By Ross Forman
There will be plenty of the traditional events at the annual Windy City Rodeo ( Aug. 26-27 in south suburban Crete ) , such as calf roping, steer riding and bareback bronc riding.
And then there is goat dressing.
After all, the event is sanctioned by the International Gay Rodeo Association ( IGRA ) and is part of the 2006 IGRA Rodeo Series. So doing the simple and the normal is just not acceptable in the LGBT community.
Thus, calf roping is joined by other popular events as goat dressing, steer decorating, and the wild drag race.
Goat dressing starts with a goat tethered to a 10-foot line located 50 feet away from where the two-person teams start. One member of the team starts out wearing a pair of Fruit of the Loom underwear. The second team member just runs, lifts up the goat, and their goal is to put the pair of underwear on the goat and then return to the starting point.
'It's a crowd favorite because it's just fun to watch and, ironically, one of the most competitive of all 13 events because so many people enter it,' said Michael Cunningham, the rodeo's co-director.
The Windy City Rodeo will be held at Six Guns Ranch & Arena, located on South State Line Road. More than 3,000 fans are expected, an increase over last year's 2,500.
There will be about 100 competitors, almost all gay or lesbian, representing the U.S. and Canada. Only about 25 percent of the competitors are Chicago-area residents, Cunningham said. Competitors come from California, Washington, D.C., and the Canadian city of Calgary, among other places. Some competitors compete in multiple events.
'It's just a great overall weekend. People feel very welcome, with something truly for everyone,' Cunningham said.
The event is sponsored by Bud Light and features a vendor mall. The charity partners for this year's event are Howard Brown, Vital Bridges and DirectAid. The rodeo is expected to raise up to $25,000 for the charities, Cunningham said.
'The event is getting bigger and bigger each and every year,' he added. 'The event attracts gay and straight families, with lots of kids. The event has grown exponentially over the years; it's unbelievable how big it's become.'