The Canadian Rockies Rodeo North kicked off in Calgary at Stampede Park on Saturday.
After a three-year break and a new name, the Canadian Rockies Gay Rodeo Association put on the stampede for LGBTQ athletes. It’s the 500th sanctioned rodeo for the International Gay Rodeo Association.
Organizers said the event helps include those who don’t feel like they can compete in other rodeos.
“There’s a lot of people out there, like myself, who came from a small town and don’t have a sense of community,” said Kevin Boyce, assistant director of Canadian Rockies Rodeo North. “When you meet people who are interested in the same events and same culture, it’s very important for somebody to feel like they can belong.”
“Being an LGBTQ+ person, you feel ostracized as it is, you feel like an oddball and you don’t belong, so this gives them another venue, an avenue to explore.”
Both men and woman can compete in the events.
“In the pro circuits, it’s mainly geared towards men,” Boyce said. “Women are only allowed in the pro circuits to do barrel racing. Here, the women can do steer riding, bull riding and all the other events, just right along with the men, but they compete for their own buckles.”
“It doesn’t matter who you are and where you come from. If you feel drawn to this, it’s fun for everybody.”
The rodeo runs Aug. 2-4.