Shine your boots, slap on a pair of Wranglers, and be prepared to tip your 10-gallon hat—all with a little flair, of course. Over the Fourth of July Weekend, the annual North Star Regional Rodeo is coming to Dead Broke Arena in Hugo, Minnesota, about a half-hour north of the Twin Cities.
North Star Gay Rodeo Association (NSGRA), which has been around since 1989, is dedicated, in part, to supporting the local community through events such as the rodeo.
“The North Star Gay Rodeo Association is an all-volunteer, nonprofit GLBT group that celebrates, with pride, our Western heritage, while building a stronger community,” according to Billy Case, who has been involved with rodeos for at least 15 years, and riding horses since he was 4.
Fellow competitor Daniel Van Wyk promises that attendees can expect to be dazzled by the array of activities set to take place, including, in his words, “a full rodeo, complete with bucking horses, roping cowboys, speedy cowgirls, good food, and great people-watching. Come and dance on a real wood dance floor, watch a steer get decorated, and pick up a souvenir or two.”
Wyk, who has been a member of the International Gay Rodeo Association for 15 years, notes that rodeo has become increasingly popular the past several years in terms of attendance, charitable donations, and community exposure.
For instance, NSGRA participated in this year’s Grand Old Day Parade in St. Paul.
“We passed out nearly 2,000 cards to interested spectators from all walks of life, including Senator Norm Coleman,” Wyk points out. “We believe in reaching out to everyone.”
That applies to the upcoming rodeo, as Wyk explains that anyone who wants to celebrate America’s Western heritage with a little extra GLBT kick should come to the rodeo.
As Wyk remarks, “It is vitally important that the GLBT community have a wide variety of venues in which to celebrate ourselves. We come from all backgrounds, and in order to be a healthy and whole community, we need to continue to show people we come from all walks of life, and embrace our roots, while still celebrating who we are.”