SMRA Newsletter – special convention edition


by Bill Tedder, Convention Chair  

It’s a wrap. Woohoo!! The year-long hard work on the 2006 IGRA Convention finally paid off with an incredibly successful event. SMRA and Nashville have a great deal to be proud of. Of course there were the usual hiccups throughout the weekend, but we dealt with them and moved on.

Accolades and congratulations continue to pour in. Below are what a few folks had to say:

"From someone that has been attending conventions since 1992, this was one of the smoothest run conventions I have been a part of in quite sometime. Part of it was us being able to take advantage of the technology available to us … But the big part was the organization of all the folks there with SMRA which was incredible. Every last detail was handled in very efficient ways and even little things … were handled very quickly. I’ve seen a lot of kudos come across your way the last couple of days on here [SMRA Yahoo Group] as well as the IGRA Yahoo group and they are all very deserving. Thanks again to everyone with SMRA for a great weekend!" "I wanted to take a moment to say great job. I know hosting the convention was a tremendous undertaking. But your association pulled it off! The host hotel was great, and all the events and entertainment that were put on were outstanding. Please pass on to your board and members my appreciation for all their hard work. It truly made my first convention a great experience."

"On behalf of the ASGRA delegation, allow me to add my kudos to SMRA for their hospitality and excellent coordination for this year’s IGRA Convention. As a relatively new association who took on a task of this considerable magnitude, you did yourselves and IGRA proud!"

"I just wanted to say thank you to SMRA for the wonderful reception we all received in Nashville . You all should be very proud, everything went well and Convention was a success due to all of your hard work."

"NGRA wants to offer Congratulations to SMRA for a fantastic IGRA Convention. Hats off to Bill Tedder, Shane, Miss Patty and all the SMRA members and volunteers who made it happen. Nashville made us all feel really welcome and showed us what Southern Hospitality is all about."

"I would personally like to thank the SMRA for a ‘lovely’ weekend in Nashville, Tennessee. I have never visited your city before, and thanks to the hard work and tireless effort on the part of your group, my first memory is unforgettable. I will definitely make it a point to attend every event you guys / gals invite us to."

Thanks to everyone for the time, effort, sweat and tears put into planning such a great weekend. We succeeded in putting ourselves on the IGRA map.

VIP Party – Wednesday, October 18, 2006  

The 2006 IGRA Convention VIP Party was held at the home of Jon Glassmeyer and Scott Ridgway in historic East Nashville. Approximately, seventy-five delegates, SMRA members, and sponsors enjoyed food, libations, and conversation under the stars. Mr. Glassmeyer and Mr. Ridgway wanted all the out- of-towners to experience some true Nashville hospitality and start the convention off on the right foot. Special thanks to Jon and Scott, catering by Church Street Cafe, to all the IGRA/SMRA sponsors, to Smith and Rogers for the lovely flower arrangements and all the hard work from the SMRA volunteers.  

A Special Message from the President

What a fun and memorable weekend! It was a lot of hard work but all the "Smokys" came together and got the job done. I’m very, very proud to be the president of such a hardworking group of members. We proved ourselves to IGRA, I feel, and now we are part of the bigger picture…with hopes of hosting a rodeo of our own someday. Many people asked about this and I feel that convention was a stepping stone toward a rodeo. Convention gives the Associations a chance to work on the organizational skills required to host a rodeo. While SMRA is a little ways from hosting a rodeo, we are well on track. Again, thank you to all the "Smokys" who contributed this weekend! Remember, it’s not how much you do, but that you do something!

Your very, very proud president,
Justin James

Convention Fundraising Report
A Record-Breaking Fundraising Weekend!

Smoky Mountain Rodeo Association had a record- breaking fundraising weekend! SMRA has never had this large of an event and it went off without any major hitches. The fundraising began with the Pre- Convention Kick-Off Party. We had liquor donated by TN Wine and Spirits and hors d’ouvres created by Ron Sanford. All of the IGRA Board of Directors, Association Trustees, sponsors, local SMRA supporters and active SMRA members were there. Loy Carney, bartender from Tribe, offered his bartending expertise and "cowboyed up" for the event as well. The party was a great success! Special thanks to our hosts, Jon and Scott!

Thursday night was the Steff Mahan concert at Play. James Allen Clark, Ally Wilcox and Tamara Marks made the night all the more sweet with their performances. It was a great night of making new friends and drinking! *smile* What a blast!

Friday night was the big 4-bus Pub Crawl! Wow….what a crazy, fun night. The "PubCrawlers" inundated all four bars: Tribe, Play, Chute and Blu. All seats were sold out and there was some partying! If you all missed this, I don’t know what to say but I’m very sorry! It don’t get much bigger.

Saturday night at the dinner/dance contest, Donna Carter wowed the crowd with her incredible comedic routine. Plus the dancers at the contest were incredible.

Sunday night was the wind-down party at Lipstick Lounge and yet again, IGRA delegates filled the house. We all closed down Lipstick!

What a great weekend! SMRA set a fundraising record. Our charities really appreciate it! Thanks to everyone for their support and hard work. This would not have been possible without it.  

IGRA Royalty Contributes to Convention Success!
By Skip Flathers, Mr. SMRA 2006

In additional to appearances all throughout the weekend, the IGRA Royalty Team participated in a show in the Rainbow Room of the Chute Complex on Saturday night. Ten people performed including Kimberly Kay (Ms. IGRA 2006), Steve Wollert (Mr. IGRA 2006), Jymmye James (Miss IGRA 2006), Rich Valdaz (First Runner-Up to Mr. IGRA 2006), Randy Rodgers (Miss DSRA 2007), John Tyndall (Mr. DSRA 2007), Lonni Label (Ms. IGRA 2000), Zoe Kelly (Candidate for Miss MGRA 2007), and Happy Jack (Mr. NSGRA 2006). The show was delightful and the crowd was very generous donating several hundred dollars to SMRA’s charities. The Royalty program continues to be an exciting part of gay rodeo! Special thanks to Skip Flathers (Mr. SMRA 2006) for organizing and producing the show.

IGRA Dance Competition 
Saturday, October 21, 2006

The 2006 IGRA Dance Finals was a huge success. The evening started with a wonderful Barbecue dinner and guests were entertained by Nashville Comedian, Donna Carter. The Dance Competition was very entertaining and full of energy. Thanks to Keith Robinson (SMRA) and Lonni LaBel (ASGRA) for hosting the show. Thanks also to Steve Mogck (SMRA) for our awesome music as DJ. James Coates and Donna Whiteley from TGRA took 1st Place in Division III couples. Todd Casler and Tyler Goolsby from TGRA took 1st Place in Division I couples. After the couples portion, there was a small break and the 2006 IGRA Royalty team raised over $1,300 for Angel Heart Farm, a local SMRA charity. This was an awesome event to see and the team truly amazed us all with their talents!

Thanks again! The Line Dance portion was just as awesome. Hagan Ko (GSGRA) took 1st Place in Intermediate Division. Beginner Line Dance was stiff competition; James Coates (TGRA) took 1st Place, Shane Anderson (ARGRA) took 2nd Place, and Latisha Morrow (TGRA) took 3rd Place. The competition ended with Team Free Spin (TGRA), pictured above, taking home 1st Place in the team division.

Again, a wonderful evening of food, dance and fundraising made the 2006 IGRA Dance Finals a great success! Thanks to everyone that helped make this a wonderful evening!

Inventory Update
Convention Delegates Love Our Stuff!

When you think about inventory you most likely don’t get excited or think that there are any exciting stories that go along with it. Well, you may be right. SMRA has recently started to experiment with inventory and is still trying to get the feel for what items are going to sell and which ones are not.

The "How about a Ride " and "Convention" shirts have done well. We have some left but they, too, are disappearing form our inventory ranks.

The little star items that everyone seems to like and want are the SMRA logo pin and the Nashville Pin. Both were a hit with the bar-goers and the delegates at the convention. A few of us learned that some cowboys have a tradition that they follow when "pinning" another cowboy with their club pin!

All in all, the SMRA inventory seems to be bringing in cash that is helping to support our efforts to raise money for our charities and keep our association going.

Thanks for all the help with finding new inventory and also buying and selling it too.

Let’s keep that inventory fun and interesting. Let’s hear your suggestions!

Brad Klein

Inventory Chair

SMRA Wins International Award
IGRA Media Award Presented to SMRA

At its recent annual convention in Nashville, the International Gay Rodeo Association presented its prestigious IGRA MEDIA AWARD to Smoky Mountain Rodeo Association (SMRA).

The IGRA MEDIA AWARD is presented to a Member Association that has made significant contributions through the use of its publications by demonstrating excellence in promoting gay rodeo, IGRA, and the Member Association. This year, SMRA was chosen by IGRA’s Board of Directors upon the recommendation of its Public Relations Spokesperson.

Additionally, SMRA was presented with a fifth place award for excellence in the IGRA Website Award program. This honor is awarded to IGRA Member Associations who have made significant contributions in promoting gay rodeo through the use of their web site based on appearance, content, graphics, navigation, and being up-to-date. There are approximately thirty IGRA web sites that are eligible for consideration. The recipient of this award is determined by IGRA’s Board of Directors upon the recommendation of its Internet Technology Committee.

SMRA works closely with their media partners, Out & About Newspaper and iOutNashville, to provide educational and informational materials concerning gay rodeo, SMRA and it’s charity partners.

Cowboy up!
Thomas Schlueter-White and the Membership Committee – Smoky Mountain Rodeo Association