Are you ready to have a real “bucking good time?”
It’s time to don your best leather chaps and mount your horses as the 28th annual Great Plains Rodeo gallops into town May 22 through 26 at the State Fairgrounds in Oklahoma City.
A tradition since 1986, Rodeo Director Mary Arbuckle said the Great Plains Rodeo is anything but ordinary.
“It’s not a typical rodeo,” said Arbuckle. “We do have events that every rodeo has, but we also have a couple of different events.”
Arbuckle said the Great Plains Rodeo features standard rodeo competitions such as bull, bronco and steer riding, as well as horse events such as barrel racing, flag-racing and pole bending.
“We do our typical roping events — we do calf-roping on foot, breakaway roping and team roping,” she said.
Along with the standard events, Arbuckle said, the Great Plains Rodeo features competitions that might seem unusual to some.
“We have what [are] called camp events so that anybody that doesn’t have a horse or doesn’t know much about rodeo can join in,” she said.
Arbuckle said camp events include steer deco, which consists of two people tying a ribbon to a steer’s tail, and goat dressing, which consists of putting a pair of underwear on a goat — both timed events.
“And then we have what s called Wild Drag,” she said. “You literally have to take a steer 50 yards, the drag queen jumps on the steer and you have to bring it across the line.”
“It’s very funny — it’s hysterical,” Arbuckle said. “It’s well worth seeing.”
Luxx Bentley, a local Oklahoma City drag performer, said she’s looking forward to being the face of the Great Plains Rodeo.
Bentley was selected as Miss Gay Rodeo 2014.
“I was joking around at Bingo one day and joked that I should be the next Miss [Gay Rodeo],” Bentley said. “Three days later, Mary (Arbuckle) called me to do it. The rest is history.”
Bentley said she is hosting the Review Show on Friday May 23, performing in the Texas Tea Party on Saturday May 24, and will attend the award ceremony on Sunday, May 25.
“During the actual rodeo, I will be assisting whatever — or whomever — I can get my hands on,” Bentley said.
Along with satisfying a hunger for entertainment, Arbuckle said, the rodeo will also appease an appetite for fairground food. She said food trucks, sponsor booths and an auction are all at the rodeo along with the slated contests.
Arbuckle said the rodeo competitions commence Saturday and Sunday, though there are events beginning as early as Thursday night.
“It’s a full [weekend] of events and fun,” Arbuckle said.
Arbuckle said the best part about the Great Plains Rodeo is its familial aspect and its contributions to the surrounding community.
“We’re a family,” Arbuckle said. “It’s amazing.”
Arbuckle said the Great Plains Rodeo rounds up competitors from both the U.S. and Canada. She said each year the rodeo also holds an event called Riderless Horse to commemorate past competitors who’ve since lost their lives.
“Last year during our rodeo, we had over five different states that brought in over three trailer-loads and five truckloads of donations to the tornado victims,” Arbuckle said.
“That’s what we do — we come in the need of our family,” she said. “We have family all over the U.S. and Canada … and it’s a very tight-knit rodeo family.”
“We’ve given out over $100,000 in the 28 years we’ve been doing this.”
The Great Plains Rodeo is hosted by the Oklahoma Gay Rodeo Association, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to “perform charitable duties barring all prejudices to race, gender, age, nationality or sexual orientation,” according to OGRA.net.
While she’s only been a support of the Great Plains Rodeo in the past, Bentley said she loves the rodeo directors and appreciates OGRA’s commitment to equality.
“I am doing it for them and I love what [OGRA] stands for,” she said. “They raise a lot of money throughout the year for various organizations … I’m not talking about just OGRA, but other rodeo associations across the country.”
The Great Plains Rodeo is the OGRA’s largest fundraiser of the year, according to its website. Bentley said this year, the rodeo proceeds will be donated to Other Options, Inc., a local food pantry and AIDs awareness advocate in Oklahoma City.
For more information about the Great Plains Rodeo, visit www.OGRA.netor contact Arbuckle at (405) 605-8020.
by Siali Siaosi, Journalism Intern, OCCC
The Gayly – May 16, 2014 @ 1:45pm