imageThe Georgia Gay Rodeo Association has said “thanks, but no thanks” to the Conyers facility that has hosted its successful Souther Spurs Rodeo in the past.

Brad Bruner (photo), the group’s president, made the announcement in an email to supporters today, citing higher costs and additional requirements since the group last hosted the rodeo at the Georgia International Horse Park in Conyers in 2005. He stressed that the group is still interested in hosting a gay rodeo in metro Atlanta next year, a high-profile event that would cap a resurgence by the organization.

We want to let everybody know that, after lengthy discussions with the Georgia International Horse Park in Conyers, we have decided that it does not make financial sense for GGRA to commit to doing a rodeo at that location in 2009. The Horse Park has raised its fees and requirements since the last time GGRA held a rodeo there in 2005. The Park also only had a couple of available dates, and both posed complications.

When we factored in these issues with other economic considerations like the economic climate that is making it harder to get bigger sponsorships, we could not be confident of being able to earn enough money to cover all our costs if we committed to using the Horse Park. Thus, we are not signing any contract with them to reserve the Horse Park in 2009.

The move means the gay rodeo group will now explore other locations for the event, which they had hoped to stage in October 2009. Bruner said in the email that costs to host the event will approach $100,000.

It’s interesting to note that we are following the example of several other IGRA member associations who have had to abandon flashy but very expensive large venues in favor of more “cozy,” cost-effective ones where they can still produce great rodeos and also turn a profit.

The group has been rebounding since suffering organizational fatigue last year, adding new members and activities to its calendar. Next month, the group will host a new member orientation on Oct. 11 and its popular Indoor Play Day on Oct. 18.