“We’re chomping at the bit to get going,” says Adam Romanik, president of the Keystone State Gay Rodeo Association. The group has been holding benefits for more than a year in order to raise the capital needed for such an event.
“We’ve had great support from the region’s LGBT community,” Romanik says. So far, there are eight organizations serving as community partners: Central Pennsylvania LGBT Center, Atlantic States Gay Rodeo Association, MCC of the Spirit, Harrisburg, Dover UCC, St Paul’s UCC, Equality PA, Rock Run Animal Rescue, and Central Pennsylvania Equality Foundation. Community partners are helping sell rodeo tickets and market the rodeo with a portion of the ticket sales proceeds going to their respective organizations. “We would love to have other community partners,” Romanik says. Interests groups can find information at Ksgra.org.
The charity sponsor for the event is Alder Health Services (Alderhealth.org), a Harrisburg non-profit serving those with HIV/AIDS and members of the LGBTQ community. Alder Health will assist with ticket sales, provide volunteers day of the event, and help market the rodeo to the community. The organization will receive a donation from rodeo proceeds.
Attendees can expect everything you would see at a traditional rodeo with a few variations. Anyone and everyone is welcome to compete in a gay rodeo or come watch as a spectator. That means anyone who identifies as LGBTQ or their straight allies.
Both men and women alike fully complete in all events including bull riding, saddle bronc riding, chute dogging, and barrel racing. Both men and women ride the same class of livestock under the same rules and requirements.
Each International Gay Rodeo-sanctioned rodeos offer 13 events, including traditional rodeo events as well as a few fun crowd pleasers. Traditional events include bull riding, saddle bronc riding, barrel racing, and calf roping. Other events that are only offered at IGRA-sanctioned rodeos include goat dressing, steer decorating, steer riding, flag racing, pole bending, and the wild drag race.
Competitors compete for prize money and the title of All-Around Cowboy and Cowgirl. Winners of each event receive trophy buckles.
For those that want to come and spend the whole weekend, the host hotel for the event is Staybridge Suites (920 Wildwood Park Drive, Harrisburg; 717-233-3304), within walking distance of events. Visit Ksgra.org for more info or call the hotel and use promotional code KSG.
Want to Help? The KSGRA is looking for volunteers and sponsors to help with the rodeo, and also vendors looking to rent booths. See the website for more info.