Alberta's Brokeback rodeo

The macho town of Strathmore, Alta., is set to welcome a gay rodeo that includes such events as goat dressing, steer decorating and a "wild drag race"

After outgrowing its perch northwest of Calgary, the 15-year-old Canadian Rockies International Rodeo, sponsored by the Alberta Rockies Gay Rodeo Association, moves to otherwise macho Strathmore next month. The event, according to the Calgary Herald‘s Robert Remington, has grown into “one of the best-kept secrets around,” featuring first-rate country music performers and surprisingly skillful rodeoing. “To those in the know, the gay rodeo is also much more than its frivolous ‘camp events’ like goat dressing, which are the gay rodeo equivalent of an entertainment event like wild cow milking at a traditional rodeo,” writes Remington. “The all-amateur gay rodeo has the conventional bull riding, steer riding, barrel racing and roping events, with the major difference that men and women compete equally.” Conservative Strathmore—Remington points out that 10 churches there serve a population of just over 11,000—doesn’t seem overly bothered by the prospect of a gay rodeo. “I have had absolutely no negative feedback,” Mayor George Lattery tells Remington, who paraphrases the Alberta Rockies Gay Rodeo Association assertion that the 4,000 gay and lesbian visitors it will attract will spend double the amount of straight tourists.  

Calgary Herald

Looking for more?

Get the Best of Maclean's sent straight to your inbox. Sign up for news, commentary and analysis.