Ride On

The Gay Rodeo saddles up.

FRI, 7/8

Hey, Texas isn't the only state to have steers and queers. Right here in little ol' Colorado, we can claim our share, too -- and there's a whole rodeo devoted to them. The Colorado Gay Rodeo Association is rounding up its 23rd annual Rocky Mountain Regional Rodeo tonight through Sunday, July 10, at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds, 15200 West Sixth Avenue, Golden.

The event falls under the umbrella of the International Gay Rodeo Association, which has grown from a tiny group of cowpoke activists in Reno, Nevada, in 1975 to 26 member-associates throughout the U.S. and Canada.

But fans won't find this one identical to other roundups.

"Our rodeo is different from the rest in several ways," says Larry Travnicek, CGRA's spokesman. "The most obvious is the fan base. In a conservative 'red' state, our fans throw caution to the wind and come out for a fun-filled time at the rodeo without the necessity of looking over their shoulder to see who is watching.

"Because of Denver's central location, it is easier for fans and families of the contestants to watch them compete in a sport loved by many," he says. "The welcoming environment in Denver is second to none on the Gay Rodeo circuit."

One gay-rodeo fixture is a royal court, whose titleholders are required to fund-raise for local charities. The court is comprised of a "Ms.," a "Mr." and a "Miss," with that last title held by drag queens. But strap on your spurs, bois. Drag kings are making their way into the courts, Travnicek says, and next year Colorado hopes to crown its first king "Ms.-ster"!

The actual rodeo events start at 9 a.m. Saturday, July 9, with a grand entry of contestants at noon. For information, call the CGRA Rodeo Hotline at 303-333-4486 or log on to www.cgra.net. Corral tickets at the gate for $12 each. -- Debra A. Myers

Getting Uppity
Steamboat launches a hot-air frenzy.
SAT, 7/9

There's nothing quite like rising at dawn, grabbing a cup of coffee and a camera and dashing out to watch 45 stately hot-air balloons launch into the skies above a beautiful mountain resort. Nothing, that is, except all of the above, plushot-air balloon pilots going slightly gonzo, performing such rodeo tricks as hurling javelins at tethered helium balloons and lassoing hay-bale steers for points.

Today and Sunday, July 10, the skies over Steamboat Springs will be filled with gentle mayhem as the resort celebrates its 25th annual Rainbow Weekend. The airborne frenzy begins at 6:30 a.m. with the inflation of the bulbous craft in Meadows Field. "This is one of our most popular weekends by far, and certainly one of the most colorful," says Steamboat's Riley Polumbus.

Tomorrow, sporty types can watch the Cowpie Classic Rugby Tournament on the Ski Town Fields or take part in the Mountain Madness Half Marathon, which trots off at 8 a.m. For a complete list of Rainbow Weekend events, visit http://www.steamboat-chamber.com. -- Amber Taufen

 
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