The Gay Games: A crazy but fabulous week in Chicago!

Kansas City sent a contingent of more than 50 athletes and performers to participate in the Gay Games in Chicago July15-22, 2006. Here’s a recap from one of the athletes and Team Kansas City Leader, Dan Melton.
Opening Ceremonies
Opening ceremonies were for the most part amazing: After four hours of making out in front of Phelps-like protestors, Team Kansas City ran into a jam–packed Soldier Field to the roar of thousands of fans from across the world. Our team shirt was a total hit!. The highlight of the opening ceremonies was when 11,000 athletes held up brightly colored lights in lines that formed the rainbow while Billy Porter and others sang amazingly. While the ceremony was long, the team hung in there to watch Dan, Zach, Anne and Jody perform in the largest gay marching band ever assembled. Mid performance, a streaker ran down the middle showing all and the crowd blew up! The night ended with the lighting of the “gaymes” torch and a wonderful fireworks show again in the colors of the rainbow...
Band and Chorus
Anne, Jody, Zach, and Dan joined 250 other instrumentalists from around the globe to play in some astonishing venues. The Team Band practiced nearly 25 hours before the official rehearsal in Soldiers Field. We played four numbers and created three formations .... the crowd went wild. Then, on Tuesday night, we played in the space-ship-themed Jay Pritzker Pavilion (designed by Frank Gehry) in Millennium Park. The sound was amazing! It was truly an experience that the four of us will never forget. A bunch of Team KC members also sang in the chorus, which with the band opened the ceremonies. Throughout, the chorus backed up famous singers. On Wednesday night, they followed a local Chicago group at the same stage in Millenium Park and again blew away the crowd, who hung in there with them loving it till 11pm! We looked forward to closing ceremonies when KC’s very own Joe Nadeau of the HMC served as a main conductor.

Guy, Randy, Josh, Brock, Randy, Chris, Joel, and others competed in a whirlwind number of events. On Monday, Josh, Randy, and Guy woke up at 4:45am to make the 10k, which ran along Chicago’s beautiful Lake Michigan shoreline. All four repeated the same routine on Wednesday for the 5k. They all finished and made Top Ten in their age groups—not too shabby considering there were more than 600 runners. Who said KC was the fattest city? Pair their perfomance with Joel and Brock, who won silver medals for relays and Kansas City should be named as one of the fastest gay cities.
On Friday, Joel and Brock competed against each other in the 100m dash. The gun smoked, and both lept to an early lead. At 90 m, Joel pulled out by barely a hair to win Gold. Not bad for KC, gold and silver in the most competitive track event. Beyond the 100 m, Joel and Brock brought home some 14 medals in other events.....go boys!
About 20 of us swam at the University of Chicago in Hyde Park. The meet was at night- great for our bar-loving crowd. Nap all day and swim all night! Despite the drinking, dancing, and fun, our team nabbed a record number of medals....three of our women and one of our men got three medals each! Highlights included our mixed 100-119 relay which won a gold and a silver with a mix between Jerry, Jessi, Carlos, Jen and David. Anthony broke two Missouri Valley records and set his personal best in three events in which he also won medals. Jessi, Anna Lea and Jen tore up their individual events winning a combined 15 medals.
On Thursday night, the team participated in the Pink Flamingo which is basically a drag cabaret on water. Ten teams competed for the top five prizes (1, 2, 3, best choreography and best costume). The event was sold out and filmed by CBS! Being that KC Wave generally brings the most women to the meet (at least percentage wise), we decided to throw a drag king as opposed to a drag queen pink flamingo. We dressed up like country drag kings and did three great dnace and synchro the gay men didn't get it AND they comprised 3/4 of the judges panel. Oh well, we did well for a 12 person flamingo compared to the giant 30+ person routines put together by DC or West Hollywood.
Bowling, Cycling, Triathlon and
Dave bowled hard through out the week, barely missing the finals. He placed 7th out of 80+ people....his right hand is tired! Liz won gold in her cycling event, totally whipping up on the female competition. Sue pinned all her matches in wrestling, making her trip well worth the gold. Chris ran, swan and biked an amazing triathlon beating her competitors for the gold.

Closing Ceremonies
Imagine 20,000 queers packed into Wrigley Field...and you might get why the gaymes were so amazing. We totally took over one of the most recognized sporting venues in the world for 3 hours of total gaydom. It was fantastic. All of us walked in together (but don’t touch the grass!), right over the pitchers mound and through first base to seats three deep off the field.
We jammed with Eric Hyman, Cyndi Laupher and other great stars. Two of the hits were the DC cowboys and Ant. We expected to see cheerleaders run across the field for the cowboy act...but instead we were treated to fifteen men in tight pants, black tanks and big buckles line dancing to some very hot numbers...and then, a few beats later, the comic Ant had us rolling on the ground for a number of great hits: “I don’t get this competition....take wrestling, I pin you...I pin me...I win....where’s the loser?” We all shed a little tear as the torch passed on to Germany for 2010. Off to Boystown and Andersonville we went....parties abounded, people to meet and an entire city thanking us for stopping in to celebrate one of the most amazing weeks.
This trip has been totally awesome. I cant speak for everyone, but from Team KC to all of you in Kansas City.....Germany in 2010...don’t miss out on what will be the best time of your life. And Josh, all my love, I wouldn’t want to share it with anyone else.
Go Team Toto!
Dan Melton
Swimmer, Tenor Sax Instrumentalist,
Proud Kansas Citian

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