Interview with Tim Smith

Denver, Colorado on November 22, 2019 | Interviewer: Saraya Flaig

Filter by topic:

165 of 165 rows (click a missing row to make it appear)

Saraya Flaig: This is Saraya Flaig and I’m here with Tim Smith in Denver, Colorado, at the International Gay Rodeo convention on November 22nd, 2019. So, Tim, what year were you born?
Tim Smith: ‘67
SF: What was your childhood like?
TS: I actually grew up in a small town in Texas, in Garland. A pretty rural area. There my whole life, so basically, you know, three schools, elementary, junior high, high school, kind of knew everybody in town. That type of thing. Pretty small town. Outside of Dallas, Texas area.
SF: Did your family doing ranching or farming of any kind?
TS: Uh, no. Well, actually, yes, they did. My father had come from a large family in Mississippi that that's—that’s what they did. Ranched, ran cattle. Stuff like that. My mother was from Texas. But I didn't grow up with it. Around me, yes. But my parents did not.
SF: Did you have any siblings growing up?
TS: No, I was an only child [laughs].
SF: What were some of your experiences in high school and growing up?
TS: You know, I was actually…I’m very involved in high school. I was actually, like, mascot—Olly Owl. I was very involved. Class president, officer, involved in several clubs, you know, choir. I was very involved in high school, so I had a pretty good friend base from being involved.
SF: What were some of your experiences like coming out?
TS: You know, it's interesting, but…not sure what you were kind of doing, you know, in high school. Obviously, once you hit sexuality, trying to figure out what was really going on and, you know, obviously coming from a small town in Texas. And okay, am I supposed to be with a girl, you know, do I do that? So, I had some girlfriends. But then it just never really did…lead up to anything. And basically, eventually I guess I became secure enough about sophomore year in college that I actually said, you know, this is who I am. And just told my parents, look I’m gay.
SF: Were your parents accepting at all?
TS: You know, initially, no, my mother was not. Which, I actually thought it would be the other way around. My mother was probably what I thought more liberal minded versus my father, who came from Mississippi. He actually seemed to be more okay with it than my mother did. However, she did finally come around and was…accepting and learned to deal with it in her own way.
SF: Did you grow up very religious?
TS: No. Ironically, my mother was Cherokee Indian. Now, my grandmother—her mother—that I was very close to, was very religious. But my mother was not. Because she was brought up very religious, and she's like, you know, when you get to that age, you can choose your religion.
SF: Are you religious personally?
TS: No, uh uh. You know, I wouldn't say I’m religious, I would say it’s more spiritual. I don’t know how else to explain that, but it's more of a spiritual connection. I do feel that that's between you and the creator, you know, not you and everybody else necessarily. So, I have my faith, I guess you could say.
SF: And you said your grandmother was pretty religious, did you come out to her?
TS: Oh, yes. Uh huh. As a matter of fact, she actually had lived with us. Well, I had gone and gotten her, and she actually lived with me briefly till, she actually—and then I put her in with my parents, but then she passed away not long after that. But I actually had her—so she actually lived with me for a while.
SF: Was she accepting of you coming out?
TS: Yeah. She didn't seem to actually address it. Discuss it, I guess you could say. She never really said, yea, nay. I don’t know that it bothered her. To be honest with you, I don't think she just…maybe wanted to address it? So, we didn't really discuss it. Other than, you know, she said, “As long as you're happy.”
SF: You said you attended college, where did you go to college
TS: SMU. Southern Methodist University.
SF: What did you study in college?
TS: Well, originally, I was gonna to go in as a law student. And I'm like, “Oh my gosh, this is gonna take me forever.” So, I actually studied—became a math major, and I got out of there with a math major [laughs]. With a business…
SF: What did you do with your degree?
TS: Nothing [laughs]. I actually, right out of college, I had actually an interview and I started flying with Delta Airlines in June right after college, and I was with them for 10 years. So, I never had to use my degree.
SF: So, I’m assuming you traveled a lot as a…flight attendant?
TS: I did
SF: So, what was your experience traveling around the world and being gay?
TS: You know, I think that sometimes we ourselves put more on the fact of how other people perceive us, or whatever. I had kind of come to terms—I was very comfortable with who I was. I mean, it wasn't a question of whether I was gay or not. To me, people had to know. I mean, to me there was no assumption about it. But I never put anything into what they thought, whether they liked it or didn't like. I was always just cordial to people. And I think that most people, just because I was nice to them and didn't push my sexuality on them, they in turn were very responsive back, to at least to be polite and cordial to me. So, I don’t…I didn’t—sometimes you could kind of tell somebody was not really comfortable with you. But for the most part, I didn't see that—or I didn't let it, actually.
SF: Did you experience any homophobia or anything?
TS: You know…I did a little bit. You know, here and there. I guess you could say periodically. Actually, most of mine I think came out later and more like just being in general public and being around or something like that and someone, you know, using the word queer or faggot or something like that to you. And again, if you allow that to take over—and I didn’t, so it's never fazed me. Like, “Hey, it is what it is,” you know?
SF: How did you discover rodeo? Or the gay rodeo specifically, I guess?
TS: Well, actually, ironically, my first partner—lover—was rodeo, and so I got involved with him. He was one of our team roping people on the circuit for many years. And so, I literally…had gotten involved that way, is how I got involved.
SF: And did you just follow him to rodeos, or did you compete yourself?
TS: Ironically, you know, initially I kind of helped him—he was also an announcer, so I would help him play the music—back then it was cassette tapes. And so, you know, you have to push play and stop and all of this. And so, I kind of would help him. Now, him and I had separated, and after that I actually got involved in the royalty program. And it was a fluke in Dallas, and you raised money for charity. And so, I actually ran for Miss Texas Gay Rodeo Association, TGRA, for ‘89. And part of your criteria was doing drag and performing. So, I actually got into rodeo initially with drag. However, I then went from that, being in drag, and I started competing in the rodeo as a contestant. So, it kind of brought me into being the contestant side of the rodeo.
SF: So, you said you did drag. Did you do drag at all before rodeo, or was that your first experience?
TS: No. Actually, it was literally what introduced me to drag, was that program. Back in that program—initially is, you would raise money directly for charities, as royalty, as an ambassador of an association. So, I literally was intrigued with the raising of charity, that money going to charity, and TGRA was set up very different: all your money had to go to charity. So, that year I raised over 20,000 dollars running by myself as a candidate.
SF: Wow.
TS: That all went directly to charities that year. I then, later on, actually in 1994—back up a minute, in ‘93, I became Miss Southeast Gay Rodeo Association—outside of Atlanta, Georgia, because I was with Delta—and then I literally then became Miss International Gay Rodeo Association in ‘94. And so, I was traveling the whole circuit, rodeoing as well as performing in drag.
SF: What is your drag name or persona?
TS: Tessy. T-E-S-S-Y. Tessy [laughs]. People call me Miss Tessy, basically. I didn’t have a last name, it was just kind of a persona, not of a particular character.
SF: What is your drag self like?
TS: Pretty wild. Or, used to be. Not quite as much anymore. I used to be one that would jump up on tables and dance and perform and wear really, really six-inch-high heels. So, I mean, I was just…yeah, high energy.
SF: Did you have any performance experience before doing drag?
TS: No. Well, I sang and stuff. Grew up singing in choir, stuff like that. A little theatre.
SF: Did you sing at all in drag?
TS: I did, initially. I did sing some. And then, of course, you know, lip syncing became big. So, I used to do some live singing in it, which is kind of interesting and fun.
SF: What is one of your favorite drag performances that you’ve ever done?
TS: It would probably be…—I actually did do an illusion of Shania Twain, as well as Celine Dion, as I progressed in drag. And so, I actually did a whole set that was her Come on Over CD, and it split, and I was doing Shania. And that was probably one of my favorite—looking like her, and same outfit, had guys behind with the guitars. “Man, I Feel Like a Woman,” I mean, top hat and the whole nine yards. So that was probably one of my favorite performances.
SF: Wow. That’s amazing. Was that during one of your reigns as royalty that you did that?
TS: It was. Yeah. Well, it was right after I think, right after. Right around ‘95, I think. But yes
SF: Have you ever performed outside of the gay rodeo in drag?
TS: Yes. I actually, in the Dallas area—well, Atlanta area and Dallas area, and I traveled quite a bit, performing. So, I did a lot of charity shows in the Dallas area, and I hosted a lot and emceed shows. Well, that led into paid functions and me having usually three or four shows a week in the Dallas area and different places, like at The Round Up on Monday nights, and there was another club called The Zone, and I had a show, a talent night there on Tuesday nights. So, I actually did a lot of performing in town in drag.
SF: Did you notice a difference in the way the gay rodeo perceived your drag versus non-gay rodeo?
TS: No. You know what, I was very fortunate in, with the gay rodeo, being one that I was a contestant. So, I had a huge fan base within the gay rodeo, um, family, that was very supportive, and just actually had me up on a pedestal—my whole reign. It's ironic that we're at a convention in Denver, Colorado, because I actually stepped down in 1995, and my step down was in Denver, Colorado. Yeah. As Miss IGRA. But no, now they were different—and a lot of those people actually carried over, and when they came to town would come and see one of my shows.
SF: That’s very cool. So, you’ve had three different titles in your involvement in gay rodeo, or have you held more than that?
TS: Yes. Well, no, that's my three titles—with royalty. In the last few years, I've actually become, instead of competing, because I really don't compete anymore, I'm actually a certified arena director and a chute coordinator. So, I actually work in the arena as well now. Just as an official, not competing. Because I just—got old, so I don’t compete as much anymore, and I don't do as much drag.
SF: Since you first got involved in gay rodeo originally, have you continued being involved this entire time?
TS: Yes. I've literally been involved since, like, ‘87, ‘86, something like that. ‘87 I think is when I first got involved. So, yeah, I've been involved the whole time. On different levels.
SF: And then, you said you've competed as well, outside of royalty. What events have you done?
TS: Oh, yeah. Well, I used to do some of the roping events, and I used to do…well, we have some camp events in our rodeo, and I did all the camp events as well. I have a few international buckles—I mean, I’ve won, actually at our Finals Rodeo. So, yeah, it's been interesting to say the least, but yes. And I did some of the rough stock. I used to ride steers, and I used to chute dog [laughs].
SF: Wow. Have you ever been injured doing any of the events?
TS: Many times.
SF: What’s one of, like, the worst injuries?
TS: Probably a pretty good one, a bull stepped on me. On my leg, and laid me open pretty good, and I mean, I literally had to keep going, Saran Wrapped and kept going, and I probably should have went and had stitches, but I didn’t.
SF: How long did you compete in events for?
TS: I did that for quite a few years. Gosh, I don’t know how long. It was quite a few years. I competed probably up until probably 2014, because I think when we had Gay Games was 2014 or 2015, and I think that was about the last time I've competed. Yeah, I think it was like 2014 when I had competed, but I was not as heavy of a competitor as I was when I was younger.
SF: Did you compete in your drag persona, or did you just compete as yourself?
TS: No. No. Tim. Tim competed, Tessy was stage. On Saturday night or Sunday night at the awards banquet, or at their show on Saturday night, y’all could come watch me perform. So, yes [laughs].
SF: And then, you said you’ve won buckles. How many buckles have you won? Or, how many buckles do you have—do you know?
TS: Oh, I don’t know. It's quite a few, because throughout the years you win buckles for all kinds of things. So, I’ve got quite a few. I’ve got some boxes, boxes of buckles that I’ve won throughout the years.
SF: Do you have a favorite one that you’ve won?
TS: You know, probably, my—I don't know why, but I think because it was my Miss International buckle, and also we had won the goat dressing (which was a good friend of mine, Chili Pepper), and we actually won a goat buckle that year, and that’s probably my favorite buckle.
SF: Do you feel like you’ve found a community that you’re a part of with the gay rodeo?
TS: Yes. You know, to be honest with you, it's a little more than a community. It's more like a family—and it really is. I mean, outside of it, we…you build lifelong friendships that you talk to people, and sometimes, you know, you don’t—you're not around sometimes, you don't see somebody, just the way the schedules work, for several years, and then you see them again and it's just like you've never left each other. And, I mean, you can call these people for anything you really need and they're there for you. So, it's definitely a little more than just a community for ya. It’s a huge support group for people.
SF: You said you’ve competed in the camp events. Do you like the camp events? Do you think they’re kind of essential to gay rodeo?
TS: Well, they are. And the reason they are is they were created for us, by us—some of our members. And so, I think that that’s kind of what…it's fun for us. What I do like about most of them—well, I could be a little rough on one of them—but it's good introductory for people, like goat dressing. So, if anybody wants to get out and get in the dirt, it's a perfect one to try. Because, you know, you can run down there, try to put some underwear on a goat, run back. You and a team member, so you're not out there by yourself, so you're a little more comfortable to run and give it a shot.
SF: Have you ever participated in any rodeos outside of the gay rodeo?
TS: I have.
SF: Do you notice any major differences between the gay rodeo and mainstream rodeo?
TS: You know, not initially—well, years ago, yes. And you had to pretty much…you didn’t let anybody know, if you were at one of those type of rodeos. And usually, their rodeo is not like our rodeo, because we had all different events, and they’re a bunch of men and women, the events are. But I think the difference…but as it's gone by, like now, even some friends will go to a barrel race, or something like that, and nobody cares. They know you're gay, they don’t care. Like, you ride your horse like I ride my horse. So, they don’t care.
SF: Is there anything that you think makes gay rodeo special or different?
TS: Yeah, you know, I think there's several things. One is, we're very inclusive. It doesn't matter whether you're gay, straight. You know, transgender—whatever it may be. We have a spot for you. The unique thing with us is that we combine all the events and that all the events, men and women, can compete in. So, bull riding is open to men and women, steer riding is men and women. Where your standard rodeo usually is more separate on what women can do events, and what men can do. So, I do think that that makes us unique.
SF: How have you seen gay rodeo be a part of your everyday life?
TS: You know, one thing you have to learn—as a competitor, you have to be a good loser to be a good winner. So, I think it builds you, your character, in a different way in your everyday life. On how to handle people, deal with people—again, you're dealing with a lot of different personalities as well, and sometimes you don't intend to, but you may hurt somebody’s feelings, and you can look at—and you know. So again, in real life, you're a little more cautious on how you may approach somebody with something that you've learned from this.
SF: This is kind of going backwards a bit, but what do you think is the value of royalty in the gay rodeo?
TS: [Someone briefly interrupts the interview; narrator asks interviewer to repeat the question.] You know what, I think it's important in a lot of different ways. Royalty, one allows, and this is a different type of character, that is kind of what makes us unique, because that is something within our own community. It's kind of like the comical part of yourself, to be able to laugh at yourself. Because of the people outside pointing fingers at you sometimes, so it's kind of like a stress relief for you.
TS: But the important part of it is, is they are the ambassadors of the associations as well as IGRA, and they're out there putting our name out there in a positive way throughout the United States. They also are raising money for the association to help you produce this rodeo, ‘cause rodeos are not cheap to produce. I actually am the current president for the Texas Gay Rodeo Association. And so, we produce a rodeo every year. And so, you know, our budget is usually around 70, 80 thousand dollars to produce our rodeo.
SF: Wow.
TS: So, we have to raise that money, and our royalty is an intricate part of helping us raise that money to produce that rodeo. We have corporate sponsors and stuff like that, too, but we still have to have a lot of incidentals to come in and cover that amount of money. And then all of our money goes back to charity after that.
SF: Do you have a favorite charity or favorite thing that you’ve sponsored?
TS: You know, I have a lot of different charities that we’ve worked with. We do some animal rescue charities in Texas and Dallas—I’m Dallas-based. And then we have ANAC, which is AIDS Nurses and AIDS Care, an organization. And they try to keep up with the most common needs with AIDS-care patients as they're coming in. What their needs are, like, are they getting immune to certain meds and stuff? And so, these nurses are very important to that AIDS care.
TS: And I think that's helping the longevity of HIV people. So those are usually some of—but we also do, gosh, animal rescue…I mean, it’s just…we’ve got another one that we chose, too, that is dealing with some boy trafficking, with young boys. And it's the first safe house that's come up in Dallas for them, and actually, supposedly, I guess one of very few, actually in the nation or something. And so, that's an intricate part of helping them, knowing that we're going to help youth that, you know, need help.
SF: And you said you were around for the Gay Games. Did you attend the Gay Games?
TS: I did. I competed in the Gay Games.
SF: What was that experience like?
TS: Oh, it was…it was emotionally overwhelming. The…just the whole stadium, the arena, it was packed. I actually also played softball…at the Gay Games as well, on the softball team. So, yes, it was it was just overwhelming. I mean, it was just the neatest experience that somebody could have. And just, with people from all over the world, so it was a lot of different cultures put together with the same common goal.
SF: Do you hope that one day IGRA can make it back to Gay Games?
TS: Yes, I do. It’s ironic that you asked that because I actually helped on a committee with the Dallas…City of Dallas Sports Commission, and they had bid on it. I think it went to Hong Kong though, or Thailand, wherever it's at. The next one. And we bid on, and we actually had rodeo going to be included in that, for the Gay Games. But unfortunately, Dallas didn't get selected [laughs].
SF: What other positions have you held within either your own association or within IGRA as a whole?
TS: Well, gosh. In my own association, I've been secretary for a couple different chapters, I've been the vice president, and the president. I've been a trustee before, for IGRA. I'm the President’s Committee Chair right now. Gosh, I’ve held several different positions throughout the time.
SF: Do you have a favorite position that you’ve held, overall?
TS: Honestly, my favorite position has probably been Miss IGRA.
SF: You’ve been involved in IGRA for a long time. What’s one of the biggest changes you’ve really seen in your time?
TS: Well, one is the need—it's a good change, but then yet it effects—there's not as much of a need for us to have a safe zone place to go to as gay people. Which, that's what kind of rodeo was for, is for us to be able to be safe. Yes, it was to raise money for charity, you know, HIV patients and all—but it was also a safe zone for us to come to and be this, because you really couldn't go in the real world, so to speak, and be yourself. So, since that need is not…since it’s more accepting, as the world changes, and gets more and more accepting, to be gay, so does that…people are out wherever, they don't have to go to a certain spot anymore. So, the need is not as called for anymore. Which is kind of a—but yet, the change is good on the other side of this because we're getting accepted in the real world. So, it’s the pros and cons of it, I guess. Of change.
SF: So, what do you think the future of IGRA holds?
TS: You know, I don't—you don't know. It can change from time to time. I think that we're having to regroup some, and maybe see about how and what, which way we need to try to grow—which way to grow? I do think that there's a lot of us diligently working on that, to help see where we need to go—a vision. It should be interesting. Because again, it’s not just gay rodeo, but every rodeo. PRCA—the numbers are down, their membership’s down.
TS: They can't get youth involved. It's the same issues that PRCA and—I’ll just use them as an example of a rodeo—any rodeo association is having, it’s the same issues that we’re having. Younger people are not into rodeo, so…it should be interesting to see where we go. I think our goal is just to function right now and get all our existing rodeos back on track to where they need to build up first, and then worry about building a larger organization again. Because we used to have 20-something rodeos a year.
SF: Wow.
TS: We’re down to like 10 now.
SF: What was it like being Miss IGRA when gay rodeo was really big, at that time?
TS: It was huge. And it was…I traveled a lot, performed a lot. But I actually—what I loved about it is I got to expose the rodeo through the sash, because I was more approachable than just the average person just standing there. You're a character, so you've become very approachable for people to walk up to you. So, I got to expose who we were to a lot of different people and a lot of different communities throughout the United States. So, I mean, from coast to coast, to Canada. It was amazing. So, that to me was probably the biggest part of it. Being that ambassador, just going out and saying who we are, and what does that sash mean. Lettin’ ‘em know who we were.
SF: I know being a drag queen can take a lot of time and money. Did you put a lot of time and money into being Miss IGRA?
TS: I did. I had a whole trunk [laughs] that traveled in a horse trailer all year long. So, what I would do, is when I would fly in here and there to different rodeos, I would change out outfits and stuff in this trunk, take some back, replace some here for the next rodeos coming up that I was gonna be performing at. Just because it was crazy. But yes, trunk traveled in a horse trailer, all full of drag. And yeah, it was. It was very interesting. But yeah, I spent a lot of money on drag.
SF: Did you ever make your own outfits, or did you just buy things and piece them together?
TS: No, I was a buy off the rack person. I now, actually, have more custom stuff made, just because it's kind of where the drag genre has gone. And I was—right off the rack anyway it would fit me, so I would just buy off the rack.
SF: Where would you draw your inspiration from for your drag outfits?
TS: You know, it's whatever I seen that I liked. It was kind of interesting. I was very Western-y, like, as a candidate all year long, and they didn't really ever see me in anything sparkly or flashy or nothing all year, until I competed at Finals, and I came out in nothing but sparkles. And so, they were all like, “Where’d this come from?” So, that to me was the fun of the shock value, of kind of changing your character and changing your clothes up, and, you know, outfits, depending on what it was. I like to do some comedy stuff. So, you know, that kind thing—slinging tortillas out of a dress. Or something, but yeah [laughs].
SF: What is it like competing at a Finals Rodeo instead of just a normal rodeo?
TS: Well, one, you’re usually against the best of the best. Because it's by invitation only. And so, you have to qualify by points to get—because there's like 20 spots in each category—so you have to actually get an invite. So, I think that's where it is. So, when you excel, you challenge yourself to do really well, because not only is it going to be you doing well, but it's also—you know you're beating a bunch of other really good people. But then, yet, they're all your friends. So, even if you don't beat ‘em and they get you, you're okay, and you’re supportive, and you’re happy for them as well.
SF: Have you ever placed at Finals before?
TS: Yeah, I'm a Finals buckle winner. Uh huh.
SF: Wow.
TS: So, what you do is you compete for two days, and the best of two days combined score wins a buckle, the overall scores. And so, I've been a Finals buckle winner.
SF: What categories have you won in finals?
TS: Goats. Goat dressing.
SF: Do you think that gay rodeo is more accepting of people regardless of gender, race, anything, than normal rodeo?
TS: You know, I would say probably, yes. Although I do think that regular…the standard rodeos are a little more accepting about stuff now—I mean, obviously you’re not going to have a drag queen running around. But yes, we are more accepting, I do believe. However, I do think that the straight rodeo circuit has come a long way.
SF: Did you ever have people in the gay rodeo not be accepting of you as royalty or as your drag persona?
TS: No, you know, I didn't. Although, most of the time, if someone's not cared for in that fashion, or they didn't care for you, it's just that they didn't like you as a person. I mean, that happens in any organization, there’s just some people you may not care for. However, really in this circuit there’s not a lot of people you don’t care for. You may not like how somebody conducts business or handles something or does something, but it's like, okay, but it's them. I don't like that, but hey, it’s you, whatever.
SF: Have you ever experienced any protests at the rodeo?
TS: [Laughs] Yes. Many. So, back in younger years, we would have picketers, PETA and people, picket the rodeos. So, yes, I've had to cross several picket lines. Usually, you just ignored it and just kept going.
SF: Did you ever have any personal confrontations with them?
TS: No. Nope, just keep going.
SF: What does it mean to be a cowboy to you?
TS: You know, I think it's several things. A well-rounded person, for one, as well as a well-rounded athlete. Or, if you're in administration—when I say well-rounded—so, I like being an official? I have to be well-rounded, I have to be accepting of a lot of different people, a lot of different ways, and a lot of different personalities, and I have to learn how to deal with it. So, yes, you can go what's called the traditional cowboy way, of, okay, the way of life is ranching or rodeoing or doing those kind of things. But I think a true cowboy is at heart, and it's what you have at heart and what you can put out to people, and the type of person you are.
SF: Do you think you’re a cowboy?
TS: Oh, yes. Yes.
SF: In your everyday life would you say you’re a cowboy?
TS: Yes.
SF: Do you own a ranch or anything?
TS: No, I do not. Not anymore. I’m more in the city now. Just because it's more, it's just more convenient, and I don't compete anymore. So, I’m in the city.
SF: What is your current profession or job?
TS: I own a florist. So. [Both laugh]
SF: Nice. So, where do you currently live then?
TS: In Garland.
SF: Texas?
TS: Yes, I've come back to Garland, Texas.
SF: Have you seen Garland change a lot then as well over time?
TS: Oh, huge. Huge. Huge change. It's interesting just to go in any restaurant, most of the time, in town and you're going to see other gay people, and say, “Hey, what's going on?” And so, it's not like we have to go down to a certain bar that’s considered a gay bar or anything like that. It's grown a lot. I mean, it's not as rural as it used to be, it's very city now. The demographics have changed, with the people who now have moved in. It was an old city, and a lot of those people who now have passed on. And so, it's got new blood coming in. So, yeah, it's changed quite a bit. Very accepting. Literally, even like high school. I mean, they have kids in high school that are out, and the same high school I graduated from. And it’s like, there’s no way I could have been in that position.
SF: Is there anything you as current President of the Texas Gay Rodeo Association that you would like to change within your personal association?
TS: There is, you know…our association is a very different association than most associations, because we have a state board and then we have chapters. We have five chapters: Dallas, Fort Worth, Austin, Houston, and San Antonio, and there's boards in each one of those cities, and they conduct business. What I would like is for, honestly, is to get some younger people that would step into some of these other lead positions for us. We need some more younger people to take some of these lead positions. That's what I would like to see change.
SF: How do you think you can recruit those younger generations?
TS: That's the question. So, the key is, is we have not learned how to reach that younger generation. That's the key. We know how to teach them once we get them interested here. But again, for some of the older people, as well as—we are not sure how to reach those younger people to be able to get them involved.
TS: So sometimes it is through a situation like this—somebody that’s met, or in an interview, or someone’s family and knows this one or knows that, or happened to be a friend that goes, “Oh, you know what? My son or daughter wants to be involved,” or something like that. So, but we need to figure out and we have not figured out, and that's on the association as a whole: how to reach the younger generation. I don’t know if it’s through electronic, it’s somewhere—Snapchat! Something [laughs].
SF: Is there anything you think that needs to change in IGRA as a whole to be able to reach those younger generations?
TS: Again, I think, it’s the same struggle. I think that we’re still…we are IGRA, all of the associations. So, again, we're an older group. It's an older group, and we're still trying to figure out how to reach those people.
SF: Is there anything that you would like to add to your experience of being a part of the gay rodeo?
TS: No, you know, not necessarily. I mean, it just kind of goes and comes and—being an official was kind of what I wanted to do at this point. And again, down the road, it could be something else. But right now, I'm kind of where I want to be at with being a certified arena director and chute coordinator.
SF: Do you see yourself continuing to be involved in IGRA as it continues on?
TS: Oh, yes. Oh, yes.
SF: All right, thank you very much.