Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Famous Gay Cowboys In Your Neighborhood

Well, maybe not famous, exactly. Or actually a cowboy. Really just cowboy drag for three days a year in fact.

While at the ARGRA Gay Rodeo this summer, I was approached by a woman who said she was a reporter from a German newspaper and she'd like to feature Aaron and me, along with a few of the other contestants, in a story she was writing for Germany's most widely read weekly newspaper Die Zeit.

I had a great time chatting with Anne Haeming about the rodeo and why I've kept coming back every summer for the past 7 years.

Anne's article has finally been published! Running it though Google Translate made it a little choppy but still super cool!

Anne's little write-up about the article is on her website along with some pretty good pictures she took.

Anne has linked to a PDF image of the page from Die Ziet as well, which looks really terrible if you pop it into Google Translate.  Here is the roughly translated text from the PDF:

The Beard, the morning at eight clock
legs next to the white
Hut with the inscription "Rodeo
Office "is, it apparently wants to know:
dusty cowboy boots, bumpy
Jeans, thumbs in the belt loops,
Country Shirt, Lasso over his shoulder,
sturdy gloves in the potash and a Stetson
- In Flamingo Pink. "I dress just as if
I want to look like a cowboy, "says Greg Smid.
In other words, once a year, for the Rodeo in Strathmore,
50 km east of Calgary, 180 east
the Rocky Mountains, Alberta. "I'm just
a City Cowboy from Edmonton, "says Smid, and
his Aviator Sunglasses reflects the blue sky
and the glaring light, the air smells of warm
Stall. The lawn next to the arena is full with tents
and campers. 110 amateur athletes from Canada,
some US states and even from Australia,
2,000 spectators, dozens of helpers - so much was
never going at the annual competition of Alberta
Rockies Gay Rodeo Association (ARGRA).
"There are so many misconceptions about Gay
Rodeo, despite Brokeback Mountain, "says Rodeo Director
Janie Van Santen. "Here everyone can join in
"Homo, hetero, bi - matter. The Canadian with
the Pocahontas Mane leaning on railing next to the
Arena and slurps on a willow green water ice.
They watched as a couple of cowboys and cowgirls
are on horseback busy a herd cattle
from one output to the other pilots. "Unlike
the traditional Rodeo allowed us all
do everything: women riding bulls and bulls, Men
occur in barrel racing on, "is to say, with the horse
riding around three tonnes, rather than traditional
Rigmarole applies. There are 13 disciplines over the
traditional Rodeo, playful three of them: the goat
dressing about where a goat dressed underpants
becomes. "We are concerned with equal opportunities, we
want to break stereotypes, "says the 57-year-old.
Among the contestants Van Santen has almost holy status.
She is, since there are ARGRA, since 1993rd
Athletes whisper that she was the best cowgirl ever.
Her thumb was broken last five, ribs,
Leg, everything was ever broken. Your favorite discipline,
says Van Santen is, chute dogging, "the adrenaline rush
is indescribable. " Then she points to the barred
Start boxes, chutes: A young animal casts its good
700 kg between steel walls back and
ago. Right next to him in the skeleton Greg pressed
Smid to the animal, it grabs the horns. On the
Grilles, front of the box in the arena, all standing tall
focused helpers, referees and athletes. Also
Smids partner Aaron Granley is to recognize the
partner pink Stetson. Try the bull
calm, waiting for Smids "Go!".
Then, suddenly, the gate jumps up, Cowboy
and animal grass intertwined in the Arena,
Smid must be fast now: He has the bull as
throw in karate to the ground. But the animal holds with
his neck muscles on the other hand, it injected it.
Smid remains briefly lying in the sand, stretched out all fours.
The spectators in the stands cheering anyway,
the other athletes yell and applaud, he sprints
back, slipping through a small gate from the Arena,
where Granley awaits him. They bow to each other to
to their brims collide. "Kissing with cowboy hat
we still need to practice, "chuckles Granley.
During the next cowboys and cowgirls
get ready, blaring over loudspeakers the yodel song
from Alpine kitsch movie Sound of Music in the
Arena. The competition rules are similar to the
Ski Jumping:
There are two runs, one on Saturday,
one on Sunday. At the end, the points are
added, and the best athletes in the respective discipline
get a medal around his neck.
The atmosphere is informal. No wonder the
Most meet every few weeks in a competition,
in Denver, Santa Fe or even Strathmore, she
invite each other to weddings, travel together
in vacation, maintain those that are ill. Members Fees
and profits of the events going on
the AIDS, in cancer research. They borrow
their lassos, look, arm in arm, the horses in the
Stables - and try another in the arena to
defeat. Most participants are ranchers, farmers,
at least part time. You snuff tobacco, possess
two, eight, ten cowboy hats, also like 20
Pair boots, piles of Country-shirts and dozens
that belt decorative buckles that made it such
are to draw suggestive glances at the crotch.
But the lack of offspring. The average age
the competitor is 45 years, the membership figures
the clubs fall. More people and
order to attract money, the team led by Janie Van has
Santen this year a three-day parallel Country-
Music Festival off the ground: with Grammy
Winner LeAnn Rimes, four out of five real
Village People and others who not in Europe
Man knows. Tickets cost 160 euros.
The area is made for such a festival.
Just getting from the airport is a single
John Denver Song: from Country Hills Boulevard
right on the Stony Trail, then left the Trans
Canada Highway for half an hour straight line.
Passing flags with cowboys on bucking
Horses at each post, past fields, agricultural machinery
overtaking and pick-ups, from which also
by eight rake, broom three and four blades protrude.

And through the open car window blowing the bittersweet
Smell of hay.
Rodeos can be found here throughout the summer,
several every weekend. The Strathmore
Stampede, the local competition, is considered one
the largest in Canada. The
13 000 inhabitants is part of the municipality
County Wheatland, wheat country.
The emblem can be found ear
and beef, only the winding tower
Missing: The Province
depends on the oil and gas industry,
more stock supposedly have only Saudi
Arabia and Venezuela.
The center consists of a supermarket,
Pizza delivery services, empty shops and a pub called
House of the Rising Suds, about "House of the rising
, Park beer crowns "of Harleys and
Types smoke. "Men with women: Only that is
normal, "grumbles one. "I want nothing to do with the Rodeo
have to do. But it is good for the economy. "The
is the minimum consensus, a decade after Canada
marriage legalized for all. Also at the hotel reception
and in Western Laden: The gay people bring money.
In the early years there were protests. One
Security had committed and led preventive
Crisis talks with the police, the default here
Cowboy hat wearing. Even so it holds Rodeo Director
Van Santen still a miracle that the
Drover Doug Richards, who as every year more
than 100 animals has brought, then the first
Rodeo not hung up the phone when she asked if we could
could do business. "A job is a job," says
Richards, a cheerful old man. "Those are great
People here, but of course there are comments
of colleagues. "The residents of the region
remain the event until today away. On the
Ranks sitting members, friends of the
Sportsmen, evening jostles before
Concert stage with the gay community
open shirts, entwined in
Square Dance.
"When I first heard of Gay
Rodeo heard, I thought: Well fine, as
ride a few drag queens by
Arena, "says Sonny Koerner and laughs.
In addition to his partner Mark Rodeo
Larson he marches with jingling
Spores over terrain toward starting boxes.
For 17 years, the Americans come
together on. With jeans, cowboy hat,
Cowboy boots, tight plaid shirt and flashing
Belt buckles they fulfill all the cliches. Both are
grown on farms in the province, Riding competitions
already belonged to her youth. But with the
Growing up and her coming-out was the
Western life over. Until Koerner years ago at his
first Gay Rodeo was sitting in the stands and it tears
ran down her cheeks. "I caught on that here both
Parts of my identity have space. "Sonny Koerner is
the same turn, bull riding, bull riding, one-handed. He
binds his leather trousers to just grins:
"Tomorrow I'm wearing another. Hey, I want to look good! "
The stories are similar. There's the 23-year-old
from a ranch north of Calgary, in a
Company for agricultural machinery and working long thought:
A friend I can have secret, but a
Woman get married and have children with her, there's no way
be. There's the woman who prefers oxen to the ground
struggling and this discipline is gaining in 3.81 seconds -
their wife she met during Gay Rodeo.
And there's the Rodeo teacher who works in the oil business,
rides on weekends with his horses in the mountains
and says: "I did not know anyone who was gay. And
Then came AIDS, and I thought, who is gay, dying. "
Before it goes to bull riding, fighting in the
Arena teams in the discipline steer deco - a
wearing cowboy hats in pink. The referee whistles,
the gate jumps up, two steers storms out,
from the speakers echoes I Will Survive. Smid and
Granley race around their pet, a hanging per se
the neck, the other attempts, a colorful ribbon on
to fumble the oxtail, again, again
nothing. Then winds the rope from the neck, the
Spectators yell, done! 22 seconds. Too slow.
Beyond the arena, still out of breath,
pushes Aaron Granley his sunglasses up. "The
Types here all look fabulous, "he grins," the
Cowboy Style "just a fetish. Even if they
have not won anything: Greg Smid regrets that
The Rodeo is almost over. "Although we in our daily life
not hide, our shield goes high when
we drive away here, "he says," but it is now just
something. "He said the landslide victory of the Social Democrats
at the provincial election in the spring, which the
Duration rule of arch-conservative Tories in Alberta
has ended after 44 years.
And maybe soon dawns yes more people
Gay Rodeo that the company is way ahead of.
This weekend, the air buzzes with love. Couples,
which have been together for more than 30 years, engaged
spontaneously, ultimately, the US Supreme Court
just marriage for all legalized. Before it back
back, away from the rodeo family, the airport,
towards everyday. About the Trans Canada Highway,
where is past the intersection: Rainbow Road.

More about the event 2016:

Friday, November 15, 2013

Raincoast Crisps Get Me Wet

Well, not actually… although they are incredibly delicious especially with a nice soft cheese to spread on them.  If you’ve never tried them, I highly recommend it.

One of the ads on the in-seat video screen on our flights to and from Mexico last week featured this picture:

Layout 1

I get that Lesley Stowe is proud of her product, but does it look to anyone else like she wants to mount that whole stack of boxes?

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

In which I become a cowboy for a weekend

This past weekend, like every Canada Day long weekend, was the ARGRA gay rodeo down in Strathmore, Alberta.  This year was my sixth year attending, and although it’s always a lot of fun, this year had a bit of a twist: it was my first year competing as a contestant!
2013-06-28 19.56.27
Bright and early Friday morning, Aaron and I got dressed up in our cowboy gear and headed on over to the Rodeo School.  First up was Calf Roping On Foot, and Chuck did a great job getting us started.  The lasso action felt pretty natural after a bit of practice, and I very nearly roped a couple calves during practice.  Unfortunately, “very nearly” was as close as I got all weekend, and I quickly learned why the vets call this event “Throw Your Rope In The Dirt”.

After roping, I got introduced to Steer Decorating, which is a two-person event where one guy or gal reels the steer in with a rope, and the other person gets cow shit all over their hands.  Well, that’s how it worked out for me anyway.  My partner Colin did an awesome job of keeping an incredibly wild steer under as much control as possible, while I fumbled around with trying to tie a ribbon on its tail and got pooped on.  I ended up not competing in Steer Deco, maybe next year…
Last up at school was Chute Dogging, which is a rough stock event where you start in the chute with a fully grown steer (400 to 500 lbs), get it in a headlock, coax it out 10 feet and then flip it over onto its side.  Let me tell you, the steer is not happy about any of this and this year’s batch seemed particularly uncooperative.  I didn’t end up dogging any of my steers this weekend, but god DAMN what an adrenaline rush!!


TJ and I also decided to try our hand at Goat Dressing, and while we weren’t fast enough to get a ribbon, I must say that our goat looked very handsome in his tighty whities.

My favorite thing about competing was the atmosphere behind the chutes and the sense of camaraderie between all the cowboys and cowgirls.  Even though everyone is competing, everyone also genuinely wants the other contestants to do well in their events.  I got amazing support from all the participants.  In particular:
  • Thank you to Jamie, Rob and Kelly for all the support.  There’s no way I would have gotten into that chute with that 500 lb steer if it hadn’t been for their relentless encouragement and advice.
  • Thank you to Scotty and the rest of the Chute Crew for keeping some semblance of order in all the chaos that goes on back there.  You guys kept the show moving along and didn’t give me any time to change my mind!
  • Thank you to the ARGRA Board of Directors.  You guys do an awesome job of putting this all together every single year!
  • This one is going to sound a little strange, but thank you to my amazing boyfriend Aaron for not really introducing me around.  It was his third year competing and he’s already met most of these folks, but by letting me go out and meet everyone on my own, he helped me form my own connections rather than be his tag-along.
The rest of the pictures are posted to Facebook here!

Friday, April 26, 2013


We just finished watching the first two episodes of the NetFlix original series “Hemlock Grove”.  The first episode was interesting, but a little slow; episode two definitely made up for that though.  The ending of episode had one of the coolest, and most jaw-droppingly gruesome monster transformations I’ve ever seen!

Don’t watch this if you’d rather be surprised when you watch the show.  If not, check this shit out!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Cocktails I Have Never Heard Of

So, my folks are spending some vacation time down at their place in Arizona, along with a couple of sets of aunts and uncles.

This text is from my sister-in-law, wondering if Mom can bring her back a few things from AZ.  It sounds like they’re having a good time.



Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Google Reader Bites The Dust

Well, fuck.

RSS never really did catch on with the masses, and I imagine that’s a big part of why Google Reader will be closing up shop on July 1st.  Why maintain a service that’s difficult to monetize and hardly anyone outside of the tech community knows about anyway?  Google Reader is going the way of the dodo as part of a round of what Google is calling Spring Cleaning.

For those of us who ARE in the know and have been using Google Reader (either directly, like me, or indirectly through one of the many apps that syncs to your Google Reader feed like NewsNetWire) for years and love it, the news comes as a pretty big punch to the gut.

Google is offering a way to get your subscription data out as an XML file, but the question is, where do I stick it once I’ve got it?  I guess it’s time to start looking out for some alternate RSS reader.

Any suggestions?

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Well, Look Who Can Buy Me A Beer

Why, it’s Jann Arden’s breakout album “Living Under June”! just released their list of 10 Canadian albums that turned 18 this year, and “Living Under June” is in there along with other blasts from my formative years like OLP’s “Naveed” and BNL’s “Maybe You Should Drive”.

It’s funny how in, say, 1987, the songs from 1969 would be playing on the Oldies radio station.  How weird would it be talk about Naveed as being an ‘oldie’???

Incidentally, Living Under June is still one of my favorite albums.