Interview with Anthony Lumpkins

Dallas, Texas on May 1, 2020 | Interviewer: Court Fund

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Court Fund: Hi there, I'm Court. It is May 1st, 2020. I'm here with Anthony, who also goes by Chicken Nugget in the Rodeo Circuit. It is 7:00am. And, Anthony, you are in the Dallas metropolitan area, that's what you said?
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Anthony Lumpkins: Yes, ma'am.
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CF: Perfect. So just going to get started. Where did you grow up?
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AL: I grew up in a really small town northwest of Fort Worth of Spring Town, probably about an hour northwest of Downtown Fort Worth.
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CF: And what year were born?
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AL: I was born in 93.
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CF: 93. You're a millennial, then?
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AL: I am, according to most. But I don't consider myself a millennial. I don't have a mindset like most millennials.
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CF: Yeah. What do you consider the millennial mindset?
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AL: Oh, Lord. Dramatics.
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CF: Dramatics.
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AL: Like just one word for it, I guess.
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CF: How was your childhood growing up over there?
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AL: Within my family, it was really, really good. I had a really loving and caring family. Outside of that, though, especially living in a small town in Texas, being gay is like unheard of, especially back in the day when I was going through all that, going to school and stuff. So outside of my house, it was really rough or up until after high school, after high school, it kind of changed quite a bit. But yeah, it was really rough on like school life.
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CF: When did you come out, then?
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AL: I came out to a few friends in middle school in seventh grade. And then, of course, didn't really tell my parents and stuff until the summer going into my ninth grade year in high school and I was kind of outed, actually. I wasn't ready to tell my parents, but somebody had spread the news to them. So I ended up just coming up to them as well. And high school was where it really got rough.
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CF: You said that you had a very loving and accepting childhood. Do you want to share any memories? Do you have any fond memories that you want to share?
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AL: I don't really. I mean, everything really was a memory to me. We always did everything as a family. My dad was on the volunteer fire department. My mom was a nurse. And then outside of the fire department, my dad was U.P.S. driver. But everything we did, whether it was going to church, going to the movies, going out to dinner, like for their honeymoon - or no not their honeymoon - their, um, anniversary dinner, like we always did it all together as a family.
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CF: So you guys were tightknit, you would say?.
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AL: Extremely.
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CF: How did they react when you came out?
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AL: Well, my mom didn't really care. I mean, she didn't show hate towards it. She didn't really necessarily show acceptance. But I mean, she wasn't like not wanting it to be...not wanting me to be who I was. My dad took it really hard, actually, to the point where he tried to kick me out of the house and didn't want me as a son anymore. And it took a lot of heart to heart with my parents. My grandmother, of all people, who was the last person I wanted to know I was gay, she actually told my mom that we need to watch this movie called "Prayers for Bobby." I don't know if you've ever seen it, but it's oh, my God, you you need to watch it 'cause you'll cry at the end, but it's such a good movie. But we ended up watching it as a family. And at the end of the movie, all of us were crying. And my dad came up to me and he hugged me and said I would never want to see myself do that to you. Like it happened in the movie. And ever since then, he's gone to every pride with me here in Dallas and Fort Worth. He's marched in the parade with PFLAG in the Fort Worth parade with me multiple times. And now, I mean, they're like 100 percent supportive in all aspects. I think, I don't even have one family member in my entire family that doesn't support me and my LGBTQ lifestyle. So it's kind of nice.
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CF: Wow. Yeah. Did you come out to all of your family at the same time?
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AL: Not really. I came out to like my immediate family all kind of after I obviously got outed. And then I kinda went in waves on who I told and who I didn't and who I finally got around to telling. But yeah, that was within about a year span. It took me to get the whole family on board.
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CF: Looking back, do you think that you're glad that you came out so early in your life?
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AL: Yeah.
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CF: Yeah.
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AL: I think that I probably would have drove myself insane if I would have waited. Especially into my adulthood. Like there's just no way I see friends today that are older than me and haven't came out yet. And they're having to live such a closeted lifestyle. And I don't think I could handle that lifestyle, being in the closet, as you would say.
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CF: How would you describe your lifestyle now?
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AL: It's crazy. I mean, I actually just got engaged.
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CF: Congratulations.
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AL: Yeah, last Friday. So never in my life did I think I was actually going to get married. So it's been pretty crazy. But I did meet my partner on the gay rodeo circuit and it's...I mean, my lifestyles pretty, pretty fun. I mean, it's I've made a lot of friends through these past couple years in the rodeo. And it's just that's all I do now is spend time with all my rodeo family and friends.
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CF: Wow. Congratulations. How did that go? How did, did you propose or?
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AL: No, he proposed to me. It was kind of funny. We were out at my mom and dad for dinner, and he always gets onto me because when I'm around friends and family, I'll get on my phone, but check on Facebook or whatnot. So it sounded like when he started talking, it sounds like he was getting on to me for being on my phone. And I looked at my mom and I go, here he goes again. And I look back over and he was on his knee and I about fainted. So it was a surprise for sure.
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CF: Yeah. Have you guys picked a date or a time?
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AL: Actually, I think we have. So we've actually talked about getting married for the past year. My family, my grandparents on my mom's side own a lake house up in Canada. It's like the most beautiful setting. And so we're thinking because we're planning on going up there on vacation at the end of summer this year, hoping if this COVID-19 stuff kind of clears up by then. If not, we'll push it back and do something different. But we're hoping to do it at the end of the summer.
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CF: That's really amazing. Congratulations again.
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AL: Thank you so much.
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CF: Are you still pretty nervous about telling people?
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AL: Not really. I mean, of course, as soon as that happened, because I always told them I was like, you can't just ask me when I was two alone. I have to have people around. I want them to witness, it's a special time. But he did it in front of my parents, which I'm totally, perfectly fine with. So, of course, one of my closest friends not being there, I had to call them all. I told - I told the closest people in my life. And here, like, slowly but surely, people are starting to find out and congratulating me and all that. But...
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CF: Yeah, announcing things right now is difficult. Did you do you like...
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AL: It is very difficult.
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CF: Did you do like a mass phone call or a text?
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AL: Yeah, I did a group text with, um, like we have a rodeo group chat we do. And I listed it on there. And then friends of mine from like high school that aren't involved in rodeo or whatnot, I would just call them personally and told them.
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CF: Today would have been that the Palm Springs rodeo where you planning on going to that?
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AL: I was I actually was kind of funny. I called in sick to work Monday 'cause I had stayed out a little too late at a friend's house Sunday. And my boss said, let me know that I had the week scheduled off for vacation. I'm like, well, why would I have the week off for vacation? And then I remembered it was the week of Palm Springs 'cause I was actually going to haul horses with my partner and our really good friend and her horses at the Palm Springs. So, yes, I was really hoping to go there. That's one of my favorite rodeos on the gay circuit.
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CF: Is it just the place or is it also the people in Palm Springs?
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AL: Well, so that organization has always done very well. They have something going on at all times. Like you don't feel like you're just sitting kind of twiddling their thumbs or whatnot. There's always something going on like nightlife. They have like shows like pushed towards the rodeo team and the rodeo folks that are in town starting from Thursday all the way up until Monday morning. It's really cool. And it's, I just love and enjoy it. And Palm Springs is Palm Springs, so...it's beautiful there.
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CF: Oh, yeah. Do you do events? What do you compete in?
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AL: I do. So when I first started on the gay rodeo, I was only doing goat dressing and then I very quickly got pulled into doing steer deco, wild drag, and then eventually calf roping. This year, I was actually going to start doing horse events because my partner and I bought a horse last year and I've been training on him and I was going to start doing barrels and polls with him. But obviously that kinda went down the tube. So, gives me a little bit extra time to train on him and look a little bit more professional on him, I guess you could say. And I was actually thinking about picking up chute dogging in the near future as well.
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CF: So you mainly did camp events to start, you said, and now you're moving in to like Gymkhana. Could you describe some gymkhana or chute dogging for me?
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AL: So chute dogging, you're in the chutee with the steer. And when you come out, it's 10 feet from the chute. You have to get all four hooves of the steer passed that line and then you dog it, which pretty much you wrestle it to the ground and have to get all four hooves off the ground. And then that's when the time stops. So as soon as the nose hits the line, that's when your time starts. And then you have to drag it all the way across the line and then steer it down to the ground.
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CF: Wow.
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AL: Yeah. It's intense. I did it at a rodeo school last year. And I about, I was like, I'm not doing this. I'm not doing this.
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CF: How was that last year when you tried it?
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AL: It was fun. I mean, it's really exhilarating, but it's definitely something you have to do a couple times, like, not at a rodeo, but maybe at a rodeo school to get used to and know that you're doing it the right way. 'Cause the first time I did it, I was doing it so wrong and it didn't work out. But, yeah, I was exhilarating.
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CF: Yeah. So, you've been riding for about a year. Have you have had horse experience before that?
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AL: I have. So my mom, when I was first born, my mom actually owned a horse. I didn't do any rodeo persay on that horse, but I always used to ride him. And then in high school, I took AG and was around horses all the time and friends that were in rodeo. And I actually helped out in rodeo in high school. I didn't compete, but I did help out. So I got to ride horses all through high school. Yeah, living out the country. I mean, all my friends had horses. So.
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CF: [00:13:18]So, [0.0s] your country life, kind of, you're like stock, horse life, started really early on then.
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AL: Oh, Yeah.
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CF: Yeah. When did you know that you wanted to have like a country, rodeo lifestyle?
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AL: I mean, kind of funny, but I was always attracted to like cowboys, like my uncle used to work at Billy Bob's, which is a country bar here in Fort Worth. And they also do rodeos there. They have like a bull riding rink and stuff. So he used to work security when I was like real little. I remember me and my sister used always like to look at that one. Look at that one. My sister is pretty much the one that knew the whole time. But always kept it hush hush until I was ready to tell people.
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CF: That's really that's really nice of her to be honest.
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AL: Right.
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CF: It sounds like you guys have a pretty close bond, you know, going to these rodeos, talking about cowboys, has that continued into adulthood?
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AL: Not necessarily. She has had children now and been married and kinda off doing her own thing. I mean, we're still really close. And she's gone to a couple rodeos that I've gone to and competed in. But she's got her hands full with a bunch of babies, now she's got four kids.
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CF: Yeah. Do you have any stories from those early rodeos that you want to share?
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AL: So there was a rodeo clown that was really good friends with my uncle and he used to always come after the rodeo and paint our faces and stuff. And I remember I had my uncle put me in wranglers and boots, and Jeans, or a hat all that stuff like a whole that cowboy get up. He came up to me and painted my face and he said, "you're going to make a cowboy one day." And here I am doing rodeos that I never really thought that I was actually going to compete in or whatnot, but it's always stuck with me. So.
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CF: Do you compete in mainstream rodeos or like the jackpot circuit?
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AL : I do not.
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CF: When did you find out about the gay rodeo?
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AL: So, when I first started going out to bars here in the Metroplex, the rodeo association, I'm now a part of Texas Gay Rodeo Association. They did a lot of drag shows and fundraisers and stuff at the bars. And I met a friend of mine who was a part of the association at the time, and he invited me out to this fundraiser, so I went out, really enjoyed it. So I started volunteering to help out like help setup stuff at the bars when they do fundraisers and run music back and forth to the DJ, just like small stuff like that. And then my ex-boyfriend, he actually was a member when I had got together with him and I decided to join. And that's when I started by going to rodeos and volunteering to help out with the rodeos. And then when we split up, I went to my first finals rodeo in Albuquerque, and, I believe it's 2017. And that's where I met my current partner and I got...he's been a rodeo director for finals for the past three years. And he's also the rodeo director for Texas Rodeo. [...]
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CF: [...]
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AL: [...] So that's that's when, um, that rodeo was my first real gay rodeo experience. And it actually was insane because being able to follow my partner around as a black shirt, as rodeo director, I got to go behind the scenes. I got to really see how everything was. And I I told him that weekend I was like, I really want to do this. And it wasn't two months later I was doing my first rodeo school. And a month after that I started competing.
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CF: Your partner, was he involved with horses before the IGRA?
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AL: Yeah. He actually competed in rodeo in high school. He was a bull rider and chute dogger and a couple other things.
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CF: Does he still do like rough stock and horse events?
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AL: Yeah, he does chute dogging still. He's too afraid he's gonna break something if he tries to do any bull riding or steer riding. We, um, a bunch of us and kinda got him talked into doing steer ridding, which is kind of the lesser of bull riding. So we'll see if that happens when these rodeos start back up.
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CF: Switching gears just a little bit. What do you what do you do for a living?
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AL: So, I work for Coca-Cola.
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CF: Oh, wow.
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AL: And my partner actually is what got me the job at Coca-Cola. He's been there for 18 years. So yeah, we make sirup for the fountain machines.
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CF: Wow, sounds like a very different job than your regular lifestyle.
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AL: Right. It's crazy. Helps pay the bills, though. It helps pay for rodeos and stuff. That's what I like about it.
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CF: Yeah. Are you out at work? I'm assuming, yes, because your partner also works there.
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AL: Yeah.
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CF: Yeah. Do you feel like your work environment and your, like, gay rodeo environment clash in any way?
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AL: I personally don't think so. Good thing like with how I work...like with my work ethic and stuff or not, my ethnic work period is: I worked during the week, rodeo's are normally on the weekends, so it's like a perfect handoff. I don't ever feel like I have to give up rodeo because of work or give up work because of rodeo. So it just kind of clicks well together.
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CF: Thats good. I feel like it's hard to find.
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AL: It is hard to find. There's so many people on the rodeo circuit that deal with that all the time, like "I'm be able to go to this rodeo because I can't get off." And I'm like, "oh that sucks. I can."
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CF: Has gay rodeo changed since you've started?
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AL: Yeah, it has.
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CF: How would you say it's changed?
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AL: It's gotten smaller, in my opinion. I think it's like nowadays, the LGBTQ community is starting to come together more and the acceptance is at a higher level nowadays. And then the Western lifestyle is kind of dying in a sense. Because back in the day when like especially when IGRA and TGRA and all these gay rodeo organizations started, it was pretty much to give gay cowboys and cowgirls a safe haven to do what they love to do. Now, you don't really need that because the majority of the world nowadays accepts it. But yeah, I think that's one of the biggest things that I've noticed is changing. The rodeos have just gotten smaller. People are doing other things or found new, newer and more exciting hobbies than rodeo. I know at our - my home association here in Texas, that's one of our biggest things is trying to pull in more members.
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CF: Why do you think that the Western lifestyle is dying?
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AL: It's a tough one. In my own personal opinion, I think it's because everything nowadays is so materialized. Like even like going to the bars, like the country bars nowadays, like you don't hear country music that much, like you'll hear it up until about 7 or 8 o'clock at night and then those bars. Change it to rap and pop music and stuff like that, which I'm OK with. Like you always want the diversity in music and stuff, but it doesn't have that country vibe like it did for, say, ten, fifteen years ago.
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CF: How would you describe a country lifestyle? Like what..how do you, how do you define that for yourself?
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AL: I would say it's a very exhilarating lifestyle full of always changing events. It's never the same, but it's always very exciting and rewarding.
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CF: You mentioned that there's like a whole nightlife aspect to country living. Are you involved in any dancing or like two stepping?
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AL: Well, so there's a bar in Dallas that like we do shows at it's a country bar. And my partner and I will go up there and do country dances and stuff. But it's not anything persay that I'm like always dying to do because I cannot dance. I try, but I can't. [laughs]
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CF: Dancing is hard.
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AL: It is really hard, especially when you've had a drink or two and you're being yelled at to follow their lead. Like what? Follow what? [Laughs]
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CF: Can you talk for a moment about your rodeo family? It sounds like you guys are very close. So I'm just wondering if you have any stories about the community and community in general or like family memories?
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AL: Well, so I can say when my ex and I broke up, I was in a really, really bad place in my life. I started developing an eating disorder. I was told I was too fat and ugly and all this stuff. And by my own community, not the rodeo community, but just by the gay community in itself. And that put me in a really deep depression. And then my ex breaking up with me just kind of put it in deeper. And so when I joined this organization, it gave me a purpose again. And I can probably tell you 99.9% of my friends now are from the rodeo. I do everything with them like these past few weeks, weekends, when I'm not at work, I'm at my friend's house helping her finish setting up her barn and reinstalling new panels on her barn. I mean, it's just always, always, always doing stuff for my rodeo family. But it's really given me purpose to my life back. And there are just countless memories that I've made with every single one of them that I've been with in this organization. Yeah, we're definitely tightknit, of course, just like siblings as there's... a lot of members that butt heads and stuff, we always in the end come together for the right reasons. And do we love doing most and that's rodeo.
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CF: Yeah. Do you think that the gay rodeo community is different from the larger LGBTQ+ community?
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AL: Say that again.
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CF: Do you think that the gay rodeo community is different or how do you think it differs from the larger LGBTQ+ community?
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AL: So I actually do think there is a big difference. But like I said, like how I was treated by the gay community, like you don't really find that in gay rodeo. And that's just one example. But like, I can go into a bar with a bunch of people that know me and they'll be like, oh hi, hey, whatever. And then like, I go in to a rodeo to these people that I haven't seen a couple weeks and we just pick up right where we left off. And I mean, it's like a family on the rodeo side of it. But I don't feel that much towards people that I know in just the gay community itself.
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CF: Do you think that the gay community accepts the gay rodeo.
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AL: To an extent, like I mentioned earlier, times have changed. Especially like...Oh, I don't want to call the gay community catty, but all the catty gays nowadays don't really care for the rodeo. They'd rather go to brunch on Sundays and spend their time at house parties and stuff like that. But I mean, when we do shows and stuff, we always have a pretty good turnout from the local community people and they always help fundraise and raise money. And that's one thing about all the gay rodeo associations, all the money that we raised are uh, goes to charity.
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CF: You've mentioned shows a couple times. Do you perform?
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AL: I do. So something I never thought in my lifetime I would ever do. I used to be such a very nervous wreck. being in front of a lot of people, like I mentioned earlier when I went to finals in Albuquerque for the first finals rodeo, I got to watch the IGRA royalty competition. And I told my now partner, I told him, I think you know what? I want to do that, too. I think I want to help because the royalty teams are the face of their organization. They're the ones that help the most by going out raising money for these organizations. And I was like I would feel like so warm inside if I was able to help raise money and for all these charities and stuff. So we came back to Texas and I ended up running last year for the royalty team for Texas. And I actually won. And then back in October, I ran for Mr. IGRA and won that as well. So I am now, Mr. IGRA, which is insane. Yes, I do perform as a boy. I do not do drag.
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CF: Well, congratulations.
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AL: Unless it's for extra money.
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CF: Well, congratulations. That's really exciting.
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AL: Yeah, it's really exciting for me, too.
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CF: Yeah. This is your year: you're Mr. IGRA, you just got engaged.
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AL: I know it.
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CF: Yeah.
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AL: Been on cloud nine since October.
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CF: Would you describe the Mr. IGRA competition? What you do, how you perform?
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AL: So as Mr. IGRA, the competition itself was very, very challenging, not really challenging, but a lot of work. There was four of us total competing and they, they take the winner and then two runner ups, and so unfortunately one of us did not make it on the team this year. But we all worked really, really hard. That's all that matters to me. But the competition was really hard and it involved an interview where you have a panel of judges that ask you questions regarding rodeo history, IGRA history and then some questions just to like figure out what kind of person you are and what you bring to the table as if you were to become Mr. IGRA. And then you also do a performance of some sort and you can either do a performance or horsemanship, which horsemanship is a...they provide a pattern that you have to ride the horse in a certain way and fashion. Trot, here. Lope, here. Like that. So you have the option between those two and then you do onstage stage. Q and A. And Western wear. Sorry, I forgot Western wear too. But in my performances I didn't want to do horsemanship because it's so easy to mess up on and make your score drop. So, I didn't want to even risk that, but in all my performances I always do country music. I can't get myself to do any other style of music. I mean, I love rap and all other kinds of music and stuff, but I don't know. It's a country organization and I've tried to do it once. I was like, I just don't feel comfortable. I have to do country. But yeah, now like as Mr. IGRA, it's kind of hard, the whole team has been having a hard time doing what we are supposed to be doing because of this COVID-19 thing. Thankfully, IGRA has actually pushed the whole season to combine it with the '21 season. So we will now be IGRA royalty this year and next year. And so thankfully if something goes on, we still have of all next year to be able to raise our funds and, uh excuse me, raise our funds and go to all these rodeos and represent.
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CF: That's really exciting. I'm curious now that you're starting to ride and you're starting to work on your horsemanship, if like looking into the future, if you would do horsemanship in a competition like this later.
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AL: You know, I think if I had a little bit more training and was able like felt really comfortable with it, I definitely would. And I've actually me and my, my TGRA royalty team. We actually all three went on to compete at IGRA. And we're all three of us are on the team for IGRA as well. But we decided that we're going to come back in a couple of years and we're all going to swap roles. So like my friend Phillip, he actually does drag and he competed as a drag queen and won at that, my friend Jessie, she competed as a drag king, which is a woman that dresses as a man. And so we're all going to swap roles and run under different categories here in a couple years. So I'm like, well, we'll see what I can pull out of my boot and do that time.
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CF: That's amazing. Have you ever considered doing rough stock?
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AL: I have. And I've been thinking about doing chute dogging. Like I said, I tried it and I want to do it a couple more times before I actually spend money at a rodeo to try to do it, because watching some of the guys that have been around for 20, 30 plus years doing it, they do it so fast, it's almost like embarrassing to even try 'cause you're like, why? Why do it? But it'll be the fun of it.
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CF: Have you ever been injured at a rodeo?
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AL: Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. Oh, definitely.
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CF: What types of injuries have you occured?
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AL: So the the one rodeo that actually got to happen this year was in Arizona. Back in February. Me and my friend Philip were doing steer deco, which is putting a, you have to tie, a ribbon to the tail of a steer and I'm the ribbon tier. So, Philip had gotten on the head of the steer to kind of neutralize the steer and get him stopped. So I could get on the tail. And right when I got to the tail, he got a little rambunctious and got away from Philip and went straight into my crotch with his horns, hooked me in the leg. Thankfully, I haven't had any cuts, but I've had lots of bruises, no broken bones, thank goodness. Lots, lots of bruising and dizziness falling on my head. And...
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CF: It's dangerous. Anything with animals. Have you been injured on your horse, yet?
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AL: Yes, I have. And it was mainly my fault. When I first started riding him. I was giving him mixed signals as my horse trainer was telling me. And he put me right into the side of a fence and hurt my leg a little bit. But like I said, that was my fault.
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CF: What kind of horse did you guys get?
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AL: Oh, goodness. He's a, um... I always can't answer this question because I always forget the word. He's a, um... Well, no he's not a paint, he's a um... I'll have to get back to you on that one. I always forget what kind of that word that they call him?
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CF: We just met, but I can see you on a palomino.
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AL: Oh, I love Palominos. Yeah, he's not a palomino. I love palominos. My mom's horse that she had when I was first born was a palomino.
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CF: Do you think that you'll have more horses in the future? Is this just the beginning of your horsemanship?
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AL: I think so. We've been talking, my partner and I, about buying a ranch and potentially trying to host rodeos there like, um, we went out a couple of weeks ago and actually looked at property to buy. And we were going to put an arena out there and potentially start doing rodeos and small jackpots and stuff out there and get more horses.
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CF: Wow. That's going to be... gonna be fun.
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AL: It would be fun.
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CF: Yeah. Outside of rodeo, do you wear Western wear?
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AL: I do. Most of the time I'm in boots and jeans. Mainly a t-shirt, if I'm just out and about. If I'm going to show or anything to represent my organization or IGRA, I'm always in Western wear like you will not find me at a drag show or anything, not wearing western wear. Today, I've been having to run a bunch errands, so I'm not in Western wear. I'm wearing shorts and a t-shirt. But it's hot and I don't want to wear jeans. But, yeah, a majority of the time I'm in boots and jeans and a hat.
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CF: Do you consider yourself a cowboy?
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AL: Yes and no. I mean, I definitely enjoy the Western lifestyle and I partake in a lot of Western lifestyle, Western lifestyle aspects. But at the same time, um, in my opinion, a real cowboy is somebody that's out there working on the ranch doing stuff like on a day to day basis like, that's their job, like that's how they make their income is out herding cattle and doing all those kinda things. But in a sense I, at the same time, I think that people that are involved in rodeo, but not necessarily do the working in the fields and all that kind of stuff at the ranch like that, they're still considered a cowboy or a cowgirl.
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CF: What do you think the future of the IGRA is?
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AL: You know, I actually have really big dreams and I'm kind of excited for the future of it. I think that the royalty team, especially this year, has a lot of plans up our sleeves to try to get the general public more involved, not even just the gay community, but the general public more involved. And I think that's what we really need nowadays. So I'm actually really excited to see. I think it's going to grow a lot in the next couple of years. Hopefully, after all this COVID-19 stuff is gone.
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CF: When it does grow, what do you think that'll look like? What's your ideal ─░GRA rodeo space?
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AL: My honest dream for IGRA. I want to see it how it was back in the 80's when it first started. When I was running for IGRA and TGRA, I learned so much history on all the old rodeo's and I'm constantly getting the pictures sent to me from rodeo's from before I was even born, like gay rodeos too and it's insane to me like thinking Holy crap, that they've gone back this long. But you see pictures from these rodeo's and like the stands are full of people and it's just breathtaking and like so, nowadays, like we go to a rodeo in the stands or maybe half full, maybe a quarter full just depending on location or whatnot. But like Arizona's rodeo this year was like so amazing because both days there was not an empty seat in the stands. I mean, it was just full of people. And that's what, that's what I want to see happen. And I do think it's going to happen in the next year or two once we start getting more people involved.
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CF: It's amazing. I just have one last question for you. Have you ever experienced homophobia at the rodeo or on your way to a rodeo?
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AL: Um, at the gay rodeo's. I've never actually experienced that, thankfully. I don't think and I don't really recall ever seeing any protester or like you would see a gay pride. I haven't seen any of that. Yeah, I, it was actually funny, at finals last year, it was held in Scottsdale, Arizona, and the way the arena was, it was right next to a convention center that was having this RV show and this family came walking over, thinking it was like just a regular, like, straight rodeo. And it was really kind of funny. They came in and somebody had explained it to them and stuff and they're like, "well, we've been enjoying it. We're going to stay and I think we're gonna come back tomorrow and bring some of our friends too."
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CF: Oh, wow, that's amazing.
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AL: Yeah, it was actually, it was kind of nice because you wouldn't expect that from a straight family like how that was. But then that, that's just the sign of the times, I mean.
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AL: [...] But, um, so, I pretty much was saying, um, it's just a sign of the times now that everything is more accepting. You don't really see that negativity and... hateful words and stuff being spread all like wildfire, like it used to.
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CF: Well, thank you so much. Do you have anything else to add before I let you go?
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AL: I don't think so. I really think it's awesome what you guys are doing. And I can't wait to hear where it goes. Yeah, I wish you guys the best of luck in this. Hopefully, I get more people to enter in to have an interview done and I'll definitely spread it around to some of my royalty team. There's quite a few that have been around for a little bit. So I know that you guys were at convention, right? We have, yeah?
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CF: I think we're at convention and the Phoenix rodeo.
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AL: Yeah. OK. Yeah. Yeah. I remember seeing y'all at the Phoenix rodeo as well. I'll definitely hit up some more people because I love this. It's just giving more history for the books for the future. So.
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CF: Thank you so much.
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