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Thanks to more than a century of mythmaking and folk tales, the cowboy is synonymous with the manly man. Hard-drinkin', hard-cussin', two-fisted and muy macho, the stereotypical cowboy makes even the flamboyantly butch antics of your average calendar editor seem lightweight by comparison. But times have changed, and even the unassailable cowboy has made adjustments. Oh, he's still tough as nails, and he still enjoys a campfire, but the cowboy of today is just as likely to be a woman. Or a homosexual man or woman. Especially if you're at the first-ever Gateway Regional Rodeo, where the cowpokes are GLBTA and they compete in the traditional roping and riding events as well as goat-dressing, which involves catching a goat and slapping panties on the sucker. Make no mistake: This is a competitive rodeo, and the participants love what they do — they just have a flair John Wayne never did. The Gateway Regional Rodeo is hosted by the Gateway Gay Rodeo Association, and it takes place at the National Equestrian Center (6880 Lake St. Louis Boulevard, Lake St. Louis; 314-865-2947 or www.gwgra.com); gates open at 8:30 a.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. Sunday (May 6 and 7). Tickets are $15 for one day or $25 for the weekend pass.
Sat., May 6; Sun., May 7

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