hey cowboy

It Doesn’t Take Much to Understand the Appeal of Gay Rodeo


What is it about the rodeo that gays find so appealing? Is it all the machismo on display? The cowboy boots? The tight-fitting jeans? All that bucking and screaming? Ahhh, we get it now! In two weeks, the Nevada Gay Rodeo Association’s 13th Annual BigHorn Rodeo hits Las Vegas and is expected to attract some 1,500 spectators for “bareback bronc and bull riding, speed, roping, comical events and other activities” over the Sept. 18 weekend. Oh, and there’s a lovely, do-good-y message to go along with it, in case you thought this was merely about staying on top of a bull for six seconds.

[Mr. NGRA 2009 Darren Wernette] added he and other organizers try to make BigHorn a family friendly event where children and their parents are welcomed and have a good time.

“You see it all, but mostly everybody is just has fun,” he said. “People come to the Rodeo because it is something different to do … We, as gay folk, are just the same as everybody else. We do something a little different to raise money and have people get together.”

Because the rodeo is open to everyone, organizers contend it also has served as way to create cohesion between gays and straights.

This year, for example, the Western Heritage and Education, Inc., a non-LGBT affiliated group which also produces rodeos and Western heritage events of its own, has partnered with NGRA to co-produce the barrel race.

“We’ve crossed the hands friendship is what it boils down to; we think,” Buttons Warburton of the WHE said. “To me, people are people, regardless of creed, race or whatever may be … If you have to look at people through a different set of glasses that doesn’t make you a very good person.”