Real rodeo

A profile of The Canadian Rockies International Rodeo.

The rodeo, like others of its kind, certainly features events that would have raised eyebrows (and hackles) in the Old West. The wild drag race, where competitors who look more like RuPaul than Roy Rogers dash towards the finish line atop a steer, is unabashedly campy. Likewise for goat dressing, whereby a duo attempts to force Jockeys onto a bemused hircine friend. But while the differences from a regular rodeo are obvious, the similarities can be surprising for first-time attendees.

“I really sort of expected it to be a lot of flamboyantly gay, kind of goofy, not serious at all, just sort of twisted comedy fest,” says Marc Ross of his visit one afternoon in 2008. “But I was surprised at how some of the contestants were actually really, really good at what they were doing. They weren’t just playing around, so it was a real rodeo, not just a gay parade.”

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