The Gay Rodeo Oral History Project was created in 2016 with the aid of a University of Idaho Seed Grant. Having conducted archival research on the International Gay Rodeo Association at the Autry Museum of the American West, I was struck by the precarious future of the association, the deep commitment of its members, and the rarity of public-facing projects engaged with rural LGBTQ+ communities. My initial grant helped fund the purchase of audio equipment and travel to seven rodeo events over the course of a year. In 2019, I also received a Whiting Foundation Public Humanities Project grant. This $50,000 grant helped fund training for six students who conducted oral histories and helped with transcription, tagging, and uploading these stories.

To date, our team has conducted more than 60 interviews with members of the International Gay Rodeo Association. We have recorded on hay bales, in hotel lobbies, and in the bleachers. We have stories as short as eight minutes and some almost three hours long. With the aid of the University of Idaho’s Center for Digital Inquiry and Learning, we have curated many of these interviews to highlight the points of convergence and departure that gay rodeoers experience. Over the next several years, we hope to continue to grow the oral history collection and this web exhibit.

This project would not be possible without the tireless historical and organizational work conducted by IGRA’s leadership and royalty teams, and individuals like Frank Harrell, Roger Bergmann, Patrick Terry, Brian Helander, Candy Pratt, and so many more.

For information on the history of gay rodeo see: http://gayrodeohistory.org/
To see IGRA’s upcoming schedule see: https://www.igra.com/CalendarRodeo.htm

Rebecca Scofield
Associate Professor of History
University of Idaho

Our Team

Rebecca Scofield
Rebecca Scofield is the principle investigator for the Gay Rodeo Oral History Project, co-creator of the Voices of Gay Rodeo, and the author of Outriders: Rodeo at the Fringes of the American West (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2019). Born and raised in Emmett, Idaho, she holds an MA in Regional Studies: East Asia and a PhD in American Studies from Harvard University. She has received fellowships from the Jacob K. Javits Foundation, the Charles Warren Center for the Study of American History, Harvard University's Graduate School of Letters, Arts, and Sciences, and the University of Idaho's Center for Digital Inquiry and Learning, the Whiting Foundation, among others. She is also the co-author of the verbatim theater piece, That Damn Horse: The Stories of Gay Rodeo.
Patrick Terry
Patrick Terry is a 30 year member of IGRA and our community collaborator on this project. Patrick has been involved with IGRA since 1989, serving as the association’s Administrative Assistant, a certified scorekeeper, a barn manager, committee chairs, and a competitor in all categories of rodeo events. Patrick saved, organized, and delivered much of the archival material now held at the Autry Museum of the American West and the ONE Archive.
Olivia Wikle
Olivia Wikle is co-creator of the Voices of Gay Rodeo web project. Olivia is the digital initatives librarian at the University of Idaho Library and the pedagogical director of the Center for Digital Inquiry and Learning (CDIL).
Devin Becker
Devin Becker is co-creator and designer of the Voices of Gay Rodeo web project. Devin is the Head of the Data and Digital Services department at the University of Idaho Library and director of the Center for Digital Inquiry and Learning (CDIL). Some of the features of this site developed out of his most recent digital humanities project, CTRL+Shift, which explores the ways poets' writing practices changed with the advent of the personal computer and digital age.

Student Interns and Research Assistants

  • Renae Campbell
  • Revulai Detiv
  • Saraya Flaig
  • Dusty Fleener
  • Court Fund
  • Cameron Martin
  • Christine Packer
  • Kenwyn Richards
  • Jacob Rudd
Student Interns at an IGRA Convention