In years past, this has been the season when the area's LGBT rodeo enthusiasts would begin to make plans for the Atlantic Stampede, the annual gay-rodeo weekend presented by the Atlantic States Gay Rodeo Association (ASGRA) in early September. But that ended in 2008, with the 17th Atlantic Stampede.
Saturday night, July 23, at an ASGRA meeting at Remingtons gay country-western bar on Capitol Hill, there was even the suggestion that, like the rodeo, ASGRA may have reached the end of the trail. That question, however, was answered with a firm no. ASGRA will go on, and there may even be more rodeos in its future.
''We're still ASGRA,'' says the group's president, Beth Brockelman, describing the meeting at ''pretty cut and dry.'' She explained that despite ongoing fiscal obligations – monthly storage rental for rodeo equipment, for example – ASGRA's finances are in the black, thanks in part to a July 17 fundraiser at Freddie's Beach Bar in Crystal City that raised $650 for the organization.
Still, that's a far cry from the funds required to bring back the Atlantic Stampede.
''We'll do rodeo when we have money in the bank. It's a slow process,'' Brockelman says. ''It costs about $100,000 to put on a rodeo. I want at least half that in the bank before we even try to put on another rodeo. If people really want to see rodeo back, they should support our fundraisers.''
Patrick Hunter, chair of the group's social and entertainment committee who will likely have a large hand in whatever fundraisers the group offers, says that while ASGRA will continue to offer trail rides, outings to county fairs and similar events, the group's evolution could use some community input.
''We're interested in hearing from the community – members or not – about what they'd like to see from us,'' he says. ''They can come to meetings, send emails or even stop us in the street. … We are trying to come up with things that the community is interested it. We don't want to make those decisions in a bubble.''
For more information about ASGRA, call 202-547-9590 or visit asgra.org.