Interview with Tre Brewbaker

Dallas, Texas on April 1, 2017 | Interviewer: Rebecca Scofield

Filter by topic:

91 of 91 rows (click a missing row to make it appear)

Rebecca Scofield: This is Rebecca Scofield and I'm here with Tre, Mr. NGRA 2017 and were at the Texas Tradition Rodeo outside Dallas and its April 1st, 2017. So can you tell me what year you were born?
Tré Brewbaker: 1982…long time ago. 
RS: And where did you grow up?
TB: I grew up in El Paso, Texas.
RS: Were you more in town? Were you out on a place?
TB: I was in town, I lived in the city. Well east El Paso which is now center of El Paso, so yeah I lived in the city. 
RS: Did you have much experience with stock growing up?
TB: No, my family is traditionally stock car racing, dirt tracks so the communities are very similar, the experiences…however, animal interaction was minimal as a kid.
RS: Were you at all interested in…like did you want to go ride horses at all?
TB: Absolutely, I think anyone who lives and grows up in Texas it's like in your blood. It's very…I think it's culture. Like I feel like the way I was raised and when I grew up it was just there's something…horses are amazing and they're majestic and they are powerful there are just so many positive words I can't think of any negative ones. And who wouldn't want to be involved in something of that nature.
RS: What did your parents do?
TB: My dad is an architectural engineer and a general contractor now currently its yeah… And my mother stayed home and worked stayed at home so we could have someone there she didn't want to put us in daycare and have someone else raise us. So it made it tough sometimes…eventually she worked you know side jobs.
RS: Side jobs. Do you have siblings? 
TB: I do a bunch of them. I'm the oldest. My parents were divorced so we have step and half-sisters. I have a full brother, a half-brother, a half-sister, and a step-sister in all reality I have 4 siblings. I don't treat any of them different to me they are all the same.
RS: That's great. Were any of them interested in animals or horses growing up?
TB: My…I think every girl that I've ever known as a little kid wants a pony. So my sisters totally did…they ended up in music which I'm very thankful for. It's a lot more affordable. And they love it. But they again rodeo's expensive, we couldn't afford it. So I think just going to the events was our extent of it which was just as good for me.
RS: So how did you end up in New Mexico?
TB: I you know you hit that age where you go I have to get out of the house. I'm a very independent person, very go getter. And so I said you know what I want to move out and I met a friend who races and uh he was just getting out of school and was like I've got this house you should move in we can split the rent it was one of those weird things where you are 20 years old and said let’s do it and so I did. And I moved to Farmington, New Mexico which is in the middle of nowhere and the Four Corners and it was fun and everything else is like a series of events that happened that led me to Albuquerque. 
RS: That's amazing. So you are in Albuquerque now?
TB: I am.
RS: In town or outside of?
TB: I'm right on the edge of Albuquerque and everyone says you live to far away I do live like 20 minutes from the center of town which for us is no big deal but you tell everyone else and they are like, “That's so far.” 
RS: Do you do you have any stock now?
TB: I don't. I don't. 
RS: So what do you do for a living?
TB: I am a social media specialist for T-Mobile. 
RS: Oh wow.
TB: So yeah, I love my job. I absolutely take every chance you can cause you never know when it's going to work out and it did. I love it.
RS: That's really good.
TB: If it wasn't for them, I wouldn't be here.
RS: How long have you been working for them?
TB: I've been with T-Mobile for 5 years this May, so 5 years next month, oh my gosh. And it's been amazing. They are very supportive. They know that my title that I'm part of the rodeo that I was Mr. New Mexico Pride last year and they supported that tremendously. 
RS: That's right.
TB: Very exciting.
RS: So how do you identify in terms of gender and sexuality?
TB: I'm a male. I'm a dude. And I'm very comfortable in my own skin, I guess, and I'm gay.
RS: So how was dealing with your sexuality growing up?
TB: Hard. Very much so. And that's internal. You grow up in Texas right you grew up with a southern values that doesn't change nothing has for me but the you go through the “something's not the same.” You don't realize it til like afterthought. And then, “Okay, well maybe I can convince myself otherwise.” So I went through that and that didn’t really change. So I was like, okay. You get to that point where you accept it, where you are like, okay this is me. And then you have to start planning…oh I'm a thinker and a planner and an overthinker and such so it's planning I literally sat there and when am I going to tell anyone? And how? And am I prepared to lose everything I have and start over. That answers is always no.
TB: You got to the day where it was a yes. And it's extremely emotional. You have that one person, if it wasn't for some of my friends who were like dropping hints like they knew it wouldn't have happened, yet. I came out very late publicly to my family. It wasn't a negative experience per say a lot of people say it was but I didn't get shunned I'm happy with that. I'm thought I was going to lose everything and I didn't. I don't have the same relationship with my parents, but I still have a relationship with my parents and that's something that I think they still struggle to this day. But they know and I don't hide it I just don't talk about it. And so, it is what it is. 
RS: And they are they still in El Paso?
TB: My mother is, and my dad is in Arizona now. He moved there for work and so they know. We've talked about and my mom and I talked about it once. She's very religious but not crazy religious and I say that loosely because everybody's definition of crazy is different. And you know I'm spiritual as well so that makes it even more confusing, but I think you know my parents always taught me that it's me and my relationship and that's all that matters. So that's what I do.
RS: And you said you were Mr. New…?
TB: New Mexico Pride last year?
RS: Wow. So question? Did you come to performing through rodeo or come to rodeo through performing?
TB: Great question. I am…I don't consider myself a wonderful performer. That's something that I think some of these people that you'll see this weekend are just amazing. Where I became a performer was, it's for charity. You stand up there and lip sync a song which we do out loud in a car and it's super scary. It's very awkward with a queen or someone in a costume it's very easy because you become something else. And I on stage I mean, “How come you don't have a stage name?” I spent 26 years trying to be someone else, I don't want to be anyone else but me. And so, when I perform, I perform something that's me. I show everybody who I am. So it's a little different from what you will see in other people but I was known to make people cry. I'm very emotional on stage in whatever it is. Because I think that's what you are there to see some sort of emotion, laugh, cry, scare whatever. 
RS: What's your favorite thing to perform to?
TB: I love my country western music. I love country western. See that's what took me to rodeo. I had a friend who came up to me and says you need to run for this. Well, four years later here I am. And I didn't know he was our Mr. [title holder] five years before that. So he was there to crown me and it was a huge deal, for him and for me. That was his legacy. He got to pass it on to someone. I said, “You know I don't want to do pop. I'm like the worst gay ever. I don't…I'm not a Beyoncé fan. I'm not…I hate glitter and the rainbows. I'm not that person.” Once I was able to accept that, no, I'm going to be my own brand because there's gotta be someone out there like me and I'm hoping that one person gets to see it and that's where everything took off.
RS: Did you grow up listening to country?
TB: Oh yeah, absolutely, absolutely.
RS: What's your favorite performance you've done to a country song?
TB: Great question. Most memorable favorite it’s [inaudible]. I'm performing that here in a few minutes. It's huge. So when I won Mr. New Mexico Pride I was invited if I won to perform the next night at an event, it's like a victory show kind of one of the clubs in town perform. And I had my birthday party the same night, so I was double booked, and you make things happen you just figure it out. So I said okay and we worked with everybody and when I was there and I performed this song that I'm about to perform. It's Jason Aldine, “Gonna Know We Were Here,” because I wanted that to be my motto for the year. Because it says, “We may not be around in 20 years, but they are sure going to know we were here,” like leaving your mark. I think that's what everybody wants. When I got out of the car, I felt like a million dollars that night. It was better than when I won because it was real.
TB: The next day or no, I left the bar, finished, packed my clothes, ran to the car, cause I had to be somewhere else down the road at another bar, I get in the car and the music's playing and it's stops and that song comes on the radio live. And I have no idea why or how or what…I couldn't make that up. I mean, yeah, I could [laughs] but you know that's one of those weird things. And I was just like totally overwhelmed with tons of emotions. So then I was like I'm changing my song and doing it again at this bar cause no one was there to see it. It just made me feel good cause it tells me what I need to do. Like it reminds me of my job and how it feels like that day. So I nobody here has seen me perform it but one person, so I was like well I definitely want to do an up-tempo, lively--I want people to know who I am. And it's it doesn't say I it says we. Cause it's everybody we are a team.
RS: That's so amazing. 
TB: It gives me goosebumps. 
RS: So how did you find out about the gay rodeo?
TB: How did I…oh my gosh I'm like on everything. I'm social media crazy. How did I learn…? I'm trying to think way back. Someone had a flyer or poster or something. Oh wait! You know what way before that, I found out Nevada had one. I didn't know we had one, but I was in Vegas with my then fiancé now husband and we were in Vegas just on vacation. It's a cheap vacation from Albuquerque, it’s right down the road. And we were at Charlie's in Vegas and they had a poster. And I was like, “Oh I wish we had something like this.” Well, a year later I found out we do. And so I was like, “Let’s go!” And that's when I met Jessie and Jessie’s the one that got me, he pushed me, “This is what you need to be doing. This is where you need to be.” And he was absolutely right. 
RS: That's amazing.
TB: I haven't been happier.
RS: Do you compete in the rodeo?
TB: We get a lot of firsts. I am about to compete as soon as I finish performing for the very first time tonight in two events. 
RS: What are you going to do?
TB: I’m doing goat dressing which have you seen goat dressing? 
RS: I have seen it, but you can explain it. 
TB: Goat dressing is crazy, ultimately, and I was telling them this was my way of getting everyone in the rodeo. They were like, “What do you do? Do you ride bulls?” No. No, I do not. I'm not in shape not that I should. I'm like, “You've seen those bull riders.” They, you, they, no. I mean would I love to, I have more respect for them than any other athlete, but they are just amazing people too. But in goat dressing you're basically putting underwear on a goat. I mean that is the gist of it and if you can do it faster as a team then you win. And people are like that's hilarious, no way. And I'm like, “Show up and find out.” I'm like, “Why don't you do it?” “Well…” “What you can't put underwear on a goat?” And there's no no in there. And that's how you build our numbers and so I'm doing that one and doing wild drag race.
TB: That is insane. And I’m doing it with two people I just met. One of them I haven't met yet. I'm doing it with Josh from Australia, and he and I were just talking and next thing you know I'm on a team and this girl Ashley from New Mexico, also. So it's really cool that I said well we were on your team but now you are on New Mexico's team. So we are really excited to have him on board and it's gonna be entertaining we will go with that I have no idea what to expect.
RS: And are you guys hosting finals this year?
TB: We have two events in two months. We have the Z Regional Rodeo in August 11-13th in Santa Fe, and in my hometown of Albuquerque which is 50 minutes South, in Albuquerque we will host the World Finals. 
RS: That's amazing.
TB: And the IGRA royalty competition as well. 
RS: Wow.
TB: Lots of pressure. Oh, I love it. It's totally like perfect. It's nerve racking because for the first time we've had it, all of our past royalty members are out of state or wherever. They are not really involved anymore because there has been a large gap. So I'm really excited to have our IGRA team. They have been extremely helpful like, “How can we help you? Here is our guide.” They have been very helpful, not telling us but guiding us. And it's been it's nice to have thirty people from across the country being there to help.
RS: And you were mentioning kind of a gap that happened?
TB: Seven years without royalty. We are the first team since seven years.
RS: Why do you think that happened?
TB: A lot of things, I think the there's a change that's happened and thankfully…I don't know 100% about this, but I have my theories based on research and talking to people. We moved our rodeo from Albuquerque to Santa Fe for due to sponsorship…it's a good thing actually, looking at a bad thing it was a better thing to move it financially because we got more money to pay our contestants and such like that. However, in that it is an hour away and all the epicenter everything is in Albuquerque so getting someone it's the same thing as being in Denton having people to drive from Dallas, you think it's not big because I drove ten hours to get here, to me it's no big deal for thirty minutes.
TB: But asking your people to drive past eight different things that they normally go to, to something they aren't sure about, outside in the hot sun. We've changed it. Now we have a night rodeo, one of the only night rodeos so it's under the lights which is really cool, it's outdoors in the wonderful August air in New Mexico. So it's going to be something different and it worked last year, now that we have a royalty team. I wanted it, and I was like I need to can I told my Miss and she'll tell you more about how that process went I guarantee she will it's a really good story. About how I convinced her to do it and I didn't convince her but she I won't ruin the story but you will wanna know that one. It's and it'll tell you who she is. So it was a wonderful deal and I forgot the question because I started rambling. 
RS: That's fine. We don't need to stay on topic. Can you tell me do you do other things in the gay community other than just rodeo?
TB: Rodeo takes up a lot of our time now, every chance we have to raise a cause we are going to. When we do it one dollar at a time. And I love it. Like I absolutely love it. I still help the other organizations we have several of us who are the heads of different organizations. The Imperial Court System um, the Pride organization, um, we have an organization called MM Power which does a lot of HIV outreach, so we directly connected with them as well. We are trying to work on mending, not mending, building stronger bridges, they are there, but they need to be more solid and it's really working. Someone kind of had to take the reigns and then it's always nice the new kid in town and the rodeo’s the new kid in town again. So it's like the new shiny thing that everybody wants to be a part of and we are totally embracing that. And so we're you know hey well come over here we will be a part of yours too, let’s work together. So it's one in the same we all have the same goals. We are doing something for someone and they give us something we can do in a safe place, which is crazy. 
RS: So I know we have to go pretty quick but just I know that a lot of the older members have expressed sort of a frustration of getting younger members and you’re obviously a younger member.
TB: I love that.
RS: What do you think is that sort of drew you to it, kept you here, and how are you going to draw in other young people?
TB: I love the southern lifestyle. I love the everyone’s welcoming. I mean you're here everybody’s so nice and genuinely nice. There's nice cause you have to put on a face, but you don't get that here. Everyone's literally like, “Hey, how are you doing?” And they actually care like they want you to talk to them. They were laughing yesterday cause it took me two and a half hours because I was like oh my god I saw someone and I have to say hi. It's a family, a real family and a lot of us are here talking about earlier is that family is not as strong but it's still there, but you miss that feeling and you get that here. We all understand each other. We are all so different, but…I mean when I left Phoenix it was like I'm not going to see everyone for four weeks. Seriously, four weeks, get over it, right?. I had so much going on in those four weeks I didn't know what else was I going to do, right? But it was crazy how much fun it is.
TB: As far as getting the youth involved, we knew that was going to be big. Our average age was in the 40's before we joined, before we joined. I don't know that actually, we were included in that number cause it was the end of the year and I'm like, “Oh my gosh, how are we going to do that?” The reason for us, is that again the Santa Fe is very much older community, traditionalist type community very gay friendly. Albuquerque is as well, but is much younger. It's where the bars are, the inner city, it's where all the…it's the city right. So were okay, if I told you, “Hey, there's a rodeo this weekend.” So? Okay so we are going to go put underwear on a goat or we are going to put drag queens on bulls. That's where you get the youth. The camp events are designed to get the youth involved but if you don't tell them about it… I mean you can tell the story two different ways you're going to get different results. And we are seeing it.
TB: We are seeing it in major numbers. And I'm excited, I can't wait for the end of the year so I have quantifying results and I can say this isn't my thought, this is my results. And if it wasn't working, we already changed it. Now we are going to make mini-rodeos in our bar we are using stick horses instead of real horses we are going to get a blow up sheep for our goat and were are going to make them do that, we are going to teach them so they are already involved. The other thing I've learned in promoting, cause I do a lot of race car promoting, when you go to a race you don't know anybody there, you're not going to [stay] you're going to leave. You are going to eat a coke, drink a beer, or you are going to eat a coke, eat a hot dog. [laughs] Drink a beer and go home.
TB: Now we have drag shows during the rodeos, so you need to tell them there are other events. It’s a daylong thing. Then you have to tell them, you know, hey, introduce them to the cowboys and the cowgirls so they know who to cheer for. And that's something we are working on because we haven't seen it enough. When they are out there announcing who they are, tell me where they are from; tell me who is from New Mexico. I found out my teammate in wild drag is from New Mexico and I didn't even know her. Of course, it's a big state so it's very possible but if I knew I'd be cheering for her. That's what we do. We are going to watch tomorrow, I've got a big New Mexico flag, we are going to be waving it. We are going to try something different and as soon as you start trying something new, you aren't getting anywhere so we are blowing the box up.
RS: That's amazing. 
TB: We are trying.
RS: Well I'm looking forward to your performance. I'll let you go, but thank you so much for your time.
TB: Okay it was a pleasure. Absolutely, thank you. 
RS: Thank you.
TB: And anything you ever need let me know.