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
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
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
"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: www.argra.org