North Texas is the heart of rodeo country -- but this weekend brings a three-day event that's like no other Lone Star rodeo. It's called the Texas Tradition -- it's the annual competition sponsored by the Texas Gay Rodeo Association.
The Texas Gay Rodeo Association has been organizing rodeos for more than 30 years.
“We have some of the same events that you see at a normal rodeo, like bull riding, team roping, shoot dogging and all that,” said Dan Nagel, the association director. “It’s a real rodeo, but we add a twist to it. It adds some camp and makes it fun.”
Those campy twists include events like goat dressing, where teams race to put underwear on a goat, and drag racing, where a person dressed in drag must mount a bull as quickly as possible.
Nagel says they’re not events a cowboy can really train for.
“If you’re lucky enough and you’re not the first one out, you get to watch how it’s done,” he says.
Though the rodeos have been going on for decades, evolving attitudes toward same-sex marriage has helped the association. Nagel says he’s been seeing more straight, gay-friendly attendees and contestants at the Texas Tradition, which has made for an inviting atmosphere.
“You’ll have your typical cowboy, typical cowgirl ... and then you’ll have a drag queen in the audience,” he says. “There’s nothing to hide. It’s different from ‘can I walk down this street and hold hands with my partner?’”
Explore the history of gay rodeo from the International Gay Rodeo Association.