Photography: Photographs from the Gay Rodeo

Chute Dogging, Phoenix, Arizona, 1989, Blake Little

First you start with “who doesn’t think cowboys are sexy?”

This February, Indianapolis’ Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art will play host to a new exhibit celebrating life at the gay rodeo — Blake Little: Photographs from the Gay Rodeo.


The Los Angeles-based artist, who’s photographed everyone from Tom Cruise to Jane Fonda to Jane Lynch, captured the grit and glamour of the gay and lesbian rodeo circuit in the ’80s and ’90s. The gay cowboys and cowgirls challenged gender roles and reveled in competition and comraderie.

The exhibit, curated by Johanna Blume, opens February 1 and will be at the Eiteljorg until the summer Pride season.

“This exhibit also explores the diverse and complex natures of individual and community identity in the West,” Blume says. “Many of the people in these photos were LGBT men and women from rural backgrounds and the gay rodeo circuit gave them a place where they could embrace and celebrate their full identities.”

Rodeo Partners Gene Hubert and Rick Ferreira, Sun Valley, California, 1991, Blake Little

The Prayer, Rick Simmons, San Diego, California, 1991, Blake Little
Los Angeles Cowboys, Hollywood, California, 1990, Blake Little