Courting the voters for the title of emperor

Man, woman vying for emperor of United Court of the Lone Star Empire continue organization’stradition of fundraising

DAVID TAFFET  |  Staff Writer taffet@dallasvoice.com

Jimmie Tucker is running against Terry Youdan to become Emperor XXXVI of the United Court of the Lone Star Empire. If Tucker wins, this will not be the first time a woman has become emperor.

Youdan explained that candidates run for the position they’re most comfortable filling, and that the Fort Worth court has had a lesbian couple serve as emperor and empress.

No one is running for empress this year in the Dallas court.

According to UCLSE President Don Jenkins, the court will probably have a regent empress, appointed by the board, to serve in that position.

Jenkins estimated that UCLSE stages shows at least 40 weeks a year, including multiple shows some weeks. And, he added, the court has given in the neighborhood of $1 million to a variety of organizations through the years.

Each emperor and empress is required to attend at least five of the six coronations held by other courts in Texas. They must also attend at least three out-of-state coronations.

The group is active with other organizations, like the Texas Gay Rodeo Association. Jenkins was recently grand marshal of TGRA’s Big D Rodeo.

Serving as emperor can become expensive. Jenkins followed his husband as court royalty. He estimates that they spent $40,000 during their reigns traveling to events including more than 30 coronations.

Jimmie Tucker
Jimmie Tucker

Jimmie Tucker
Tucker has been a member of the court for four years. Previously, she held the National Leather Association title of South Central Leather Woman 2006.

“I just love giving back to the community,” Tucker said to explain why she became involved in the court.

Tucker’s most recent show at the Dallas Eagle netted about $500 that she is donating to Health Services of North Texas.

In addition to performing, Tucker said she and her wife bake Tucker Inn Cookies. She auctions off boxes of Hello Kitty, pink flamingo or high-heeled shoe cookies for $40 to $50 a box.

But despite her love for baking, Tucker said she isn’t sure that “June Cleaver in leather” accurately describes her.

“I’m a leather dyke,” she said. “I’m butcher than some.”

Tucker said that if elected, she would like to see the court do more together as a family.

Tucker participates in Beyond Vanilla and other educational events with National Leather Association.

Terry Youdan
Terry Youdan

Terry Youdan
Youdan also has been a member of the court for four years.

“I love the group,” he said. “I want the opportunity to give of myself and to the community.”

At his shows, he’s been raising money for Youth First Texas, Resource Center Dallas’s nutrition programs and AIDS Services of Dallas.

Youdan said the only Texas city he hasn’t attended coronation in  is Corpus Christi, but he’s been to each of the others several times and is looking forward to visiting the other courts.

As emperor, he would like to add a volunteer coordinator and get the court even more involved with other groups.

He said that they’ve served Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners but he’d like them to do more of that on a regular basis.

Voting
Voting began Oct. 21 at the Hidden Door and continues on Oct. 22 at the Dallas Eagle from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. On Oct. 23 votes can be cast the Gay and Lesbian Community Center from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Anyone living in the empire may vote. That area includes Dallas and all surrounding counties with the exception of Tarrant, which has its own court. Voters must show a drivers license to show county of residence and be of legal age.

The winner will be announced at coronation at the Crown Plaza Hotel on Stemmons Freeway on Oct. 30. The evening is billed “Denim & Diamonds, A Night of Big Band and Country Swing.”


More information is available at DallasCourt.org.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition October 22, 2010

—  Kevin Thomas

92 entries, 35,000 spectators expected for Pride parade

CLICK HERE TO READ SOME PRIDE SAFETY TIPS FROM LGBT LIAISON OFFICER LAURA MARTIN

Tammye Nash  |  Senior Editor nash@dallasvoice.com

Dallas Pride Parade
COLORS OF PRIDE | Resource Center Dallas is one of the many community organizations that usually have a float in the Alan Ross Texas Freedom Parade.

Between 30,000 and 35,000 are expected to crowd into Oak Lawn on Sunday, Sept. 19, for the 27th annual Alan Ross Texas Freedom Parade, Dallas’ annual LGBT Pride parade that this year celebrates the theme, “One Heart, One World, One Pride.”

Michael Doughman, executive director of Dallas Tavern Guild which presents the parade each year, said this week the parade will include about 92 entries. It will travel the traditional route, with entries lining up along Wycliff Avenue and then moving down Cedar Springs Road to Turtle Creek Boulevard before turning left to wind up at Lee Park.
The Festival in Lee Park takes place at the conclusion of the parade.

Doughman said that members of Youth First Texas, once again the parade beneficiary, will lead the way, carrying the parade banner. They will be followed by a color guard consisting of former military servicemembers from the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, and then a mounted color guard provided by the Texas Gay Rodeo Association.

Then comes the “VIP section,” which will include grand marshals Paul Lewis and Erin Moore, Houston Mayor Annise Parker as honorary grand marshal, and then local city and county officials, such as Police Chief David Brown, Fire Chief Eddie Burns Sr., members of the Dallas City Council and Sheriff Lupe Valdez.

“We understand that Mayor Parker’s son will be riding in the parade with her, and I think by now everybody knows that [Democratic gubernatorial candidate] Bill White will be walking with the Stonewall Democrats in the parade,” Doughman said.

“I think most of the entries will probably follow our theme this year, which is really all about unity,” he added. “This theme matches the goal of our parade and our community, which is unifying our community and our people.”

Doughman said there is “nothing really new” about the way the parade will happen this year.

“We just work to make it run as smoothly as possible and take out any hiccups or delays. We just want to keep it moving as smoothly and steadily as possible down the road so that the spectators are entertained,” he said.

There will, however, be something new for the Festival in Lee Park. Food services during the festival this year will be handled exclusively by Brinker, the parent company for restaurant chains On The Border, Chili’s and Maggiano’s.

“We really liked the idea of having these recognizable brands out there for the food. We think it is a real step up,” he said. “We think they will do very well, and on top of that, they have agreed to give us a portion of their proceeds to give back to our beneficiary.”

This means there will be a “much larger” food and beer pavilion in the upper part of the park, giving those attending the festival better and quicker service, Doughman said.
Voice of Pride top finishers Mel Arizpe, Laura Carrizales and Juliana Jeffrey will perform during the festival, as will Anton Shaw and her band.

Derek Hartley of “The Derek and Romaine Show” on Sirius XM OutQ Radio will emcee the festival.

Thanks to the economic recession and the ever-increasing costs and requirements of staging the event, finances have created some problems for the parade in recent years. This year, though, things are looking up, Doughman said.

“I think we are OK this year. We had some real struggles in 2008, and last year was still pretty tight because of the economy. But we found some extra sponsors this year, and we did well in raising money during the Voice of Pride competition this year,” Doughman said. “Our main goal each year is to be able to give our beneficiary the amount we have committed to and still be able to pay for the parade and maintain the administrative costs of the Tavern Guild through the rest of the year.”

Doughman said the Tavern Guild doesn’t really generate any revenue until the later stages of VOP and then when the entry fees for the parade start rolling in each year. “So we have to balance everything out to have enough money to cover expenses through the rest of the year,” he said.

“Actually, we are paying a lot of the bills that are due this week, and we will be able to pay the balance of the expenses — things like the cost of added security, renting barricades, cleanup and sanitation costs — right after the parade,” he said.

Doughman noted that the city has recently increased the requirements applicants must meet to get a parade permit, but still the Tavern Guild shouldn’t be looking at any red ink when it is all said and done.

“We won’t be rolling in it by any means. But we did see enough light on the horizon this year to go ahead and invest in new flags and flag holders to put up along Cedar Springs. The old flags were so beat up and faded that we didn’t even put them up last year,” he said.

“We never have an excess of money after the parade because the costs of putting it on are so significant, but we should be OK this year,” Doughman said.

One way the Tavern Guild has cut costs, he added, is by not paying to bring in celebrity guests and performers.

“I think people enjoy the day, whether there are celebrities here or not. We just want to give the people a good parade and a good festival and let them have a great time. That’s why they come out in the first place.”

The 27th Annual Alan Ross Texas Freedom Parade begins at 2 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 19.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 17, 2010.

—  Michael Stephens

Big D Rodeo 2010 in Alvarado

Photos by Chuck Dube/Dallas Voice (Marcelo Media)

—  John Wright

Denim ’n drag

How do the hyper-masculine world of leather and the camp of female impersonation find common ground at the rodeo? With surprising ease

Robert Cantrell, co-founder of the leather group Firedancers, and Don Jenkins
NOT THEIR FIRST TIME AT THE RODEO | Robert Cantrell, co-founder of the leather group Firedancers, and Don Jenkins, better known as drag maven Donna Dumae, are the seemingly unlikely grand marshals at the TGRA’s Big D Rodeo this weekend. (Arnold Wayne Jones/Dallas Voice)

In Texas, cowboys are known for their 10-gallon hats. And drag queens are known for the  10-gallon wigs.

The Texas Gay Rodeo Association’s (TGRA) Big D Rodeo 2010 kicks off this weekend in Alvarado, Texas (midway between Midlothian and Cleburne along Highway 67), and as always, there’s a fun mix of boot-stompin’, calf-ropin’ and dress-wearin’ — all in the name of charity.

But the event also highlights a unique confluence of gay culture. This year, the two grand marshals are Don Jenkins (aka drag diva Donna Dumae from the United Court of the Lone Star Empire) and Robert Cantrell (aka Cleo), one of the founders of the Firedancers.
For anyone unfamiliar with the gay rodeo, the mix of drag and cowboys may seem a little counterintuitive, but to co-director Dan Nagel, the Big D Rodeo is the perfect marriage of camp and cattle needed to raise money for local organizations.

“Drag is a huge part of making those charity dollars,” he says. “TGRA is honored to have the support of so many of the other organizations and clubs in Texas, such as the UCLSE. We could not do all the good that we do with the support from our brothers and sisters throughout our communities working together as a team for a common goal: Charity.”

According to Nagel, some of the biggest crowd pleasers at gay rodeo are the “camp events,” which include competition in goat dressing, steer decorating and the ever-popular wild drag race (one rope, one steer and a man in drag — what could possibly go wrong?).

But the Big D Rodeo also features plenty of serious competitive sports you’d find at many traditional rodeos, including bull and steer riding, team roping, barrel racing and calf-roping on foot. And the skills it takes to succeed don’t depend on sexual orientation or dexterity with a curling iron.

In his 13 years with the International Gay Rodeo Association, six of which he’s worked with TGRA as well, Nagel has participated in six to eight gay rodeos per year on both sides of the proverbial fence, with a hand in everything from rough stock and speed events … and his share of camp demos, just for good measure.

“The rush you get is incredible,” he says. “Like any sport, the thrill is to compete and compete well.”

“We have a great lineup of live music, from Nashville and Texas both, a vendor market, great food, beer, and cocktails,” Nagel continues, “and cowboys and cowgirls from all over the country.”

So pretty much, something for everyone.

“It’s a party-like atmosphere with western lifestyle and heritage that come with all the rodeo hype,” he says.
And the fact the leather and drag communities come out for it proves that the stereotype of the dour, hetero Texas cowboy is just that.

Yup.

— Steven Lindsey

……………………………………….

Big D Rodeo calendar of events

Friday
9 a.m, — Horse stall check-in begins
Noon–3 p.m. — Barrel exhibition runs
6–9 p.m. —Registration
6–10 p.m.: Diamond Dash Jackpot Barrel Race
8–11 p.m.: Diamond W Expo; Homo rodeo.com meet and greet; live music and entertainment.

Saturday
9 a.m. — New contestant registration
10 a.m. — Rodeo performance
1 p.m. (approximately) — Grand Entry
Afternoon — Rodeo performances
2–4 p.m. — Expo; entertainment
7 p.m.–? — Expo, with live music by Weldon Henson and James Allen Clark

Sunday
10 a.m. — Rodeo performances
1 p.m. (approximately) — Grand Entry
Afternoon: Rodeo performances
2–4 p.m. — Expo; entertainment
8 p.m. — Expo; dinner and awards.
Diamond W Arena, 8901 E Highway 67, Alvarado. 214-346-2107. TGRA.org

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

—  Kevin Thomas

Next month’s Big D Rodeo in Alvarado to feature James Allen Clark, Big Diamond Dash barrel race

At Big D Rodeo
James Allen Clark

The Texas Gay Rodeo Association’s Big D Rodeo is coming up in less than a month, and GayCowboyCentral.com has made the video below to promote the event.

The rodeo will be Sept. 10-12 at the Diamond W Arena in Alvarado. In addition to all the usual fun — the Wild Drag Race, the Goat Dressing, the bull riding and the chute dogging and more — James Allen Clark will be on hand to perform his debut single, “If I Didn’t Know Better.” Go out to his website to hear the song. I did, and it’s quite good.

The rodeo opens Friday with exhibitions from noon to 3 p.m., and the Big Diamond Dash Open 5D Barrel Race, with $1,000 in added money, at 6 p.m.

—  admin

Big D Rodeo — Texas Gay Rodeo Association

[youtube r-SuPBKQc9g youtube]

—  John Wright

Gay North Texas cowboy Wade Earp wins yet another all-around title; TGRA Dallas plans 2 big events this weekend


Wade Earp wins another all-around title
TGRA member Wade Earp competes in bull riding in a past IGRA rodeo.

North Texas cowboy Wade Earp won the title of All-Around Cowboy during the Greater Mowtown International Rodeo held last weekend, June 25-27. It is, I think, the third time this season that Earp has won all-around honors.

In other gay rodeo news, the Dallas Chapter of the Texas Gay Rodeo Association has two big events planned over the holiday weekend.  The “Cowboys, Jocks and Leather” underwear auction is on Saturday, July 3, at Dallas Eagle, 5740 Maple Ave., with a cocktail mixer at 7 p.m., hosted by GayCowboyCentral.com and with hot dogs and chips provided by the Eagle Bears. The main event starts at 8 p.m.

Then on Sunday, July 4, the Dallas TGRA chapter presents the 22nd annual Miss Firecracker Pageant, starting at 9 p.m. at Illusions Bar, 4100 Maple Ave.

Check the Dallas chapter’s schedule here.

And don’t forget that the Big D Rodeo is coming up Sept. 10-12 at the Diamond W. Arena Complex in Aledo. Go here for more info.

—  admin

Party like it's 1979! Best Friends Club hosts 'Disco Dancing at the Red Neck Yacht Club'

Disco
Get out those dancin’ shoes and get ready to shake your groove thing!

Nancy Peoples is hosting “Disco Dancing at the Red Neck Yacht Club” on Saturday night, May 8 at Best Friends Club, 2620 E. Lancaster in Fort Worth, and proceeds benefit AIDS Services of North Texas.

There will be a show from 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., and the Texas Gay Rodeo Association will be firing up the grill on the patio at 8 p.m. to cook up some grub for the dancers.

So head on over to enjoy an early show, eat a bit, drink a little and dance the night away!

—  admin