By Staff Reports

Event intended to choose Dallas’ ‘ambassadors’ to represent LGBT community at gay travel trade shows

The Dallas Tavern Guild, in collaboration with the International Gay Tourism Association, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation and other sponsors, will hold a cocktail reception Wednesday, Feb. 27, from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Round-Up Saloon, to kick off the Tavern Guild’s "Hottest Cowboy" contest being held later that evening at the nightclub.

Michael Doughman, Tavern Guild executive director, explained that the organization holds the contest each year to find spokesmodels to represent Dallas’ LGBT community at trade shows during the year.

"They go to the two major trade shows, the ILGTA show and the Community Marketing show," Doughman said. "They wear Western wear and they work the trade shows. They go to the social events and the cocktail parties. They socialize and mingle."

Doughman acknowledged that the winners are chosen initially for their looks. But, he said, they have to have "looks and brains" to do the job.

"These boys work the trade shows with their shirts off, so we’re looking for good bodies," he said. "But we are also looking for bright, well-spoken men. They are ambassadors of our city. And once they are chosen, they are given information to study on Dallas and LGBT statistics.

"We just turn them loose at these receptions and they talk to people and tell them about the Dallas nightlife and the GLBT community and its involvement in the city," he added. "It’s be so successful each year because these men are attractive, but they are also well-versed. They do their homework."

Doughman said the contest is still open to competitors, with applications available at the Round-Up. Winners will get free trips to the ILGTA show in Las Vegas and to the CMI show in Vancouver, Canada.

Doughman also said that the party and contest are themselves "a feather in our cap," with representatives from several national organizations coming to Dallas to attend.

The reception will include cocktails, snacks and a raffle, in which each of the sponsoring organizations will give away travel-related prizes, such as hotel packages, airfare and more.

Organizations participating, in addition to the Tavern Guild, the Round-Up, IGLTA and GLAAD, are American Airlines, Wyndham International, the North Texas GLBT Chamber of Commerce, Travelocity and Pink Banana Media.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition February 22, 2008

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