Happening in Kansas City
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There was always a rodeo at the county fair, but with all my anxieties about being a closeted gay farm boy, rodeo seemed like something that I couldn’t be involved in.” says Ryan Reed, 41, of his childhood in rural Homer, Illinois. Now Reed competes in International Gay Rodeo Association events across the country.
“I have to say it was a wonderful development to find that actually, I could be involved in rodeo,” he said. “And the other great thing about rodeo has been that I have been able to connect socially with other people who had similar experiences growing up.”
Now a resident of Maryville, Missouri, and a political science professor at Northwest Missouri State, Reed became involved in rodeo six years back when he was living in Sacramento. Friends involved in the gay rodeo there brought him out to a rodeo in Reno, Nevada, and by the following January, he was involved in a rodeo school.
“I liked what I saw right away,” he said. “The folks were so welcoming. I just kind of fell in love with it.”
Reed competes in seven to nine rodeos per year and will be participating for the first time as a member in the Missouri Gay Rodeo Association at the 21st annual Show-Me State Rodeo on Labor Day weekend -- Aug. 29-31-- at Lone Wolf Ranch Arena in Cleveland, Missouri (Show-Me State Rodeo).
On Aug. 10-11, Reed participated in Gay Games 9 in Cleveland, Ohio, where he was awarded a silver medal for Calf Roping on Foot. It was the first time that the Gay Games included rodeo events.
“We had upwards of a hundred competitors, involving both men and women,” he said. “It was fantastic. It was such a great experience. It seemed everyone else in the Gay Games [was"> very excited that cowboys and cowgirls were now involved. It was pretty awesome to walk into opening ceremonies with our matching red shirts and cowboy hats -- people just went crazy.”
Besides Calf Roping on Foot, Reed also competes in Chute Dogging, which is a steer-wrestling event, as well as what are categorized as camp events: Steer Decorating, the Wild Drag Race and Goat Dressing.
Reed jokes that Goat Dressing is rodeo’s equivalent to a gateway drug, an event that seems easy and tempts spectators into getting involved as first-time competitors.
The two-person team event is a race against the clock. One partner must lift the rear end of the goat, while the other partner slides a pair of tighty-whiteys onto the animal. Then they both have to race back to the starting line, and they face disqualification should the goat’s underwear fall off.
“It’s silly, and the audience loves to watch it because it’s kind of funny, but people take it very seriously,” Reed said. “It’s actually very competitive. People who maybe feel like they’re not sure if they can do rodeo, look at that and say, ‘Oh, I can probably put underwear on a goat.’”
Steer Decorating, he says, is an event that’s not that decorative and is much more intense than it sounds. It’s a timed event where one partner holds a long rope tied to the horns of a 700- to 800-pound steer, while the other partner attempts to tie a 10-inch ribbon to the steer’s tail.
“And the steer,” Reed emphasizes, “doesn’t wait for this to happen.”
“There is a range of danger,” says Reed about the sport of rodeo, “I don’t usually see people get hurt doing Goat Dressing, but I pretty regularly see people get hurt Chute Dogging and Steer Decorating. Occasionally, you see someone go to the emergency room. These are dangerous events. You’re playing with livestock that are large. They’re not tame, and they have horns. We try to do it as safely as we can, both for the contestants and for the livestock, but just like any sport, it’s not completely safe.”
Despite the danger and competitive nature of rodeo, Reed says that those looking from the outside might not realize that “behind the scenes, we’re all friends, cheering for each other and mentoring each other. I have formed family with this rodeo. Friendships turn into family relations after a while. You look forward to seeing each other at the next rodeo.”
Reed is also looking forward to attending some of the ancillary events in Kansas City associated with the Show-Me State Rodeo. On Friday, Aug. 29, Hamburger Mary’s, 101 Southwest Blvd., will be hosting Homorodeo.com’s calendar signing and Cowboy Karaoke. Some of the models for the annual cowboy calendar will be on site. Saturday night will be a Cowboy Crazy Country Dance with the models of Homorodeo.com at Industry Video Bar, 3700 Broadway, and Sunday will be the awards party, where Reed hopes he’ll pick up some prizes.
Just added to the list of events is a screening of the documentary Queens and Cowboys: A Straight Year on the Gay Rodeo by filmmaker Matt Livadary. That will be at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 27, at the Tivoli Cinemas, 4050 Pennsylvania Ave., in Westport.
Reed has shared the film trailer of Queens and Cowboys with several of his co-workers who will be cheering him on during Labor Day weekend. The trailer, he half-jokes, will serve as a primer as to what they should expect.
“Some of them have never been to a rodeo at all, gay or straight or anything else,” he said. “And some of them have never been to a gay rodeo. It will be interesting to see their reactions. I have had straight friends tell me that they’ve had a lot more fun at gay rodeos.”
As a political science professor and a spectator of politics, Reed says that “with the gay rodeo, the approach it takes is that our very existence is a kind of activism. We don’t have to go out and be overtly political. The fact that we exist and we’re doing rodeo, it has effects. And, we think, a positive effect.”"
After the last 2 years of dealing with the pandemic and packing on those COVID pounds here are some motivational quotes that can be the spark plugs to our wellness engines. You can have a full tank of gas, a clean carburetor, all the fluids topped off, and 300 horsepower of Detroit’s finest under the hood, but you’re going nowhere without that initial spark. In your quest for well-being, you need a catalyst to move you from idle to ideal. Here are some motivational jolts to inspire you to get your health and fitness vehicle moving.
Make time for exercise each dayPhoto by Victor Freitas on Unsplash
Thomas Paine said, “The harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.” You will have conflicts with making time for exercise each day. The treadmill will conflict with your enjoyment of the living-room couch and its fluffy pillows. Your body will engage in conflict with dumbbells and exercise balls as it seeks better health. Embrace these conflicts with excitement, and walk through the smoke and fire. Triumph is waiting on the other side.
Marathon runnersPhoto by Miguel A. Amutio on Unsplash
John F. Kennedy said, “Things do not happen. Things are made to happen.” The firefighter’s 55-pound weight loss did not just happen one day on a call. The computer programmer’s success in the Chicago Marathon did not just happen on a Sunday in October. The 4th grade teacher’s significant drop in cholesterol level did not just happen the day before spring break. These people made things happen…and it took time.
Ralph Marston of The Daily Motivator website, wrote, “What you do today can improve all your tomorrows.” Let today be the first day in 28 years without a cigarette. Stay an extra five minutes on the recumbent bike at the gym today. Start training today for the three-day breast cancer walk that is scheduled for the fall. Tomorrow is always waiting to see what you put in your piggy bank today. Invest wisely and watch the dividends grow.
Full MoonPhoto by CHUTTERSNAP on Unsplash
Jill McLemore once said, “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you will land amongst the stars.” Set that goal to trim 75 pounds from your body. Only losing 42 pounds puts you way out there with the North Star. Aim to run 750 miles this year. Coming up 68 miles short will still put you past that former planet Pluto and on your way to the Orion constellation. Dropping eight waist sizes by Christmas instead of the projected 10 will let you glow with the luminescence of several brilliant wonders in the sky. By the way, I think there’s a full moon tonight!
Zig Ziglar stated, “You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.” Tom Cruise was another aspiring pretty face in Hollywood about 30 years ago before starting to audition for parts in TV shows. Jared Fogle was a morbidly obese college student at Indiana University in the 1990s before beginning his Subway diet. Mark Zuckerberg was just another starry-eyed Ivy Leaguer until he began to implement a social network idea. They all have that common bond: They started something.
These motivational quotes should help get your wellness engine running and once your car is started there’s no telling where your health and fitness can go. Don't forget to end me a postcard when you get there!
This health and fitness article is brought to you by that guy who’s sneaky like a black hole and bright like a nebula. My name is Ron Blake and I can be found playing with my telescope at email@example.com.
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“I wish I could work out, too, but I just don’t have the motivation!”
Give me a dollar for every time I’ve heard that and I’d be in Cabo San Lucas with an umbrella drink right now. Let’s identify a few of your motivations to get you on the right path. They are there … you just need to realize them so you can make it a great 2022.
How about getting healthy so you can be at that Christmas celebration in 30 years with all the family gathered around and exchanging presents? There will be nieces, nephews, brothers, sisters, children and maybe some grandchildren, all enjoying the sounds and sights of the season. That would be amazing!
How about being healthy so you can watch the first man land on Mars in 2030? You hear all the talk about preparing for a mission to Mars, but it will be a long time in coming. Just think if you were alive and well to see it happen!
How about being healthy so you can attend that 60-year class reunion? It might even be nice to walk into the function with a spring in your step and a glow of health about you! Many of your classmates will have walked past St. Peter and those pearly gates by that time, but you can give yourself a chance to stay here with some proactive measures.
How about being healthy so you can spend more time being relaxed and retired? It would be awesome to just not have to do anything you didn’t want to do! Get up every day and use that watch they gave you as a fashion accessory only. With a healthy body, you can spend ample time in the lap of leisure well into your 90s.
How about being healthy so you can walk your dog with your grandkids or great-nephews after that Thanksgiving meal many years down the road? It will be so cool to have that turkey dinner with all the relatives, but it’ll be even more fun to be able to move around without having to catch your breath between steps.
How about being healthy so you can continue to enjoy vibrant sunsets, thrilling football games, colorful leaves in the fall, summer barbecues, or birthday cards in the mail?
Everyone can find the motivation to work out! You just have to identify which motivation will get you to your starting line each day and which will help you get to your daily finish line.
There are plenty of great things to enjoy in life. Find your motivation and start earning your frequent flyer miles for your healthy life. Then soar into the future with excitement about what will be!
This article of motivation is brought to you by a guy who knows a good thing when he sees it. That guy of good vision is Ron Blake, and he can be spotted on that bright horizon at firstname.lastname@example.org.