YEEHAW!

Strap On A Saddle Because Arkansas’ Gay Rodeo Is Just Getting Bigger and Better

Photo credit: Reuters/Lucy Nicholson
Photo credit: Reuters/Lucy Nicholson

“I wish we didn’t have to have a gay rodeo,” Wade Earp tells Reuters. “I wish we could just rodeo.”

The aptly named Earp competed at the International Gay Rodeo held in Arkansas, a Bible Belt state not known for it’s supportiveness.

Arkansas is one of the 13 states where same-sex marriage is banned and where, earlier this year, lawmakers approved a religious freedom bill that granting private business owners the legal right to deny services.

The bill was eventually vetoed by Gov. Asa Hutchinson, but only after a loud public outcry that included his own son circulating a petition urging his father not to sign the discriminatory law.

Related: These Gay Cowboys Are Living Their Dream And Shattering Stereotypes

But all this still didn’t prevent 75 contestants from a dozen states and Canada from slipping into their leather chaps to participate in the sixteenth Diamond State Rodeo in Little Rock. For two days, LGBT cowboys and girls competed in calf roping, barrel racing and bull riding, all hoping to move onto the International Gay Rodeo 2016 finals in Las Vegas.

“For years, no one would allow us to advertise it,” Sandy Bidwell, president of the Diamond State Rodeo, said, claiming that organizers feared protesters would cause a disturbance. “My attitude is, let them. It’s free advertising.”

This year, signs and banners of large corporate sponsors, including Bud Light and Jack Daniels adorned the arena’s railings (not to mentionand Gun Oil personal lubricant), an indication that, while state lawmakers may be stuck in the past, the rest of the country is moving forward.

“We just want what’s right,” said Earp. “Everybody deserves equal treatment. Everybody deserves equal rights.”

Related: PHOTOS: Take A Trip To Brokeback Mountain With These Rugged Aussie Cowboys

Get Queerty Daily

Subscribe to Queerty for a daily dose of #arkansas #asahutchinson #cowboys stories and more

12 Comments

  • Garold Bulmerr

    sad how old men gets lots young men to be sex pets and not loved

  • Kangol

    No photos, Queerty?

    (Also, it’s = it is. Its = belongs to it.)

  • Anne Rochon

    Rodeo = animal cruelty.

  • Celtic

    “We just want what’s right,” said Earp. “Everybody deserves equal treatment. Everybody deserves equal rights.” I came out 47 years ago this month with my first partner. We have ALWAYS wanted what’s right. This country still has a long way to go.

  • Saint Law

    @Garold Bulmerr: How many sex pets do you have, Garold?

    I’m guessing not many.

  • wpewen

    Whatever rocks your boat. Got to admit, I never understood why gay rodeo caught on so fast around the country years ago. I’ve attended college in CA where rodeo is big, no appeal at all to me.
    There seems to be an element of cowboy fantasy and real actual hard riding stuff going on-myself stopped playing cowboy as a kid.
    Why can’t we have something like gay sportfishing? Personally I do find rodeo cruel and weird, a gift here in the Southwest from our Spanish heritage I can pass on…

  • sacsmt2

    It’s great to see that the Little Rock Arkansas rodeo is still in existence. I won the steer riding event there in 1994, and that championship buckle, along with most of my rodeo gear and buckle collection, was recently acquired by the Autry Western Museum in Los Angeles as part of their IGRA rodeo archives. Congrats to all of the rodeo participants and organizers who kept the rodeo tradition alive in Arkansas for gay and lesbian people.

Comments are closed.