Compete Network Feature Stories

2018 World Gay Rodeo Finals® Welcomes YOU!

Featured in our September/ October Issue of Compete Magazine!

Get ready to grab your cowboy hat (you’re already wearing your boots!) and saddle up your favorite horse – it’s time to mosey on down to Mesquite, Texas for the International Gay Rodeo Association’s (IGRA) 32nd Annual World Gay Rodeo Finals® (WGRF) running from October 26-28.

This year’s WGRF, IGRA’s signature event, brings over 100 men and women contestants from throughout the U.S. and Canada to compete against their peers in eleven traditional rodeo events like bull riding, bronc riding, steer riding and chute dogging; speed events like barrel racing, pole bending, and flag racing; plus three light-hearted yet fiercely competitive “camp events,” the likes of which are only to be seen at the gay rodeo.

IGRA, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization is the sanctioning body for all LGBTQ rodeos, and competitors compete for prize money and the coveted title of All-Around Cowboy and All-Around Cowgirl at each of the rodeos held by IGRA’s regional gay rodeo associations across the U.S. The winners of each event receive trophy buckles that are designed by the host rodeo association. At season’s end, the contestants with the highest points in each event receive invitations to the WGRF that’s presented by IGRA.

The venue for this year’s WGRF is the highly acclaimed Mesquite Arena. Just 15 minutes east of downtown Dallas, this completely self-contained facility provides an excellent venue for both the audience and participants. Spacious bleacher seating accommodates 5,500 fans and spectators in climate-controlled comfort and other features include convenient close-in parking, concession stands, food stalls and a bar with full liquor service.

IGRA is one of the most welcoming of the LGBTQ sports organizations. While many of these groups are also LGBTQ and ally-friendly, IGRA has a written policy allowing all competitors, regardless of their sexual or gender identity to compete without discrimination. The rodeo has always been about spreading appreciation for Western culture and the sport of rodeo. Thanks to its welcoming “neighbor-helping-neighbor” camaraderie, not everyone gets involved in competing; many folks are just as happy serving as volunteers.

The rodeo also serves as a fundraising vehicle benefiting many charitable organizations. This year the monies earned by the 2018 IGRA Royalty Team Charities will go to Wish for Wings, a wish-granting agency for Texas children fighting life-threatening medical conditions; 4 Paws 4 Patriots, a group matching trained shelter dogs to American veterans needing service dogs; the Trevor Project, the organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBTQ young people ages 13-24 nationally; and Joyful Heart Foundation, carrying out healing, education and advocacy through an integrated program portfolio.

Come on down and enjoy the World Gay Rodeo Finals – you’re sure to have a great time!

WEEKEND SCHEDULE

Thursday, October 25

  • 7:00 p.m. Royalty Competition Western Wear & Public Presentation

Friday, October 26

  • 9:00 a.m. Horsemanship Videos (open to the public)
  • 10:00 a.m. Royalty Interviews (closed to the public)
  • 4:00-6:00 p.m. Contestant Registration
  • 7:00 p.m. Opening Ceremonies
  • 7:00 p.m. Royalty Competition (entertainment

Saturday, October 27

  • 9:00 a.m. Rodeo (doors open 8:00 a.m.)
  • 7:00 p.m. Royalty Competition Crowning
  • WGRF Dance (Immediately following crowning)

Sunday, October 28

  • 9:00 a.m. Rodeo (doors open 8:00 a.m.)
  • 7:00 p.m. Awards Dinner
  • 8:00 p.m. Awards Ceremony

By Harry Andrew

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