Yippee Ki Yi Gay

The rodeo looked a lot like any other -- until an event called "Steer Decorating"

The queens enter the ring wearing flowered frocks, wigs, slippers, curlers, lipstick, and various other sundries, but Mr. GSGRA 2001 Brian Van Der Mark, being a credit to his title, easily outshines all the rest in a shimmering, black, bell-bottomed, feather-fringed pantsuit with matching sun hat. Sadly, it takes him over 50 seconds to get on his steer and over the line, and while this time is better than most, good for eighth place, it is no competition for the winning team of Christy Cotton, Drew Oberbeck, and David Smith, who pull the same hilarious stunt in under 12 seconds.

Though earlier I was disappointed by the "Goat Dressing" competition, which employed tighty-whities, not red silk panties, the "Wild Drag Race" more than makes up for it in both danger (medical teams rush into the corral for this event more often than for all the traditional events combined) and glee (flying wigs, flipping queens, bare asses, and one stubborn steer that refuses to stay on its feet). I can barely stop laughing long enough to gasp in alarm as black hooves come uncomfortably close to the limbs of fallen queens.

"Aren't they wonderful?" shouts James Lestrud, who keeps two horses just south of San Francisco. "When I was a kid, I only wanted two things: to be a cowboy and to go to the prom with Jeffrey Levine. This is better than both."

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