Funded! This project was successfully funded on August 31, 2011.

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A year on the road with the Int'l Gay Rodeo Association through the eyes of a straight, city-boy. Stereotypes be damned!

August 30th: New feature and photos from our friends in Canada!

August 25th: Live interview with BLOOMINGout podcast here (Aug 25, 2011, 37:35)

August 19th update: So honored Q&C made GLAAD's site, here!

August 17th Update: Click here to check out the film's front page spread in The Advocate!

August 11th: Check out the guest blog for Compete Sports Magazine!

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"An honest to God rodeo with just a little more panache."

"QUEENS & COWBOYS: A Straight Year on the Gay Rodeo" will chronicle the 2011 season of the International Gay Rodeo Association through the lens of a straight, city-raised filmmaker. Roping and riding in 15 rodeos across north America this year alone, the IGRA's courageous cowboys and cowgirls brave challenges both in and out of the arena on their quest to qualify for the World Finals in October. And along the way, they'll bust every stereotype in the book.

But it's more than just cowboys and rodeos. The film will expose the world to the unsung LGBT community of both the old and new west.  Examining where our country currently stands on the issue of gay rights, this uniquely American subject will explore how far we’ve come, and what challenges we still have ahead.

WHY KICKSTARTER?

This documentary is still in progress and will continue shooting the remainder of the IGRA's season. The video on this site is merely a preview of the tone and overview of what I aim to deliver as a feature documentary film in early 2012. Since the beginning of the year, I’ve been able to shoot it on my own and out of pocket. Which isn’t to say I’ve been without help – shooting on the cheap would not have been possible without the generous men and women of the IGRA, who have graciously opened their homes to me, given me rides to and from airports and bus stops, and gone out of their way to show me the country western lifestyle.

These experiences have made for the adventure of a lifetime and have privileged me to hundreds of hours of incredible footage. The funds raised on this site will be used to hire an editor to begin tying the stories together; the remainder will go towards finishing principal photography and the licensing of music and archival footage, which will enable us to legally exhibit this film anywhere in the world.

While I’m aiming to raise $35,000 to get this project safely into post-production, know that if I’m fortunate enough to exceed this goal, any amount above and beyond will be put to good use throughout post production. Extra expenses such as sound designers and composers, colorists, graphic design and promotional marketing are all luxuries that would ultimately make a stronger film and enable it to be seen by an even larger audience. Plus you still get one of those awesome rewards!

Please remember that Kickstarter is all or nothing if we don’t reach our goal by August 31st at 9PM/pst, we don’t get any funds! So any help is appreciated – whether that’s $1, sending this Kickstarter link to one person or just pressing "Like" on Facebook. Regardless, thank you for taking the time to support this project!

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For background on myself and the project, please read below. For more information on the IGRA, visit www.igra.com

BACKGROUND

Despite living my entire life in the city, I've somehow grown fascinated by the foreign sport and culture of rodeo. It's like a window into our country's rugged past -- a place where tradition, pride and machismo thrive.

Last year, I left a development job in Hollywood in order to begin my career in directing. For my first script, I wanted to pen a project set in the world of rodeo -- one full of grit, badass country folk and iron-clad American values. So a year ago I began researching and photographing PRCA rodeos before I learned of the seemingly unconventional International Gay Rodeo Association. It had everything I set out to find and was more intriguing than anything I could make up. I'd never even considered a documentary before, but if there was ever a worthy motivator, this was it. And it's been an adventure ever since.

I showed up to my first gay rodeo in skinny-jeans, skate shoes and a baseball cap. Since then, this sheltered, straight city-dude has been on a steep learning curve. Each week busted a new expectation, brought on another surprise, or updated my understanding to things I thought I already understood.  My time with the IGRA already has made me both a stronger person and a bull rider, two things that mean the same thing. I'm lucky that the IGRA welcomes anyone to compete and pledges to show anyone the ropes of rodeo -- so through the last several months of training, I'm thrilled to get the chance to compete in bull riding at the Best Buck in the Bay Rodeo, happening in San Francisco (Sept 10 & 11, 2011).

My experience on this film has shown me that no matter how open-minded we might consider ourselves, we can all use more exposure to lifestyles and cultures that differ from our own.  My goal is to deliver this exposure through the unexpected impact the IGRA has made on my life in this uniquely American adventure. By mixing the incredible sense of humor of the men and women of the IGRA with their equally-poignant stories, I hope to tell a rich story that provides the same eye-opening experience to a global audience, both LGBT and straight. 

THE IGRA

The International Gay Rodeo Association has officially been ropin’ along since 1985 and currently has over 5000 members in 27 chapters around North America. The association puts on massive rodeos across north America using only volunteers -- and all their proceeds go to charity.

Each rodeo has 13 events, 10 you'll find at most standard rodeos (bull riding, chute-dogging, breakaway roping, barrel racing, etc) and 3 playful "camp" events that give the IGRA a fun and unique flare you won't find anywhere else. You don't have to be gay to compete in the gay rodeo -- IGRA rodeos are open to everyone -- gay, straight, cowboys and city-folk alike. But unlike traditional rodeos, the IGRA allows women and men to compete in all 13 events -- so in the IGRA you get to see, for instance, women bull riding and men barrel racing. 

The IGRA promotes amateur participation in its rodeos, partly by the "rodeo schools" it hosts throughout the year so novices like myself can learn firsthand how to rodeo.

But the members who comprise the association are what truly set the IGRA apart. They are the most organically kind, welcoming and charitable group of people I've ever met -- and their stories deserve to be shared.

Thank you for helping me continue to tell these stories.

FAQ

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    Thank you for your support! Your name or organization of your choice will appear as a supporter on this and the film's upcoming website (unless you prefer to remain anonymous). **This goes for all reward levels.

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    20 backers

    Thank you! You'll receive access to behind-the-scenes updates, unseen footage and fish-out-of-water lessons learned on the road -- video diaries with things like the story of the boomer sooners, a city-boy's lessons in ditch skiing, the worst thing you can ever say to a bullrider (caught on camera). **This reward is offered to all other donations above $5. .

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    In addition to a QUEENS AND COWBOYS thank you postcard, you'll receive a badass bull riding bumper sticker complimentary bumper sticker courtesy of toughbullriders.com -- http://toughbullriders.com/store/img/bumperSticker1.jpg (Thank you Char Duran!)

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    A QUEENS AND COWBOYS thank you postcard with a commemorative bull-rider pin to impress every buckle-bunny in the land. (Special thanks to Florida 'Cracker' Todd Garrett for supplying this gift)

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    You'll receive a card good for a FREE MEAL at the delicious Jody Maroni's Sausage Kingdom! (limit 5 per person) Check to find a location near you -- http://www.jodymaroni.com/ (Thank you Scotty Shadix for this delicious donation)

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    41 backers

    I don't like to brag, but I make a mean mix tape (updated: CD). These special donors will not only receive postcards and artwork from the film, but also a set of hand selected tunes that inspired the film and ones that I started rocking out to once I put on my boots.

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    You'll receive the short film HYPOXIA, the previous project written and directed by Matt Livadary starring Battlestar Gallactica's Michael Hogan. (Official trailer can be viewed at http://www.behance.net/gallery/HYPOXIA-%28Official-Trailer%29/1607667 ) It couldn't possibly be more different than QUEENS & COWBOYS, but what the hell, here's to diversity!

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    Wow, thank you so much! You'll get a handwritten thank you note from the filmmaker and a Kickstarter exclusive "Queens & Cowboys" t-shirt!

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    69 backers

    This reward gets you a hand-written thank you note from the filmmaker, select artwork from the film, AND a hard-copy DVD of the film upon release!

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    Two free tickets to ANY rodeo held at Bill Lyle's Thrill at Morgan Hill ranch in San Jose, California. The arena is like the Globe Theater of the rodeo world, and when Bill's bucking his top PBR bulls, it's an event you've got to experience in person. It might not be a gay rodeo, but it has good qualities too.

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    Free passes to the "Marti Gras of Gay Rodeo"! These sponsors will receive a pair of weekend passes to the Sunshine Stampede in April 20-22, 2012 in Fort Lauderdale, FL! (transportation & lodging not included) This is one of the biggest and most fun rodeos of the year that you definitely don't want to miss. (special thanks to Nikol HIllman for the awesome donation!)

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    47 backers

    The swag package! You'll receive artwork from the film, the mix-tape that inspired it all, an exclusive queens and cowboys t-shirt, a copy of the film on release, AND the fillmmaker's short film HYPOXIA.

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    4 backers

    Learn the most dangerous sport in the world from one of the best in the business! A free scholarship to champ Bill Lyle's bull riding boot camp -- whether you're a novice or PBR champ, The Thrill at Morgan Hill has a bull you can get on. Whether you can stay on is a completely different matter. (ranch located in San Jose, CA -- transportation and lodging not included).

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    Free admission to any 2012 IGRA rodeo school and artwork and a handwritten thank you note from the filmmaker! Has your inner cowboy or cowgirl ever wanted to try out events like chute-dogging, bull-riding, bronc-riding, wild drag, steer deco, goat dressing, calf-roping?? Learn any of the 13 IGRA rodeo events for free. Open to anyone!

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    2 backers All gone!

    Baseball has trophies, rodeo has belt buckles. And the first two lucky donors will receive a stylish and hard-earned IGRA championship rodeo event belt buckle -- and all without even having to risk your life! (Thank you to the true cowboy Wade Earp for risking his and donating his precious prizes).

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    2 backers All gone!

    Baseball has trophies, rodeo has belt buckles. And the first two lucky donors will receive a stylish and hard-earned IGRA championship rodeo event belt buckle -- and all without even having to risk your life! (Thank you to cowboys Brian Helander and Chuck Browning for risking theirs and donating these precious prizes).

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    **MORE BUCKLES!** Baseball has trophies, rodeo has belt buckles. And the first five lucky donors will receive a stylish and hard-earned IGRA championship belt buckle and all without having to risk your own life! These particular buckles were won in competition by David Renier, arguably the Michael Jordan of the gay rodeo. Thank you David for the donation!

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    **Hot off the belt, we've got more buckles! ** The "Stud Package" --- not only will one lucky donor get a gorgeous 2011 championship belt buckle courtesy of IGRA-legend Chuck Browning, but they'll also receive his signed contestant badge as well as an autographed photo of the very-photographable cowboy.

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    1 backer All gone!

    The "Stud Package" --- not only will one lucky donor get a gorgeous 2011 championship belt buckle courtesy of IGRA-legend Chuck Browning, but they'll also receive his signed contestant badge as well as an autographed photo of the very-photographable cowboy. The belt buckle was won at this year's Canadian Rockies International Rodeo in "Goat Dressing," an incredible rodeo event unique to the IGRA.

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    A massive, sparkling BAREBACK BRONC RIDING championship buckle won the competitive Texas Tradition Rodeo! As one of the hardest rodeo events to win, this beautiful buckle is a rarity and is sure to add a little extra intrigue to your pelvic region : ) (Thanks again to Wade Earp for being both a badass and a saint.)

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    Your name or an organization of your choice under a "Special Thanks" credit on the film. And in ADDITION, you'll receive the complete swag package -- artwork from the film, the mix-tape that inspired it all, an exclusive queens and cowboys t-shirt, a copy of the film on release, AND the fillmmaker's short film HYPOXIA.

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    Your name or an organization of your choice under a specially designated "Angel Supporter" thanks in the credits of the film. And in ADDITION, you'll receive the complete swag package -- artwork from the film, the mix-tape that inspired it all, an exclusive queens and cowboys t-shirt, a copy of the film on release, AND the fillmmaker's short film HYPOXIA.

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    2011 IGRA World Finals "VIP Package". Angel supporter status and free admission to Finals in Fort Worth, TX on Oct 7-9 (transportation and lodging not included). Package includes the entire "swag package," lunch with the filmmaker, access to all the weekend's events, a guided behind the scenes tour of the famous Fort Worth stock yards, meet-and-greets with contestants and a one-on-one chat with the President of the IGRA, Doug Graff.

Funding period

- (30 days)