As celebrations for Pride month continue to take place over the Mid-Atlantic region, many are flocking to the Keystone State Gay Rodeo in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania for a taste of the West. Set for Friday, June 23rd to Sunday,June 25th, the Keystone State Gay Rodeo is an all-inclusive rodeo and community event open to all comers and competitors. Events will include bull riding, barrel racing, chute dogging, and many more.
“Part of what makes this an all-inclusive event is both men and women will compete in all events,” explained Keystone State Gay Rodeo Association (KSGRA) president and founder Adam Romanik. “We will have women bull riders and men barrel racers. It’s basically a non-traditional rodeo.”
Romanik, who travels all over the country to compete in rodeos, is very excited for KSGRA’s first-ever rodeo. “What led up to creating this event was the fact that in the past all rodeos were far away and we wanted a local rodeo. We also wanted to get like-minded people together and do something for the community, as well as have a fun time.”
Romanik has been riding horses since he was a child. “As a kid, I was a horse nut. I grew up in Northeastern Pennsylvania. I always wanted a horse and I was very fortunate that at the age of four, my dad bought me my first pony. Since then, I’ve owned horses consistently. When I was around six, I had gotten a different horse that was kept at a friend’s house. That friend was a barrel racer and she did showings. So pretty much since then I’ve always had horses, showed, and rode.”
Romanik’s passion for horses and riding helped him through life’s obstacles. “I am physically disabled and a paraplegic from the waist down. That happened around the age of 11. Afterward, there was a bit of a struggle being able to ride again, but at the time I was just a kid and horses had always been my motivation. Since then, I’ve pretty much adapted to it and it doesn’t stop me at all.” Romanik’s grit and determination, key cowboy values, have helped him to rise to challenges that come his way. “I would say that your situation is what you make of it. What you put in is what you get out of it.”
As excitement bristles in anticipation of the weekend-long rodeo, Romanik added that there are events for everyone. “We’re having barbecue-style dinners and we have events for kids. We are going to be doing line dance lessons and a country hoedown on Saturday night. It’s a full weekend of activities.” Romanik also added that another important aspect of the rodeo is giving back to the community. “A portion of our proceeds will be going directly to our charity partner, Alder Health Services, in Harrisburg. Alder Health Services is a non-profit organization that improves the health and well-being of individuals living with HIV/AIDS and members of the LGBTQ community.”
For more info on the Keystone State Gay Rodeo visit KSGRA.org.
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