Photo courtesy IGRA
From Staff Reports
The International Gay Rodeo Association’s World Gay Rodeo Finals event returns to North Texas this year, being held Oct. 26-28 at the Mesquite Arena.
The Finals Rodeo will feature more than 100 men and women competing in 11 traditional rodeo events and three “light-hearted but fiercely competitive” camp events that are exclusive to the world of LGBT rodeo, organizers said.
Events will include Bull Riding, Bronc riding, Steer Riding, and Chute Dogging. Speed events will include Barrel Racing, Pole Bending, and Flag Racing. Last, but never least, are the camp events: Steer Decorating, the Wild Drag Race, and Goat Dressing.
IGRA, founded in 1985, is the largest group coordinating rodeo events that specifically welcomes LGBT contestants, as well as hetero contestants, and spectators. IGRA comprises various regional rodeo associations, including the Texas Gay Rodeo Association, and sanctions rodeo events throughout the season, culminating in the World Gay Rodeo Finals event each fall.
Organizers stress that IGRA events allow anyone, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, to compete with discrimination. The organization and its state and local chapters also helps spread appreciation for Western culture and the sport of rodeo, while also raising money for a variety of charitable organizations.
At the state and local rodeos, cowboys and trophy buckles — and points to advance to the finals. At the World Finals rodeo, competitors vie for titles in individual events and for the titles of All-Around Cowboy and All-Around Cowgirl.
LGBT rodeos started out as fundraising vehicles to help organizations in the LGBT and HIV/AIDS communities. While the rodeos have evolved into highly structured and competitive events, more than 30 years later they remain, at their heart, fundraising events aimed at aiding improving those same communities.
For information visit IGRA.com.