davis and Empress XXIII Miss Donna Dumae.

“It’s very Christmas themed,” Nagel said. “Most of the entertainers will do Christmas numbers. There will be a lot of live singers. Not all of it is going to be live, but we try to fill this with 50 percent live vocal talents.”

In addition to 20-25 auction baskets, the event will feature a Christmas tree on which bulbs will be sold until it’s completely lit — and maybe even an elf or two, Nagel said.

“We produce this event basically cost-free,” he said. “Our members will, out of their own pockets, go out and buy stuff and put auction baskets
together, so there’s really no expense. I’d say about 99.9 percent of it will all go to charity. “

TGRA Dallas, part of the 29-year-old TGRA, hosts 10 fundraising events each year — or one every four to six weeks, Nagel said. Each year the chapter’s board votes on beneficiaries for the following year’s events.

For 2011, beneficiaries are Health Services of North Texas, Youth First Texas, Texas Legal Hospice, Legacy Counseling Center, Resource Center Dallas, AIDS Services of Dallas, the Sharon St. Cyr Fund and AIDS Interfaith Network.

TGRA is a nonprofit whose mission is to promote the Western lifestyle, produce rodeos and raise money for charity. And when it comes to the latter, Nagel said the Dallas chapter does it best.

“We’re the only chapter out of TGRA that has these big annual events that have a lot of longevity to them,” Nagel said. “I think here in Dallas we’ve been fortunate, because I’ve seen the other chapters fundraising go down the last three or four years, where ours has gone up.”

TGRA Dallas and the United Court of the Lone Star Empire team up for the Hard Candy Christmas Show and Auction at 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 10, at Dallas Eagle, 5740 Maple Ave.

— John Wright

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

—  Kevin Thomas

Ropin’ the wind

As the International Gay Rodeo Finals return to North Texas, we examine the connection between the gay culture and the cowboy way

Cowboy

THE COWBOY WAY | Charlie Colella shows the form necessary to score points at the rodeo, but his favorite event is pole bending, a combination of speed, precision and horsemanship. (Arnold Wayne Jones/Dallas Voice)

ARNOLD WAYNE JONES  | Life+Style Editor
jones@dallasvoice.com

Like a true Texas transplant, Charlie Colella wasn’t born to the rodeo, but he got there as fast as he could.

Even today, at 51, Colella’s family doesn’t quite understand how a boy reared in the Chicago suburbs, who holds down a day job as an office working in corporate America (19 years with Xerox, now with FedEx), now lives on a 12-acre ranch in a small town (population: 1,200) an hour north of Dallas, breeding horses and pursuing his passion for the last 21 years: Ridin’ the rodeo.

In Texas, the connection between mankind and the rodeo is a familiar one. Even in urban North Texas, the Mesquite Rodeo less than 20 miles from Downtown Dallas looms as one of the most celebrated in the country. But Colella’s interest developed while he was living in, of all places, Bakersfield, Calif. — hardly the cliché of Western masculinity.

He has been riding almost as long the International Gay Rodeo Association has been around. “In 1990, I was living in Los Angeles and bored with my life and met these guys from the rodeo,” he explains. “I was a city boy. My folks took us camping and we rode trail horses when I was a kid, but even they said, ‘Where did this come from?’”

Surprisingly, the idea of a gay rodeo didn’t even arise in Texas. The first acknowledged event — a fundraiser to fight muscular dystrophy — took place in Reno, Nev., in 1976. In 1981, the Colorado Gay Rodeo Association had been formed, followed in 1982 by the Texas Gay Rodeo Association. By 1986, the IGRA was formed as an umbrella organization of regional groups, including ones from Canada (hence the “international” designation).

Colella started off his rodeo career big: Riding steer and bulls. That’s where a human sits atop a one-ton wild animal and tries to hold on for eight seconds. Even the best cowboys end their rides being thrown on their asses. “It often was one of the biggest rushes ever!” Colella gushes. Rodeo events have resulted in him suffering a fractured pelvis, a broken foot and a herniated vertebra. He doesn’t ride bulls anymore.

“There’s an old saying: To be a bull rider, you fill your mouth with marbles; every time you ride a bull, you spit out a marble; once you’ve lost all your marbles, you’re a bull rider,” he laughs. “I started with that and rode bulls for a couple years, but I’m a little older and little smarter now, so I don’t do the rough stuff.”

Colella pursues about 11 of the 14 competitions, and he’s qualified for seven events in the IGRA Finals, which take place at the Will Rogers Coliseum in Fort Worth this weekend. (For a complete schedule of events, go here.) The invitational event is considered the capstone of the gay rodeo season.

“Pole bending is the one I get nutted up about. I was sitting No. 1 in it [this year], but I had a bad day last time and someone pulled ahead of me,” he says.

Even with his current slate of events, Colella has had his share of close calls. Just last month, he “had a little argument with a steer,” as he puts it. “I’m not quite sure what happened — I think I got horned,” he says, pointing to a two-inch scar on his forehead smack dab between his eyes. “It was in Kansas City in, of all events, wild drag. My buddy does the drag and the steer got away from us. We caught it and he went around me with the rope. I ducked to keep from being penned and that’s when it happened. It went through my hat, so it could have been worse.”

All in the day of a cowboy’s life.

Or, for that matter, a cowgirl. Gay rodeo has traditionally embraced women in a way that mainstream rodeos have not. In 1989, a woman, Linn Copeland, was appointed to serve out the unexpired term of president of the IGRA, and in 1990 she was elected to another full term. While women’s and men’s events are still kept separate in competitions, Colella for one doesn’t see the women’s branch as being any less competitive: The events are the events, and the skills are exactly the same.

“We’ve had some incredible bulls and some pretty incredible female bull riders. I’d like to see more women get involved — there are like two guys for every girl.

“We compete men against men, women against women, but if we blended it all together some of these women would kick your butt. I was teasing a buddy once that he ‘threw like a girl,’ and did I get my ass chewed out.  I was being unfair — these women can throw a rope. Some of these girls’ll kick your ass!”

Cowboy-2

RIDE’ EM | Corella will compete in 7 of 14 events at the invitation-only IGRA this weekend. (Arnold Wayne Jones/Dallas Voice)

So what keeps men — and women — like Colella coming back year after year?

As a convert to cowboydom, Colella takes it seriously as a lifestyle. Even at work, he dresses daily in a pressed Western shirt, jeans and ostrich-skin boots; he proudly sports an oversized belt buckle, one of perhaps two dozen he has won over the years for his rodeo skills. (“I’ve got every ribbon, every buckle I’ve ever won. A lot of people put a lot of effort into getting that together and that means something to me,” he says.) For him, as gays are fond of saying, it’s a life, not a lifestyle.

“Anyone involved in the rodeo, gay or straight, says it’s a way of life,” he says. “I’m single, and it’s difficult dating living where I live, but I decided I wasn’t gonna sacrifice what I wanted for a guy. I have a great life so I’m pretty happy. This is who I am. It’s what I am.”

The rodeo also gives him a chance to show off his skills behind the scenes.

“It’s a kind of a gratification of how I’ve trained my horses,” he admits of each victory. ”The oldest horse I own is 19 and she’s the mother of another two, so I have bred them myself. You do well, it is a reflection of that. You’re saying, ‘My horse is very talented, and I did that.’”

But, Colella admits, there’s more to getting involved in the gay rodeo than all of that. It’s the sense of community that comes with it.

“Everyone just takes care of you,” he says. “I think it’s important that we all belong to a group, an organization, whether it’s your church or the leather community or the rodeo. IGRA helped me find who I am, helped define who I am. Any club who can bring out who you are [is valuable]. I’ve met so many people from around the country. It’s just amazing the amount of friends who offer support.

“Most of the people in the top 10 or 20 are competitive, but we all want everybody to do well. I wanna win, but I’m gonna root for the next guy and coach him to do just as well.”

Colella is fit and healthy, but now in his 50s, the most he’ll promise about what he’ll be doing five years from now is say he hopes to be upright. But the rodeo grabs ahold of you in a way you can’t fully control.

“There’s a friend of mine in the rodeo who’s over 60 and still doing all the events: He’s still wrestling steer and riding horses,” he says. “We joke that the day he dies, we’re all gonna say, ‘Thank god! Now we can stop,’ because as long as he’s doing it we can’t justifying quitting. But one day, I’ll do other things at home with my horses.”

Like any great movie cowboy, the time’ll come to ride off into the sunset.

But not this weekend. This weekend, there are ribbons and buckles and titles to be won and animals to be tamed. That’s life on the rodeo.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition October 7, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

Cowboy up!

Full schedule of events planned around IGRA Finals Rodeo in Fort Worth this weekend

Cowboy-1

HANGING ON | One of the most popular events in the IGRA Finals Rodeo is bullriding. (Tammye Nash/Dallas Voice)

DAVID TAFFET  |  Staff Writer
taffet@dallasvoice.com

The “best of the best” in the world of LGBT rodeo are coming to North Texas this weekend to dress goats, decorate steers, wrestle steers and ride wild horses and bulls, according to Randy Edlin, president of the Texas Gay Rodeo Association.

A total of 90 competitors will be competing in the 25th World Gay Rodeo Finals, being held Saturday and Sunday at the Watt Arena in the Will Rogers Memorial Center in Fort Worth. They will be representing the 27 local International Gay and Lesbian Rodeo Association affiliates around North America, including two from Texas — Texas Gay Rodeo Association, which has five chapters around the state, and Red River Rodeo Association, based in Aubrey, northeast of Denton.

Edlin said that participation in the IGRA Finals Rodeo is by invitation only. Contestants earn points through the year at regional rodeos, and the top 20 in each event are invited to the World Gay Rodeo Finals.

Edlin will compete in the chute-dogging event, sometimes known as steer wrestling, and in two camp events, the wild drag race and steer decorating.

Dan Nagel, president of the Dallas chapter of TGRA, said the camp events are one of the things that distinguish gay rodeo from traditional rodeo, adding to the entertainment and fun. But the inclusion of the camp events, he said, shouldn’t fool anyone into thinking gay rodeo contestants aren’t as tough as the mainstream rodeo cowboys and cowgirls.

In fact, Nagel said, the caliber of participants in IGRA’s 10 more traditional events are equal to those in any rodeo, and a number of members of TGRA also enter other rodeos.

Another difference between the gay rodeos and mainstream rodeos is that in gay rodeos, men and women may compete in all events.

In mainstream rodeos, you usually only see women competing in barrel racing. In gay rodeos, men race the barrels, too. Chute-dogging is usually a men’s event in the mainstream, but the women are out there wrestling steers, too, at the gay rodeos.

Nagel called those two events two of the most competitive on the circuit.

Gary Miller, owner of Dallas’ Round-Up Saloon who is also a former TGRA president, explained that while men and women compete together in chute-dogging, the top male competitor and the top female competitor both get first place trophy buckles.

Miller encouraged people who might be interested in participating in rodeo come to Fort Worth  to see the sport’s finest athletes and recommended the camp events for those just starting.

“Try goat decorating,” Miller said. “You won’t get hurt and you don’t have to have the skills of riding a horse or roping.”

Nagel agreed that some camp events are great for newcomers. But he called the wild drag race — in which teams of three, with one of the three in drag, work to get their member in drag on a steer and across the finish line in the fastest time — one of the most dangerous events on the circuit.

Miller and his partner, Alan Pierce, have been named honorary grand marshals of the rodeo. Miller joked that it was a role he was getting very used to filling. Two weeks ago, the pair were grand marshals of the Alan Ross Texas Freedom Parade.

“It’s an honor for us since we’ve been involved since the 1980s,” Miller said.

Miller was among founding members of Texas Gay Rodeo Association in 1985 and served as its first president. Pierce helped form the Houston chapter while working at Bayou Landing, a country-western bar in that city.

The couple met through their work with the rodeo and became owners of the Round-Up in 1998. They celebrated their 26th anniversary this year.

Miller said the Round-Up Saloon sponsors five participants by paying their entry fees. He said rodeo can become an expensive sport, especially
for those traveling with their horses.

“It’s a big deal to trailer one in, especially from the coasts,” Miller said.

He said the trip takes several days because they have to stop every few hours to exercise the horses.

Events connected with the rodeo begin at the Crowne Plaza Fort Worth South, the host hotel, on Friday, Oct. 7. The honorary grand marshals will be presented at a dance at the hotel that evening.

The finals rodeo events begin at 8 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 8, then again at 9 a.m. on Sunday, Oct. 9.

“Peak spectator time is noon to 5 p.m.,” Nagel said. “They’ll run slack in the morning.”

“Running slack” means that rather than have all 20 competitors take part in one event twice in one day and declare winners, some of the entries from a variety of events will run in the morning. That way people attending during the peak afternoon hours will get to see the full variety of events.

Winners won’t be named until Sunday evening after each competitor in each event has been scored in that event twice.

In addition to the competitions taking place in the Watt Arena, a vendor area and an entertainment area will be set up in an adjoining building.

Edlin said each regional association has “royalty” — association members who have competed throughout the year and raised money for their associations to claim the Mr., Miss and Ms. Titles — and they will be entertaining throughout the day.

Nagel said that IGRA’s archives of the 35 years of gay rodeo and 25 years of international competition will be on display at the arena as well.

Dance has always been a big part of gay rodeo. Saturday night, a dance competition takes place at the host hotel.

Despite the fact that a Nevada sheriff shut down the finals in 1988 because area residents didn’t want “those type of people” in town, Edlin said the rodeo is a great place to bring kids.

“Gay rodeo is very family-oriented,” Edlin said. “It’s not cut-throat competition.”

Edlin has been involved since 1999.

“Friends took me to a gay rodeo in Calgary and I was hooked,” he said. “I’ve been involved ever since.”

Edlin said gay rodeo is so welcoming and family-oriented that a number of straight people participate in gay rodeo — including his straight son, a two-time Iraq War veteran who competes in chute-dogging and junior bull riding.

Nagel said TGRA has a number of straight members who enjoy the close friendships and fun.

“But the other side of all this is that we give money to the community,” he said.

Last year, the Dallas chapter of TGRA gave $30,000 to eight local groups including Resource Center Dallas and Youth First Texas. This year, he said, they’re already ahead in the amount they’ve collected. They’ll distribute  those funds in March.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition October 7, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

Local briefs • 12.10.10

Minehart leaves Lone Star Ride after three years as event manager

Lone Star Ride Event Manager Dave Minehart has announced he will leave the ride at the end of this month. He has accepted a new position as development director for a nonprofit organization in his hometown, Iowa City, Iowa. He has been in Texas for the past 28 years but over the past seven, his goal has been to move closer to family.

Minehart participated in all 10 Lone Star Rides, the last three as event manager.

Laura Kerr is the incoming board chair. Co-chairs of the ride are John Tripp and Danny Simpson. Tripp co-chaired the ride this year and Simpson has been responsible for fundraising events outside the ride and participated in it for a number of years.

GAIN holding holiday social, taking up donations for Silver Star Room

GAIN, an organization for mature LGBT people, will hold its annual December Social Event Thursday, Dec. 16, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Resource Center Dallas, 2701 Reagan St. Those attending are asked to bring canned food items and personal car items to donate to those at the Adult Protective Services Silver Star Rooms, a facility specifically for people over 65 who have been abused or neglected in their homes. A list of needed items is available online in the GAIN section at RCDallas.org.

GAIN is a program of Resource Center Dallas.

TGRA, UCLSE joining to host Hard Candy Christmas benefit

Texas Gay Rodeo Association of Dallas and the United Court of the Lone Star Empire will host the annual “Hard Candy Christmas” benefit show and auction Saturday, Dec. 11, at Dallas Eagle, 5740 Maple Ave. The evening begins with Christmas Cocktails at 6 p.m., followed by the show and auction at 7 p.m. MCs are Donna Dumae and Trisha Davis.

Broadway star Sam Harris performing benefit concert at CoH

Sam Harris will peform a benefit concert Sunday, Dec. 12, at 7 p.m. in the sanctuary at Cathedral of Hope to raise money for the church’s Interfaith Peace Chapel. Tickets are $20 and are available at the church. For information call 214-351-1901.

Consultant seeking LGBT coming out stories for upcoming anthology

Consultant Sonia Friedrich is looking for LGBT people to contribute their personal coming out stories to the anthology Coming Out: Personal stories that will make you smile, laugh, shudder and cry.

Ideally, stories should be between 300 and 1,500 words, with the maximum length being 3,000 words. Those who haven’t come out can also submit their stories on why they haven’t.

Stories will be edited and can be anonymous.

For more information or to submit a story please contact soniafriedrich@virginbroad- band.com.au.

Friends nightclub hosting ‘Toys for Tots’ benefit in Gun Barrel City

Friends Nightclub, 410 S. Gun Barrel Lane in Gun Barrel City, hosts “Reva’s and Rusty’s Annual Toys for Tots” benefit show Saturday, Dec. 11, beginning at 9 p.m.

The event is held in conjunction with the Family Resource Center and the Gun Barrel City police and fire departments and helps raise money and collect toys for underprivileged children in the Cedar Creek Lake area.

Suggested donation at the door is $5 or a new, unwrapped toys. Tips given to performers during the show will be used to purchase toys to donate as well.

Tarrant County Gay Pride Week holding membership meeting

The annual organizational meeting for Tarrant County Gay Pride Week Association will be held Sunday, Dec. 19, beginning at 3 p.m. at Best Friends Club, 2620 E. Lancaster Ave. in Fort Worth. Topics for discussion include closing out business for 2010, voting on new officers and advisory council members, proposed rules and regulation changes for 2011 and an overview of Prideevents planned for 2011.

The meeting is open to all interested people and everyone signed in at the meeting is eligible to vote. The Miss, Mr. and Ms. HoHoHo contest will be held at 8 p.m. that evening, also at Best Friends. Packets for anyone interested in competing are available at the bar.

Tickets on sale now for Women’s Chorus of Dallas concert at Wyly

Tickets are now available for The Women’s Chorus of Dallas’ first performance of its 22nd concert season, “Love & Light,” being held Sunday, Dec. 19, at 7 p.m. at AT&T Performing Arts Center’s Wyly Theater.

In addition to the children’s choir from Good Shepherd Episcopal School, the concert will also fearture Tony-Award winner Victoria Clark.

Tickets are on sale now from the AT&T Performing Arts Center. To charge by phone, call 214-880-0202 purchase tickets online at attpac.org. Tickets are also available for the after-party with Clark.

Johnson, West co-hosting town hall on upcoming legislative session

State Rep. Eric Johnson and state Sen. Royce West will co-host a Legislative Town Hall Meeting Tuesday, Dec. 14, beginning at 6:30 p.m. at Juanita J. Craft Recreation Center, 4500 Spring Ave.

The purpose of the meeting is to discuss the upcoming 82nd session of the Texas Legislature and how the two lawmakers will work together to address the issues facing their constituents. In particular, their remarks will focus on the process of drawing new Congressional and state legislative districts following the decennial United States Census and the impact of the Texas’ expected budget deficit on services provided by the state.

Following their remarks, the floor will be open for questions and comments.

Additionally, a representative from Baylor’s Diabetes Health and Wellness Institute will present information on community resources available to help fight diabetes. Juanita J. Craft Recreation Center is home to Baylor’s Diabetes Health and Wellness Institute.

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

—  Michael Stephens

Best bets • 11.19.10

Friday 11.19

Girls, comas and dolls — oh my

The Dresden Dolls and Girl in a Coma are perhaps one of the better musical pairings this year. At least for the gay contingent. GIAC rocks out the lesbian in all of us and The Dresden Dolls’ dark cabaret act has been resurrected by Amanda Palmer and Brian Viglione, much to the delight of  the fans who thought their self-imposed hiatus would never end.

DEETS: Granada Theater, 3524 Greenville Ave. 9 p.m. $29. GranadaTheater.com.

………………………………………

Saturday 11.20

So they think they got talent

The Texas Gay Rodeo Association hosts Thanks for the Giving which shakes up your usual talent show. TGRA puts nonprofits to the test who have to put their best entertainer up to lip-sync, dance, drag or whatever for their life. Or at least for some fat cash. The winner of the contest takes it all for their agency.

DEETS: Dallas Eagle, 5740 Maple Ave. 6 p.m.
DallasTGRA.org.

………………………………………

Monday 11.22

How about a pirouette for lunch

The Dallas Black Dance Theatre is going to make your lunch plans a whole lot more interesting this week. Now an annual event, the mini-series called Behind the Scenes offers noontime performances. That is something totally to be thankful for. The first two shows will offer a sneak peek at their December Winter Series. The troupe performs A Rag, A Bone and a Hank of Hair to the music of Earth Wind and Fire on Wednesday.

DEETS: Dallas Black Dance Theatre, 2700 Flora St. Noon. Free. For reservations call 214-871-2390. DBDT.com

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition November 19, 2010.

—  Michael Stephens