The Keystone State Gay Rodeo Association (KSGRA) brought out the glitz, glamour, and rhinestone spurs at the KSGRA Royalty competition at Harrisburg’s 704 Lounge on Saturday, February 24th. Baltimore OUTloud chatted exclusively with the royalty court to discuss their recent titles and their goals for their upcoming reign.
“I’m extremely honored to be named Ms. KSGRA!” exclaimed Jennifer Vrana, the newly crowned Ms. KSGRA 2018. “I’ve been around the rodeo circuit for over 25 years, and I have a dual platform. One of my goals is to bring people back to the rodeo who have moved away from it. I want to find them and welcome them home. On the other end of the spectrum, I’d like to reach out to the younger crowd to ensure the longevity of rodeo in Pennsylvania and the East Coast.” Vrana added. “I’m not getting any younger, and it’s up to people like me to ensure that the next generation steps forward.”
Jed Ryan, the newly crowned Mr. KSGRA 2018 added, “I’m very honored and pleased. I’m a newbie to the rodeo scene. My platform is to encourage and promote rodeo to the masses and to the LGBTQ community at large. I want to help promote and raise money for KSGRA and start developing a presence through networking and fundraising.” Ryan, added that he received a lot of encouragement throughout the process of becoming Mr. KSGRA 2018, and was shocked and very delighted when he was announced as the winner. He plans to work hard to establish KSGRA’s presence throughout the community. “KSGRA does a lot of events throughout the year, and I really want to network and share the message about the rodeo with others. Like our president, Adam Romanik has said, ‘Even if you’ve never been to a rodeo, just come and check it out.’ It definitely opens a whole new world outside the urban bubble for many. I plan to get very involved.”
First runner-up to Miss KSGRA 2018, Miss Shirli Devine (aka James Snyder) echoed, “I feel honored to be part of the royalty team. For me, it’s a way of just being able to represent KSGRA to those that are out there around us, and to those who are still looking for a place to be accepted and be oneself.” Adding, “My platform is to basically let’s everyone know that they are ok with who they are and where they are. I grew up on a farm in a very rural area, so it was significant for me to find someplace that I can be myself and not have to change for anyone. KSGRA, as well as IGRA (International Gay Rodeo Association) is a place that welcomes people for who they are without judgement.”
The newly crowned Miss KSGRA 2018, Duchess Zwiers (aka Mark Zwiers), was still speechless over his recent win. “When I went into this, I really thought that I might get first runner-up. When they announced that Miss Shirli Devine was first runner up, my mouth hit the floor. I thought truly and honestly that she had it. I am so thrilled! I am beyond words at this point and time.” Zwiers added, “For my platform, I plan to work very closely with the board of KSGRA, and with my teammates. I want to make this the best team out on the rodeo circuit. I want to pull in as many rodeo contestants, by going to bars and outreach events such as Pride celebrations. Anything that we can be involved in, as much as we can be involved in, especially as community outreach. We want to see what we can do about bringing new royalty contestants in and I believe we all share the same vision of helping the KSGRA out by preparing them for next year.”
KSGRA’s 2018 Royalty Chair, Floyd Zwiers is very excited for this year’s newly crowned court. “I’m very proud of them.” He explained, adding. “My objective for this team is to actually represent KSGRA the way it’s to be represented in the rodeo circuit and world. We plan to make a lot of money for our charities and for KSGRA, so we are able to do more for our charities.”
For more information on how to join KSGRA, as well as the information for the upcoming June rodeo in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, visit Ksgra.org.
- Since 2011, arts writer Frankie Kujawa has covered a wide scope of entertainment stories and celebrity interviews. From the late Carrie Fisher and LGBTQ icon George Takei to comedians Lily Tomlin and Kathy Griffin to performer Idina Menzel, Kujawa’s candid interview ability brings readers past the byline and into the heart of the story. His unbiased previews of Baltimore-Washington’s theatre scene have allowed readers an inside glimpse of today’s most popular local and national performances. A Baltimore-native, Kujawa is proud to call Charm City his home.