Dusty Fleener: It is Saturday, November the twenty-third and it is 8:07 p.m. and we are sitting and visiting with Patrick. So, would you mind telling us about how you came to be involved with rodeo?
Patrick a.k.a. Cowboy Ram: So I came to be involved with rodeo when I first moved to Washington D.C. Prior to moving to Washington D.C. I was listening to a lot of country music and when I moved down I looked to see what kind of bars there were in Washington D.C. and I found that there was a gay country western bar called “Remington’s,” located on Capital Hill just about six blocks from the capital and after moving to Washington D.C. I went to Remington’s because being a listener of country western music I figured that would be a good bar for me to go to. And I walked in and saw the bar, saw the dancing and I thought “This is where I want to be,” so pretty soon I was spending five nights a week there. About two or three weeks after I moved to Washington D.C. the rodeo association had a table and I had seen rodeos before and I thought that might be something that I want to check out a little bit more. So they were promoting and selling tickets to the rodeo.
PCR: I was very poor in those days so I kind of waited until the end of the night just to get a little bit of information, ‘cause I didn’t have money to buy tickets. When I went up, Mike Lentz, who was very involved with Atlantic States Gay Rodeo Association - as a competitor, as president, as trustee - was one of the first people who I met and he looked at me toward the end of the night as they were packing their stuff up, ‘cause I figured you know I could swipe a newsletter and not really have to talk to anybody. But, he caught me, and he looked at me, and he said “Have you ever been to a rodeo before?” And I said, “Yes.” And he said “Well you should come to ours.” And I took the information and read the newsletter. I didn’t go to the rodeo that year but they were beginning to, after the rodeo, they were beginning to look for planning the committees and the board for the following year. There were a listing of committees and the contact information for them and I thought well this would be a good way for me to start making a social circle and getting some friends in a structured way and maybe I might date a cowboy or two.
PCR: So that’s kind of how I got started with the association itself. I joined the Social and Entertainment Committee and I joined the Public Relations Committee. The Social and Entertainment Committee was in charge of planning the volunteer appreciation event at the end of that year and I got involved in that and started talking to the then president, Jason Hayes, and working with him a little bit on the event and he was a bull rider and I thought to myself, “Well that will impress guys.” You know, “What do you do at the rodeo?” “I ride bulls.” So, as we became better friends I asked him how he got into rodeo and that I wanted to learn to be a competitor. He gave me some instructions on where to look for frodeo schools, etcetera, etcetera. And I went and learned from some rodeo schools and a year later I was doing steer riding. So that’s kind of the start.
DF: That’s amazing. And were you hesitant to start doing the steer riding? I mean, you had no experience with it beforehand, is that right?
PCR: I had no experience with steer riding or competing in rodeo beforehand. But I had done snowboarding prior to that and that was back in the days, you know, that was back before...that was back when snowboarding was looked at as the lazy man’s version of skiing, where it wasn’t taken seriously, it wasn’t considered a real event. It was basically, like, you were taking a skateboard and strapping it to your...a skateboard without wheels...strapping it to your feet with Wonder Bread ties and going down a mountain. So, I had done a little bit of an extreme sport beforehand. So doing rodeo itself and doing the steer riding my only hesitation was that I wanted to be good.
DF: What’s your definition of “being good?”
PCR: The definition of “being good” would be somebody who was consistently placing, consistently earning ribbons, consistently earning buckles. That was kind of my definition of “good.”
DF: Do you remember your first ribbon or buckle that you managed to earn?
PCR: The...I don’t remember my first ribbon or buckle. I actually do remember the first and only buckle that I have ever earned. So the first and only buckle that I had ever earned was with the Idaho Gay Rodeo Association. So they used to do an event every May and I would go out and participate in their event. They gave away one buckle, one buckle only for everything, one all-around buckle. Unlike some other rodeo associations or other rodeo events where they might have buckles for individual events or more than one buckle they had one and only one. And that was the first buckle that I had won by competing there. So, the first and only buckle I ever won.
DF: That was really something if they only had the one and you won it!
DF: My goodness. What year was that again?
PCR: That was 2003.
DF: And how much time, then, had passed into that point from when you had started the steer riding to earning the buckle?
PCR: Five years.
DF: Five years. Impressive amount of skill you managed to build up in such a short amount of time. And then was that still...you’re based out of Washington D.C. and you go clear out to Idaho to complete?
DF: Is that common?
PCR: Yes. Actually it is fairly common for people to basically travel the country to compete in rodeo
DF: Would your home association send other folks or would you all travel independently and just happen to go to different...is it a coordinated event, I guess?
PCR: It was more travelling independently but a lot of us would wind up at some of the same rodeos for the early, you know, late 90s early 2000s. You know, people would travel the circuit, like, a career, so you see a lot of the same people at the same rodeos and it’d be the same groups of people so, you know, kind of unorganized contingents that would be coming to the various rodeos across the country.
DF: But so good to have those familiar faces and the touchstones of “Oh yeah, I haven’t seen you since…”
PCR: Yes. Yep.
DF: And so that’s how you got your start in rodeo and now you’re president of your association.
PCR: Yes. And now I’m president of the association! [Laughter.] Thanks to Michael Lentz as well!
DF: So really he is bookending the story here for beginning and to your rise to where you are now?
PCR: Yes. Yeah.
DF: Does he give more encouragement? More, “You look like you could use something else to get your hands into?”
PCR: I’m sorry, say that again?
DF: So he invited you to get into rodeo to start with, and then did he also invite you to get into the leadership roles?
PCR: Now, well, probably after about the first year after I joined the Social and Entertainment Committee the person who was head of the Social and Entertainment Committee, at that time, Tracy Hipps, actually he was the one who kind of encouraged me to be head of the Social and Entertainment Committee the following year. I did that, I did Public Relations for a little while, and those were the two positions that I held until holding the position of president.
DF: May I ask how that transition occurred?
PCR: Sure! [Laughter.] So the way that transition occurred is we had somebody, Beth Brockleman, who had been in the position of president for probably, like, I would say four years. Maybe five years. And she was ready to step down and there wasn’t anybody else and we were having a membership meeting and what happened was I was on my way to the membership meeting, so I was on the phone, and you know they were talking about who was going to be the next president and how they were going to do nominations and blah, blah, blah, and at that point my phone lost signal and cut out.
PCR: And so, about, you know, a few minutes later I called back when the signal was back and I said, “Hey,” you know, “Calling back in! What did I miss?” And Mike Lentz said, “Well, we just nominated and elected you president!” [Laughter.] And I thought, “Ha ha ha, he’s joking!” But when I got to the meeting it wasn’t a joke. They had nominated and elected me to be president. So that’s how that happened!
DF: Did they give you any kind of...did the former person give you guidance? Give you assistance into stepping into that role?
PCR: Well Mike Lentz and a few other folks like Les Boggs, and Louis Vernado, and Andy Pitman, and other people who had been involved in rodeo have been really good over the years in terms of being a resource for questions, sounding board, being a pair of hands, being at the rodeo, you know...Sonny Kurner, Mark Larsen, Oscar Moschello, or other members of our association who’ve done a lot of hands on work and a lot of, you know, vocal listening and sounding board and that kind of thing.
DF: So you weren’t unsupported.
DF: It sounds like a good family watching out for you.
PCR: Yes. Yep.
DF: What were some of the most challenging things that you’ve had to deal with in your tenure as president?
PCR: Well membership growth is one of the things that is most challenging. For the area that we are in venues for doing events, whether they be rodeo school events or whether they be membership events. Another challenge is, you know, the membership who was part of the association in its adolescence is now matured into its middle age and maturing into the middle age they’re not as interested as they are in doing bar event when you’re like twenty-six and thirty-two when...you know, you’re forty-two and like fifty-six, you’re kind of interested in doing something else other than going to bars. So we’re trying to meet that desire and that need for the membership...is some of the challenges that I’ve had as president of the association.
DF: And you have some new ideas on how to grow membership?
PCR: That’s something that we’re always looking at, yeah.
DF: And so that was the challenging. What are some of the most rewarding things for you in your time as tenure of president?
PCR: Some of the most rewarding things...is, um, some of the most rewarding things...actually, the most rewarding thing is when people come up to me and they say...they either have really fond memories of the rodeo that we used to produce, or really fond memories of the dances, or really fond memories of our rodeo weekend, or they come and they say that they didn’t know that such a thing as gay rodeo existed. What makes that really rewarding is our last rodeo that we produced was in 2008 and our membership and IGRA’s membership has had a decline from, you know, the middle 2000s to now.
PCR: But I kind of think to myself even though we may have a decline in membership, you know, how lucky am I to have been a part of something where, you know, people still remember it, like, ten years later. So that’s the thing that’s most rewarding and then finding people who are interested in country western and are interested in rodeo competition and they live in our area and they don’t know where to start or where to look, or that such a thing exists. So that’s the thing that is rewarding, is providing that for the people who...that has been their life, they want to continue that being in Washington D.C. and we can provide a way for them to do that.
DF: Do people in Washington D.C., especially when they just discover the rodeo community, do they have that disconnect of “Well, it’s not out West.” You know, these ideas about cowboys are out West and the “American West.” Do they have some incongruity with...over on the east side of the states?
PCR: A little bit. The questions that they tend to ask is, you know, “Where do you do that?” and “How do you practice it?” So that’s the part that’s the disconnect for them.
DF: And you mentioned venues were an issue of just trying to secure the space. Is it that you have to go so far afield to find an appropriate one or one that will fit the size of the event that you’re running?
PCR: A little bit of both. Finding a venue space that is in close enough an area of Washington D.C. that you’re not asking people to travel way far out and then finding something that would meet the requirements for what International Gay Rodeo Association is looking for in terms of your venue space.
DF: You mentioned that you had moved to Washington D.C., where was home for you originally? Were you a military brat and moved around? Or did you come from out west and moved east? Or...
PCR: No, I came from New England.
DF: New England?
PCR: Yes. Yeah. If you’ve ever seen the movie “The Witches of Eastwick” that’s my town.
DF: But Washington D.C. is now where the heart is?
PCR: Yes. Yeah. It, well, no the heart is still in New England but the body is in Washington D.C. Most of my family is still in the New England area, so, yeah.
DF: And you have siblings?
PCR: I do. I have two sisters.
DF: Are they older? Younger?
PCR: They’re younger.
DF: Okay so you didn’t get picked on. At least they didn’t gang up on you?
PCR: No, no.
DF: What was growing up in New England like for you?
PCR: I spent most of my time at the beach. Like every summer. And where I lived was...so you know, it was south of Boston and for the time that I grew up it was actually considered a fairly big town because we had twenty-five thousand people which was fair sized but we were kind of not suburban. We’re probably “sub-urban suburban.” I like to tell people that we were so close to being off the map that there was literally a park called “World’s End.” Growing up there wasn’t too much that is unique or unusual about the way that I grew up.
PCR: Most summers were spent at the beach, the whole entire day spent at the beach. Most winters were spent in school, or as I got older, working. Other than that the most striking thing is when I grew up, if we had any kind of storm that was slightly remotely bad, the power would go out and sometimes the power might go out for three days and that was just a very normal part of growing up. And it wasn’t unusual to be prepared for that kind of problem, so, you would get out your candles and light them and...
DF: So like a taste of frontier life, really?
PCR: Yes. Yeah.
DF: You mentioned snowboarding and then time at the beach, so you were very much into the high...extreme sports activities as well? Maybe surfing or, um, things like that that drew the adrenaline out?
PCR: I did rowing, rowing on my own when I was in eighth grade, so my parents bought me a small dinghy for going into high school. It was something that I’d wanted for a very long time so I spent like three or four summers rowing all around Boston harbor with me and my two cousins. So I did that, and then when I got into the latter part of high school and the beginning part of college that was when I started to get into snowboarding. And I went to college in Maine, so there was a lot of opportunity to do the snowboarding there.
DF: Did you have a fascination with being a cowboy or the ideas about western life even then? Or was this more of a recent interest?
PCR: So it was a little more recent. When I was really young we would listen to country music, so, Linda Ronstadt, Barbara Mandrell and the Mandrell Sisters, I had a huge crush on Irlene Mandrell ‘cause my father had told me that she could play twenty-six different instruments and I just thought that was so incredible that I was just over the moon any time that her and her sisters would perform. Oakridge Boys, you know, Chrisofferson, Johnny Cash, all those. Dolly Parton, of course. And then probably as I started to grow up and get into junior high and high school I started listening to a little bit more rock and pop. And then after graduating college started to listen to more country music.
PCR: Shortly after I graduated from college Wynonna and Naomi Judd stopped performing as The Judds, and it was just Wyonna on her own, and one of the first songs she ever performed was “No One Else on Earth” and I really liked that song so I bought her whole entire album. And then shortly after that Reba McEntire came out with “Why Haven’t I Heard From You” which I thought was the most hysterical thing I had heard up to that point, and I bought the album for that song and by that time Garth Brooks really started becoming very popular and so I just kind of fell back into it after being away from it for a while.
DF: Do you have continuing interest in the contemporary music that comes out? New releases as well? Are you still following along with the...
PCR: Yes, I am. I’m still following along with contemporary country music, so, Sam Hunt, Kane Brown...I also really like Trace Adkins, you know, I was a very big Chris Cagle fan and he was very nice to look at as well...Tim McGraw, Alan Jackson, all those folks, but also I really like some of the more contemporary country as well. Country as a music has evolved consistently, so the country music of the ‘40s sounds different of the country music of the ‘50s sounds, different of the country music of the ‘70s, sounds different of the country music of the ‘90s and the country music of today. So, my all time favorite country music song is “Crackers” by Barbara Mandrell, and you go back and you listen to her version of that song and it doesn’t sound very country at all, so, some of the music that is being performed today by Sam Hunt and by Lady Antebellum and by some of the other more contemporary performers that people might not say sounds like country...some of the music that was country music back in the ‘70s...that didn’t really sound like country either.
DF: Do you...um, when you were doing the social event planning did you plan mostly around music or did you plan it around other events? Like maybe a barbecue or bowling or...how would you prefer to schedule social events when you were in charge?
PCR: It was mainly around music, so we would do different...we had a, um, dance competition. So we had the “Atlantic Coast Open,” and so that was a dance competition...couples dance competition. We also did, um, social events in regards to, um, gosh what were some of the things that we did? [Laughter.] That was so long ago! We did a dance at Baltimore Harbor for a few years, um, also planning a lot of the social events for the rodeo weekend itself...the dances that took place for that...performances, and then also we did some drag shows and other types of events that we would do in bars as social and entertainment events. So two of the ones that I remember most fondly are...we had a event that we did that was a quiz show event. It was called “Gone in Sixty Seconds.”
PCR: We would have people come up as contestants and they would have sixty seconds to ask...sixty seconds to answer questions. And those questions were usually centered around events and things that were happening within the gay community so they could be leather events, the could be drag events, they could be history events, um, but we used it really as a way to try and reinforce the marketing of what’s coming up. You know, when is the International Leather Convention? When does the rodeo take place? When is New York City’s Pride? Those were the kind of questions that we asked and then people moved up, kind of Price Is Right style, you know, whoever won moved into the final round and if we had a tie then we would have a lightning round with whoever was in the tie to answer questions. And if you got one wrong then you know that was it.
PCR: It was like sudden death match! So that was the first event that I really liked that we did, and then the second event that we did was, um, the rodeo association had done a event called “The Shirt Off Your Back” auction. So they would auction off western t-shirts and they’d have good looking cowboys and cowgirls who would come out, people would bid on them and then whoever the winner was had the opportunity to take the shirt off the cowboy or cowgirl. We took that event and we put a little...we made it accessible for poor people, ‘cause not everybody could bid like sixty dollars on a shirt. So what we would do is we would have the good looking cowboys and cowgirls in the shirts and then we would have various prizes. So it could be a gift certificate to dinner, it could be a rodeo buckle, it could be a bar tab.
PCR: And we took and put whatever the prize was in an envelope and put it around the neck of the cowboy or cowgirl and sold raffle tickets. So you could buy one raffle ticket for a dollar or we would do a whole string of them for ten dollars. So, you know, we would measure your arm, we would measure your leg, we would measure around your chest to try and maximize what you were getting. If your raffle number was called, and you were a winner, you could come up and you could choose...you know...like door number one, door number two, door number three, or door number four style...which cowboy or cowgirl whom you wanted to take their shirt off and you would open up the envelope underneath and receive whatever that prize was.
DF: That’s a wonderful setup for that! You mentioned, um, the Pride, um...you said Pride Parade, was it?
PCR: Yes. Yeah. Pride Parade.
DF: Do you partner with other organizations outside of rodeo often in Washington D.C. area? Collaborate, share members, volunteers?
PCR: We do. We are a member of Team DC. Team DC is the umbrella organization for all the sports organizations in Washington D.C., so, rugby, and kickball, and softball, and flag football, and dodgeball, and volleyball, and water polo, etcetera, etcetera, are all members of Team DC as well. So we’ll do things for them, like at Pride or if they’re doing some kind of volunteering...actually last week they had what they call The Challenge Cup. So people could get teams of five to participate in a quiz show, to participate in beer pong, to participate in darts, and to participate in Mario Kart. And we were judges for two of the events, so, we had somebody who judged the darts and then we had somebody who judged the beer pong, so, that’s our way of...you know...that’s kind of how we work with other organizations in the city to kind of collaborate with them.
DF: And do you have a float or march in Pride Parade? Have representation there to help get out the word that Gay Rodeo exists?
PCR: We do. We usually do marching in the Pride Parade or some other kind of involvement. Last year what we did was we were servers at one of the beer tents.
DF: Ah, excellent. And then do you, um, still find people that are “Oh this is wonderful! I had no idea this had existed” and...
DF: ...even in the digital age, and mass media, and...
PCR: Yes. We do have people who are very excited. We do a horseback ride every month, so people...and it’s...that’s only twenty minutes out of D.C. so people are excited to come and participate in that, you know, to know something like that exists, you know, some kind of outdoor thing...is in the area and is accessible to them. So they’re excited to hear about that. They’re excited to hear about rodeo. You know, a lot of people are traveling more for work, or working remotely.
PCR: And in Washington D.C. there’s a lot of that kind of...type of transient work where, you know, you might be going out to different parts of the country to do whatever it is you do. So having an organization like ours that is spread across the country, you know, you can tell people that yes there’s a rodeo that happens in New Mexico. There’s one that happens in California. In Colorado, and Missouri. So that as people are traveling they can look for that and look for their events and go to them and be part of it.
DF: Aside from your own event do you have a favorite event that you like to go to in the contemporary time?
PCR: Um. [Pause.] Hmm, I would say...you’re talking about on the rodeo circuit?
DF: Or anything.
PCR: Or anything? Um, I would probably say one of my favorite events to go to is flag football. I like going to flag football because I can just sit on the sidelines and watch and eat doughnuts and coffee and they’re running around and you know I can clap and so...yeah. That would be my...that would be the one outside of rodeo. And then inside rodeo I would probably say that the events that I really like going to are probably the events where they might have smaller turnout or smaller association rodeos. I really like going to the Missouri rodeo. North Star is going to be having a rodeo upcoming this year that’s something I would look forward to going to.
DF: Have they had a hiatus from having rodeos for a while or is this going to be their first?
PCR: So they usually do it about once every other year and I think that they had one...they had one in 2018 but not 2019 so they’re doing it again for 2020. But I think before 2018 it may have been three or four years before they had had a rodeo.
DF: May I ask what does being a cowboy mean to you?
PCR: So what being a cowboy means to me is being there to help people. Volunteer. To be a fair competitor...it’s one of the things about the rodeo association is people are willing to help you be a better competitor. They’re still going to try and beat you but they’re willing to provide you with guidance, and information, and hands-on help to make you better. One of the guys that I mentioned before, Oscar Moschello, back in the early days when I had started steer riding, one of the things that takes place with steer riding is your steer gets loaded into the chute, you have to have your own rope that you’re going to use to slip your hand into and ride the steer, tie it around him, and then there’s usually somebody there who helps set you down and that person is kind of your safety person so that way if you need to be pulled off the steer or the bull or the bronc in short order they’re there to do it.
PCR: And Oscar Moschello, he had gone and done his steer ride, he had finished with it, he was coming back from the area after coming off his steer and I was going up next and the crew shouted out “Who’s tying this guy in?” And Oscar Moschello said “Me! Me! I’ve got him!” So he had just come off competing himself and he was willing to take the time to show somebody who was newer, and be there for somebody who was newer, to help tie him in, be his safety and make sure that the person who was competing against him also had a good ride.
DF: And do you remember if you had a good ride?
PCR: I probably did not! [Laughter.] Most people who are...most people who are doing competing and competing in the same events that I were...you know...so for us you have to stay on your rough stock for six seconds. You know I think I...in the times that I was not covering the full six seconds I might have done two seconds, three seconds. For the roping events, you know, the people who were doing it that are really in the top part, they’re doing it in six seconds or under. You know I’m more in like the twelve, thirteen, maybe eighteen seconds for the speed events. But for the people who are doing those in really good time they’re doing them in about two minutes and some change. You know mine is probably more like four minutes.
DF: So you’re still actively competing then while you’re president?
PCR: Actually I stopped competing in 2007.
DF: Oh, my apologies. Did your family come and watch you compete?
PCR: My family never came to watch me compete. [Laughter.] If only Facebook Live existed back then! [Laughter.] They could have watched! [Laughter.]
DF: I bet sharing your win of the belt buckle was pretty good though.
PCR: Yes. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I really...yes. Yeah that’s one of my...that’s one of the things that I would save from my house if it were burning down.
DF: Did any of your family members ever complete in rodeo?
DF: You’re breaking ground as the first to do it?
PCR: Yeah. I’m the first person. My sister did...one sister did ballet. One sister did wind surfing. And then I had two cousins who I grew up with and, um, they both did baseball.
DF: Commendable for them. I find baseball quite challenging myself. Did you pick up music then with the strong interest? Did you do singing or musical instruments for yourself?
PCR: I did not. I did pick up dancing though and so that’s...you know...that is one of the things that I am fairly good at.
DF: Do you do competitive dancing then?
PCR: No, I don’t do competitive, just pleasure dancing. But I really enjoy it. I really enjoy...I enjoy dancing with people who may not be as confident in their dancing, um, as I feel. When I was first learning to dance it probably took, like, two years to be really good and I always tell people who are just starting out to learn to dance, you know, that it’s process, you’ll get it. You know? For me, when I was first learning, it probably took, like, three or four months before you could speak to me while we were dancing. And then you could speak to me but I couldn’t speak back to you. Probably it was like six to eight months where I could speak back to you but it would be one syllable answers, so, “What’s your name?” “Patrick.” “Are you from D.C.?” “Yes.” “What do you do for work?” “Reception.”
PCR: And then probably, you know, none to twelve months, you know, I could say a full sentence. “My name is Patrick.” “I’m from Washington D.C..” “I work as a receptionist.” And probably it took a year to eighteen months before I could really have a conversation with somebody while I was dancing because otherwise I would just get thrown off and trip over my feet, trip over their feet, so I always tell people who are new dancers who might be shy or intimidated or not that confident in their ability that, you know, you’ll get it. Just keep doing it and you’ll get it.
DF: I bet they take a lot of heart from that.
PCR: I hope that they do.
DF: Do you do dancing at rodeos or is rodeo strictly for competition? Or is there a social aspect to it? Because I know that this [the IGRA convention] is a little different because it’s a convention so I’ve been warned that some things happen here that don’t happen out at rodeos, and some things happen at rodeos that don’t come back here.
PCR: Correct. Um, so, most rodeos will have some kind of social aspect to it depending on where you are. Like here in Denver there’s Charlie’s, that’s a dance venue. There are some rodeos where they’ll actually have a dance as part of the rodeo itself. And then there are other rodeos where its, you know, just going out to a bar or a restaurant and hanging out afterwards.
DF: Do you have a plan ahead of time with some friends? I mean now we have the digital age, back...perhaps further back they had telephone calls and maybe they were just lucky and it was like: “Well, we’ll hopefully see you at Phoenix or wherever.” But do you...do you try to plan ahead with your friends to say, well, “I won’t make this one but I will make this one and let’s try to get together there”?
PCR: Yes. You do do some of that, um, prior to being a little bit more connected as we are now, you know, pretty much everybody wound up at the same place. So, you know, everybody would want...here in Denver you knew to go to Charlie’s. If you were in Dallas you knew to go to The-Roundup. If you were in our rodeo you knew we had dances that took place with the rodeo itself, so, people would just naturally wind up in the same place.
DF: We talked a little bit about how some of the rodeo has changed since when you first stepped into it, to becoming president. What are some of the changes its had from maybe membership decline or venue struggles that you have seen change for better or for worse within rodeo in general?
PCR: I think the biggest change that I have seen is that we have a lot of our competitors, now, who compete in places like National Barrel Horse Association, or compete in straight organizations, traditionally straight organizations, and they compete and they’re open and nobody really thinks anything about it. So, that’s probably one of the biggest changes that I see and, um, along with that...getting back to country music, with Ty Herndon who had...Ty Herndon came out, I forget how many years ago, and his career has actually had a resurgence because of that, whereas for many years he was in the closet for fear that it would ruin his career. So that kind of shows how far the world has come from when gay rodeo first began.
DF: Did you ever have to worry about concealing that you were participating in gay rodeo? Did you have to worry about your own career or your own connections with families and friends that maybe wouldn’t have been as open or accepting about it?
PCR: I didn’t really have to worry about that ‘cause I was stupid. So, one of the first places that I worked in Washington D.C. I was talking with a co-worker and she said, you know, “Oh, how was your weekend?” And she told me whatever she did for her weekend and I said to her, “Well, you know, I went out dancing this weekend and it was a good time and I’m kind of learning that I’m really a much better lead as a dancer than I am as a follower.” And she said, “Don’t guys always follow?” And I...it was one of those moments in time that expanded out like you would see in the movies where I thought to myself, like, okay, I have a choice here. I can either play it off as something or I can tell her the truth. And, um, what I said to her was “Well, where I go dancing men dance with men and the women dance with women.” And she just went, “Oh.” Like, you know, oh! “I’ve never met a gay, lesbian, or bisexual person before.”
PCR: And then after that I was like, you know, that’s it. I’m going to make the choice not to hide because if I do have to hide, I don’t want to be there. So that’s my one story, and then the other story that I will tell is, um, in terms of connecting with people as a person and not just seeing you as a...somebody who is gay...but seeing you in the same way that we always used to say, you know, we don’t want to be “the gay doctor” or “the gay teacher” or “the gay veterinarian.” We want to be seen as the doctor who just happens to be gay. Or the teacher who just happens to be gay. So, one of the rodeos that I went to compete in, which was a straight rodeo, the friend with whom I went to complete...he and I were out and we weren’t in our rodeo gear we were just in street clothes, like regular street clothes, and we were at some restaurant, like Outback or something like that.
PCR: We were kind of sitting around waiting to get ot our table and across the way from me I could see this kid hitting his dad on the leg and kind of pointing over at us. And his dad leaned in and the kid said something to him and his dad said loud enough for me to hear, “Yes, that is a Dale Jr. hat he has on.” ‘Cause I had a Dale Ernhart Jr. hat on. And I looked over at them and I said, “And he is my favorite driver.” And the two of us, you know, we just talked briefly NASCAR, and then they went on to sit at their table and my friend and I went to sit at our table. But that kind of connection with somebody else as a human being and talking about the rodeo and rodeo association, as a rodeo association, as you would talk about any other amateur rodeo association.
PCR: So I would be in conversation with people and they’d say, “Oh, where have you completed before?” And I would say, “I’m a member of International Professional Rodeo Association and I’m a member of Atlantic States Gay Rodeo Association.” And once in a while people would say, “Day rodeo association?” and I’d say, “No, gay rodeo association.” And they sometimes might be taken aback by that but then after talking with me and after talking rodeo life, country music, you know, etcetera, etcetera, they would come to look at me and accept me as a person and not be uncomfortable or standoff-ish or weird because I was a bisexual guy competing in gay rodeo. [Pause.] And I wanted to move our ball forward! So I was like, anywhere where I am confident I ain’t getting the crap beat out of me! [Laughter.] I’m going to make sure they know it’s gay rodeo! ‘Cause I am gonna break that glass closet! [Laughter.] So, yeah.
DF: So what does the community then mean to you from when you first started to now? I mean, you’ve made more connections, you’ve taken on more responsibility. You certainly have a lot of people, just even here, from all walks of life who intersect, now, with your life. What has transformed for you in regards to being part of the community?
PCR: I think it still means the same thing as it does then. For me the attraction of the community itself wasn’t because it was a gay venue, it was really the attraction of, like I said, Oscar Moschello. You know your competitors being willing to help you. Our events tend to be whole entire weekend events. The way that they are different in terms of what you would find for straight rodeo...for straight rodeo, on a Saturday you might have people come in, compete, and that you know...it might be a two or three day event but your competitors aren’t necessarily competing for the whole entire weekend. So, you may have barrel racers and flag racers on Friday. You might do your rough stock on Saturday. You know, and then you might do whatever other events on Sunday. You know, or you might do the events again and again each night. Saturday night you’re going to have one set of bull riders.
PCR: Sunday night it’s going to be a totally different set of bull riders, ‘cause the ones on Saturday night they’ve done their ride, they’ve gone out Sunday morning, they’re moving onto whatever the next one is. Whereas for us it’s more of a whole entire weekend of competition. So you do Saturday and Sunday and that leads to a little bit more of a connection because you’re with the people the whole entire weekend. You don’t just see them on one day and then they’re gone and you might not see them again for, you know, three to six months. For our rodeo, you know, you kind of seen a lot of the same faces again and again at different rodeos more consistently than you would with a straight or a professional rodeo.
DF: Have you started any traditions or do you have favorite traditions within rodeo that it just has special meaning for you?
PCR: Um. [Pause.] None that I can think of right now.
DF: My apologies, a little bit out of left field. It just occurred to me there when you were talking about some of the events and then with music and the venues and the community coming together I didn’t know maybe if you’d started something with yours that had then been transferred out to the other rodeos as well.
PCR: Oh, yes! Actually, I can! Yes! Yes! My proudest accomplishment that I see transferred to other rodeos...so, back in the day we had three royalty titles. We had a Ms. We had a Miss. And we had a Mister. So your Ms. was your drag queen, your Miss was your real girl...no, your Miss was your drag queen! Your Ms., “M” “S” “period,” was your real girl. And then your Mister was your guy. In Washington D.C. there was a good drag king community, so, male impersonators as opposed to female impersonators, and somewhere, you know, in the early 2000s I had brought up the idea of having a “MsTer.” So, a drag king to go with the drag queen. And that’s still going on today. There is a MsTer International Gay Rodeo Association. I’m very proud of that. And I’m very proud that has continued ‘cause I think it is a good representation of our community and as rodeo’s acceptance as a whole for, you know, no matter who you are, come as you are.
DF: So you had to form a committee to make that happen? Or did you just put a motion forward to the board?
PCR: It was something that we ran through our board and we ran through our current royalty for Atlantic States Gay Rodeo Association. And actually they were fairly open to it, so, yeah we had one for a few years and then other rodeo associations started having them.
DF: So they saw that you had it and that’s a great idea!
PCR: Yes. Yep.
DF: That’s a good accomplishment to be proud of. I don’t want to be taking up your time so I just wanted to let you know that it is now 9:04 if you...
PCR: That’s fine. Yeah.
DF: I just wanted to make sure I wasn’t cutting into your time. Pardon me, I’ll make sure I’m referencing my question sheet so I don’t go too far afield by accident. [Pause.] Have you ever done rough stock events? I’m not quite sure about the categories so pardon me if we’ve already discussed it.
PCR: Yes, I have, yes. Steer wrestling, steer riding. Yep. Those were the two rough stock events.
DF: And have you ever been injured in rodeo?
PCR: So, the injuries that I have had...is...I’ve broken my nose. I’ve dislocated my knee. I’ve had a fracture in my forearm. I’ve had a fracture in one of my foot...I can’t remember if it’s the left or right foot. And I’ve broken three of my fingers. Oh! And I’ve split my chin open. And that was all before I started competing in rodeo! [Laughter.] So, I have actually been every lucky in that I haven’t been injured at all to any kind of extent in rodeo. Um, International Gay Rodeo Association does a really good job of making sure that there’s safety for the animals and then also safety for the contestants as well. I’ve managed to actually escape being seriously injured while I’ve completed in rodeo.
DF: Hopefully the good fortune continues!
PCR: Yes! Yeah.
DF: Why do you think fewer people are joining the association today?
PCR: I think fewer people are joining the associations because they have the ability to go ahead and compete in other organizations. So for us, we were a safe space and a safe haven for you to come and not have to worry is somebody going to steal your equipment. Are you going to come out to your horse trailer and find the word “faggot” keyed up in it. Are you gonna find that people aren’t willing to help you. That your name mysteriously disappears off of the registration roster. When you would come to our event you could come and you could be yourself and you didn’t have to hide. Years ago our registrations asked for your alias. And when I first started competing I thought, you know, oh that’s kind of cute they’re asking whether or not you have a nickname like on the circuit. Like, I know some do. So I wrote down my nickname. And then the first time that I went to compete I went to the order board and I couldn’t find my name.
PCR: And I turned to go and find one of the officials and say “My name isn’t listed but I saw my nickname on there.” And somebody explained to me sometime later that the reason that they use nicknames was so that if for any reason some of the registration sheets wound up blowing away or in public hands that people who really wanted to or needed to be closeted didn’t have to fear being out, or outed, that they could compete with cover. And that was something that just didn’t even cross my mind that they would do. Today, I...you know...we don’t do that anymore. You know they don’t ask for aliases or nicknames. You just compete under your name. And your alias or your nickname might be used as a real nickname. But they’ll announce your real name as well.
PCR: And for things like professional rodeo associations or things like barrel horse associations, there isn’t the same kind of fear and stigma and intolerance that people used to face. And so people feel like they don’t necessarily have to come to us anymore ‘cause they can do competition through these other venues and not have to fear being who they are. So that’s our little microcosm and I think a larger microcosm is that we want to enjoy the reward for which we worked so hard. Tom Hanks starred in the movie Philadelphia with Antonio Banderas. And I was reading recently that there was a scene in the movie where Tom Hanks and Antonio Banderas were in bed together and they cut that scene out because they felt like the world couldn’t handle it. The TV show Dynasty used to have the character of Steven Carrington. And in the beginning it was very clear, like, his storyline was he was a gay man. That was his struggle. That was the friction between him and his father. And as the show went along they kind of straight-washed him a little bit more in portrays him.
PCR: And one of the very first things that they show in the very first episode is Steven and Sam meet at a bar, they get into an elevator and start making out, and then one of the very next scenes is the two of them in bed together...and it’s very clear that they’ve had sex, and that is kind of an evolution of where we were to now where we are. And I think the community as a whole really wants to enjoy that place for which we worked so hard. So, people are beginning to reconnect with families. They are beginning to reconnect with their kids and their grandkids and they kind of want to enjoy that life that being a person who just happens to be gay...that we all marched and chanted and met with politicians to work so hard for. the middle of the show. So he was in these relationships with women and marrying women and they made him appear less gay. And then as the 80s started to come to an end they kind of re-resurrected some of his gay storyline. But it was always very, um, chaste and clandestine and he wasn’t kissing another guy. He wasn’t touching another guy. They weren’t even holding hands. It was all suggested.
PCR: You look at the reboot of Dynasty and they have Steven Carrington and in the very first episode he meets Sammy Jo. Rafael de la Fuente I think is the actor who portrays him. And one of the very first things that they show in the very first episode is Steven and Sam meet at a bar, they get into an elevator and start making out, and then one of the very next scenes is the two of them in bed together...and it’s very clear that they’ve had sex, and that is kind of an evolution of where we were to now where we are. And I think the community as a whole really wants to enjoy that place for which we worked so hard. So, people are beginning to reconnect with families. They are beginning to reconnect with their kids and their grandkids and they kind of want to enjoy that life that being a person who just happens to be gay...that we all marched and chanted and met with politicians to work so hard for.
DF: What were some of those marches and meetings that you had participated in? I mean, was it, um, solely your organization or partner groups that you had scheduled time to go and meet with politicians to put initiatives forward? Or to share your personal stories and push person-first language?
PCR: In Washington D.C. there were a couple of different organizations that would do that. So we would participate in a few of the marches on Washington that happened. I, myself, personally was a member of the Service Members Defense League...the military group that worked to help repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. So I would participate in their lobby day every year going and speaking to the politicians about repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. So, it was both. From an organizational stand point it was more of taking place within the marches and more of just being who we were in the community. For myself as and individual it was more being involved with Service Members Defense League.
DF: And so you were in the service then as well?
PCR: I was not. No.
DF: Oh, oh. Just part of the...
PCR: Yes. But my father and my uncle...my father and two uncles were both in the military service.
DF: So you were quite familiar with everything they had to go through. We talked about the nickname piece, do most people know you as “Patrick” or do they know you by a nickname then?
PCR: Most people know me as Patrick.
DF: When you used that first nickname, um, was that something that you had brought with you from childhood through young adulthood, into the rodeo? Or was that something that was rodeo specific?
PCR: No that was something rodeo specific. So, back in the day the first email provider that I used was Juno. So. [Laughter.] You remember Juno!
DF: I loved my Juno account. I miss it.
PCR: [Laughter.] So I first used Juno and then Juno went away or something. Juno went away or something happened so I had to have a new one and I wanted to come up with a name that was unique, because my name is Patrick Hunter so it was going to be...you know if I typed that in it was going to be like, patrickhunter534792.
DF: A randomizer.
PCR: Yes, exactly. So I didn’t want something that randomized. I wanted something that spoke about who I was, was easy to remember, and then something that was a little bit risque. So I thought, you know, well “cowboy” that’s obvious. You know, “cowboy” will be a part of it, but, you know what can be like the second part of it? At that time I owned a Dodge Ram truck, which I loved! Loved my Dodge Ram truck. And then I’m also an Aries, and the Aries symbol is the ram. So I thought, oh, “cowboyram.” That’s easy to remember, you know, and if you say it like Mae West it can be kind of suggestive. And I put that into hotmail, nobody else had it, so done! So that’s what I took as my own self christened nickname.
DF: And you still use that nickname?
PCR: Yes. Yep. Yeah that’s on my...it’s on my email addresses, it’s on...yes. If you type “cowboyram” into Google then you’ll probably find some things that come up that are mine
DF: That’s a very creative one to come up with! [Pause.] You’d mentioned that sometimes people would have to be concerned about their gear being stolen or having their trailer keyed. Was that a pretty common occurrence? Or was it just more there was a few bad apples out there that just had it in for folks?
PCR: So that would happen to a lot of folks that were competing in straight events. Yeah, so it was mainly in straight events.
DF: It wasn’t when they would go back to their home communities?
PCR: Yeah. Nothing like that would happen within gay rodeo or within any of the gay rodeo venues because we would have our own security and our own security usually came from the community itself. In addition to some police officers but a lot of it was our community on its own. So yeah, they would definitely be looking out for folks. But for people who would compete in straight rodeo and straight rodeo events there were some places where things like that would happen. Where gear would be stolen, your name would go missing...they wouldn’t have you as a competitor...and you know somebody might damage your horse trailer or your vehicle. You know, where the message was clear, like, you’re not wanted here.
DF: I hope you never had to experience anything like that yourself.
PCR: I did not have to experience anything like that myself. I was very lucky in that aspect. I think part of that was being smart about where I chose to go. I think part of that was having somebody with me who...you know, I was never there by myself. I was always with somebody else. And then part of it was just being a...part of it was just being a regular person. So...
DF: You mean regular person...you mean just how you introduce yourself to people? Carried yourself? Or...
PCR: No, so...to put it to you this way, going and competing at straight event I always made it clear that the only dick that I’m interested in here is my own. And having a nice big shiney belt buckle placed on top of it. So none of you boys have to worry about me being here ‘cause I’m here to compete and I’m here to win.
DF: And you did, I hope!
PCR: Ah yes, I did win a lot of ribbons. Yes. I did get a lot of ribbons.
PCR: Thank you.
DF: When we talked about protesting for rights and your activities with pride marches and other communities did you ever have the opposite where you had to interact with say PETA demonstrations or, um, other groups that would be protesting against what you were doing?
PCR: We did used to have some issues with PETA or animal rights groups. And then we did also have sometimes some problems with religious groups as well. So, there was some of that that went on. With PETA it was just making the understanding that our rodeo...it’s the health and safety of everybody. It’s the health and safety of the animals, it’s the health and safety of the competitors, and that is what we’re focused on. So, some of the things that we do in our association and in other rodeo associations as well, not just gay rodeo associations but other amateur and professional rodeo associations is, you know, you inspect your stock when it’s on site. And if there is any of the stock that’s sick or lame or doesn’t look well then you pull that stock out of competition. Having rules set for how many times you can run your rough stock through competition.
PCR: Having a large animal veterinarian on site so that if anything comes up, you know, any injury happens that they are there and that they can tend to the animals. The relationship between horse and rider...you spend an awful lot of time with your horses, caring for them, feeding them, and you spend an awful lot of time with your stock, too. Your calves, your bulls, your steers. You know, it doesn’t matter that it’s thirty-three degrees out and it’s raining, you can’t stay inside and just sip your Celestial Seasonings Tea and not worry about it, you know, you’ll get to them when you get to them. It doesn’t matter. Rain, snow, wind, bad weather, extremely hot weather, you’ve got to be out there and you’ve got to be caring for the animals and making sure that they have water. Making sure that they have food. You know, if ponds freeze over you get to get out there and you’ve got to be chopping holes in the ice so that they can have enough water for themselves.
PCR: If it’s snow covered you get to make sure that you’re out there and you’re giving them good feed and grain so that they’re not struggling trying to graze on grass that isn’t there, that’s frozen over, that they can’t get to so...you know..if they’re sick or injured, you know, it’s not like you take them to the vet and you drop them off and you go home and you know...you’re up with them. You’re caring for them. You’re...you know, they’re injured and you’ve got to walk them like every two hours to help them get better, that means you’ve got your alarm set for every hour and a half so you can get up and you can go out to the stables or you can go out to the barn and you can get them up and moving around. That’s kind of the type of care that I think a lot of people don’t think about that they don’t realize that happens with things like your horses, and your bulls, and your calves, and your cows.
DF: And that’s an education component then for people like PETA? Where they just don’t understand all that goes into it?
PCR: Yes. Yeah.
DF: And do you keep livestock yourself then?
PCR: I don’t have livestock myself.
DF: But you must have had the experience doing all of these things though through competition and helping other people care for theirs?
DF: And I was quite impressed with some of the things that we saw in today’s session where they had a motion moved forward to talk about the cattle prods, and not using them to goad, um, the different animals into performance.
DF: So I mean there is a lot of protective measures taken. Not just with people but also with the animals.
PCR: Correct. Yes.
DF: Very impressive. [Pause.] What did your parents do for a living?
PCR: My mom… [Laughter.] My mother was a nurse and my father worked for the U.S. Postal Service.
DF: And did you, um, get a lot of stories from either of them, then, when you’d share time with music or dinner and tie in that way? Because your sisters were younger, so, I imagine they would probably focus on you first when it would come time to have the “How was your day?” talks.
PCR: Well our family tended to be, you know, both my sisters are...well one is four years younger, one is eight years younger. So, we were...my mother used to say she was glad she had the kids four years apart because by the time the next one came along the first one she had was old enough to help out with the younger one. Um, so, our family time was really spent all together and talking all together. You know, one of the things that kind of exemplifies the way that I was brought up, and kind of how my family thought, was back when Madonna first appeared I asked my mother: “What do you think God thinks about Madonna?” And she said, “Well, I think God is very glad that she’s using a talent that she has and he’s probably very excited about that. He might not like the way she uses the talent all the time but I think he’s given her a talent and she’s using it so that probably makes him happy.” So there was always that kind of thoughtful, worldly response that they would have.
DF: That’s been instilled in you?
DF: Have you shared that again with other people in your life? Passed it forward?
PCR: Yes. Yeah, I like to welcome everybody and treat everybody like a human being and like an individual and like a person.
DF: It shows.
PCR: That’s the way the world should be.
DF: I agree. I agree wholeheartedly. Especially in days like today. [Pause.] Have any of your sisters expressed an interest in becoming involved in rodeo since you sort of set the...
PCR: No they have not! [Laughter.] One’s a teacher. One’s a veterinarian. And they’re very happy in their lives and very...and my sister she loves being a teacher. And my other sister, she loves being a veterinarian. You know, they’re...again, like two very lucky people. You know, they both love what they do. They both have a passion for what they do. It fulfills their life, so yeah, they...you know, they won the career lottery.
DF: Couldn’t be happier then?
DF: Sorry I have to go through some of these because some of them we’ve already covered.
PCR: Yeah. Take your time.
DF: Apologies. [Pause.] Have you ever participated in Camp events?
PCR: I have. I competed in Wild Drag. So, I did that. I was one of the persons who did the wrangling of the steer. Um, I was also a competitor in Goat Dressing. So I competed with friends in Goat Dressing. For steer, or, for the Wild Drag, um, one of the first times that I completed in that was in 2006. It was in the...actually it was probably earlier than that. Early 2000s, and I competed in the Omaha Rodeo with two of my friends. And I was not the drag, I was one of the steer wranglers. On Saturday the gate opened, the steer came out and he ran past me, the rope got taut and he drug me down. [Laughter.] And I let go of the rope and he ran to the other side of the arena. And by the time myself and my two partners had caught up with him time had expired and I felt so bad. So the next day I decided I would be a little smarter. So I took and I wrapped the rope around my hand once, only once, ‘cause I knew from experience if I got into trouble I could just open my hand up and the rope would uncoil and I would be fine.
PCR: So, I hear the whistle, the gate opens, the steer runs in a wide arc, I really dig my feet in, he yanks me down again but this time I don’t let go. [Laughter.] And then he begins dragging me up this 150-foot arena in the dirt Indiana Jones-style. And the thing I remember about the whole experience is as soon as I hit the ground and he started to drag me this monsterous roar came up from the crowd and how that made me feel inside was so good and so heroic it’s one of my fondest memories of the rodeo itself. As I was being drug my partner came to help me out and she leaned down to grab the rope but she just stumbled and fell and I was like, oh, he’s going to drag me right over her if I don’t let go! So I let go and time expired on us again, um, but I felt good about how I had competed. And then afterwards coming out of the arena I had like dirt down my shirt, dirt in my boots, dirt in my ears, down my pants and it was just a...you know...something that I’ll remember forever.
DF: It sounds like quite an event for you. Was there anything about the Camp events that you would like to do again?
PCR: I would probably do Goat Dressing again. Yeah. I might even do Wild Drag again. Um, Goat Dressing is a good, easy event. Um, you know, I...like in terms of doing rough stock I, um, would probably not do rough stock again. One of my friends he still does rough stock, you know, I gotta hand it to him ‘cause about a year ago I was horseback riding and fell off my horse. And when I landed I was like, damn, the ground was a lot softer twenty years ago! [Laughter.] So, yeah, kind of like I tell people, you know, like if I feel like I’m going to a venue that might be somewhat more intolerant, you know, I’m always like, you know, if I gotta be...you know, can I call you if I go to the hospital because I’m pretty sure that at this point my knuckles don’t go pop anymore they’ll probably go crack if I punch somebody in the face.
DF: Hopefully you haven’t had to get in too many fist fights in your years.
PCR: No, nothing...not over, um, not over gay rodeo. But...
DF: Other disagreements.
PCR: Yeah, other disagreements. Yes.
DF: The sisters? [Laughter.]
PCR: [Laughter.] Well, they were mainly...like, somebody’s fighting with their girlfriend. Um, or somebody’s so drunk that they’re ruining the experience for everybody around them. Um, or somebody says something just, like, flat out ignorant and bigoted. [Pause.]
DF: On the note of Camp events, did you see them first then you wanted to participate? Or did somebody grab your hand and say “C’mon, I want you to try something!”
PCR: I had watched some of them and my friends, with whom I competed in the Omaha Rodeo, they needed a third. So, that’s kind of how I got involved with that. And then I had other friends who didn’t want to compete in any of the events like the roping or the...definitely not the rough stock. But they could handle putting underwear on a goat. So, that was a way that I could get them involved and competing.
DF: And when you were either doing Camp events or riding rough stock, were there some big names in the community that, ah, sort of were, ah, well you mentioned some were already mentors, but some that you were like “Gosh, I would like to get to know them better?” Or, “Oh! I didn’t realize I was talking to that person!” moments?
PCR: No, not so much of that because everybody who was a really high-level competitor, everybody who was a person who won a lot, the people who would be your rodeo stars, were really part of the community themselves. And so they didn’t have a star attitude.
DF: The community that you have together is really wonderful. It’s supportive, um, I believe it was Patrick who had told us someone had said “I’m going to teach you how to do this and then I’m going to beat you.”
PCR: Yes. Exactly, yeah. Yes.
DF: Have you said that to someone yet?
PCR: No, I haven’t said that one, no. [Laughter.] Mainly because it probably wouldn’t be true. It would probably be the reverse! I’m going to teach you this and then you’re probably gonna beat me. [Laughter.]
DF: They have schooling and university as part of the rodeo experience. Do you also have something for you as president to help train the next generation of leaders? The next generation of volunteers that want to step up and say I want to help make a difference?
PCR: Part of that is university, so university does a lot of instruction in terms of how to do fundraising, how to do rodeo, how to do social media, that kind of thing. And then also, you know, it’s just kind of the training of who you have within your organization that you work with them in partnership in hopes that they will take over for you when you’re gone. So when I was the social and entertainment committee chairman, about two months into my term, I knew who the person was that was on the committee that I wanted to be my successor. So that was the person with whom I worked with probably the most because I knew that when I left, or when I stopped being the social and entertainment chairperson, this was the person who I wanted to do it next. And at first they refused, but then somebody...as I knew would happen...somebody else talked them into it! [Laughter.]
DF: It almost seems to be a tradition in the association?
PCR: I asked them, they say, “No, no I don’t want to do that.” I said, “Oh, okay. All right.” You know and I went away and then, you know, and then yeah it was probably like three of four weeks later, you know, Gaither Pennington came up to me and said “Ah, you know I’ve been talking to Morgan and I kind of let him know he should probably be the next social and entertainment chairperson and blah, blah, blah. So I just want to let you know that he’s probably going to be the person who’s nominated.” And I thought, aha! [Laughter.]
DF: And you didn’t do anything to make that happen?
PCR: No I didn’t, it just happened organically. Like I knew it would! [Laughter.] When he told me though, I thought in my head, I’m like you’re too good for somebody else. And I know other people see how good you are, so I may not be able to sway you into doing it but I know one of the other people who has seen your work over this last year is gonna talk to you and they’re going to be the person to talk you into doing it.
DF: And not that you’ve ever experienced that particular situation. [Laughter.] It wasn’t fortune telling, it was just how it was going to be?
PCR: Yes. Yep.
DF: Wonderful, well I do want to thank you for time in sitting down with me this evening. Would it be all right if we did follow up interviews with you once we get a chance to go back and then I’ll digitize the transcript. I will get a copy of the audio and the transcript to you and then if we discover there are some other items or if Becca Scofield has some questions I’ll write to follow up?
PCR: Okay, all right. That’d be fine.
DF: Well thank you so much for sharing your evening with me, I really appreciate it.
PCR: Okay. It was a pleasure.