Blake Little: Photographs from the Gay Rodeo

Consisting of forty-one black-and-white photographs taken between 1988 and 1992, Blake Little: Photographs from the Gay Rodeo documents the gay rodeo circuit and the lives of many of its participants in those years. The collected body of work not only serves as a stunning example of black-and- white portraiture and rodeo photography, it also explores the diverse and complex natures of individual and community identity in the West.

Drawn from an exhibition at the Eiteljorg Museum in Indianapolis as part of its Out West series, Blake Little: Photographs from the Gay Rodeo elegantly combines classic portraiture and rodeo action and informs each image with a complex and rich multi-cultural identity. “Blake Little chronicles the proud tradition of this wholly American sport from the action-packed arena floor to the rodeo cowboy’s most intimate, contemplative moments behind the chutes,” observes author Gregory Hinton. The exhibition’s curator Johanna Blume adds, “This exhibit also explores the diverse and complex natures of individual and community identity in the West. 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.”

Born and raised in Seattle, WA, Little graduated in 1982 from Seattle’s Central College with a degree in photography. He relocated to Los Angeles, where he began to establish himself as a professional photographer. He attended his first gay rodeo in 1988 and was hooked. He says of the experience, “The sport, camaraderie, and atmosphere of this first rodeo experience transformed me. I was completely drawn to it and I had to be a part of it. I wanted to be a cowboy.” Along the way, Blake photographed many of his experiences and the people he met.

Over the next several years he became increasingly involved in the gay rodeo community and the International Gay Rodeo Association (IGRA), participating in many of the events. In 1990 he was named Bull Riding Champion of the Year at the IGRA Finals.

Speaking about Photographs from the Gay Rodeo, Little sums up how his personal experience informs the images. “These photographs represent an amazing, magical time in my life. Back then, I questioned if I was a ‘real’ cowboy because in the back of my mind I always felt like an observer—and photography was my first passion. But my unique situation allowed me to document the growing sport of gay rodeo from the inside along with the thrills and personal challenges of fulfilling my cowboy dreams.”

From an evaluation from Rapid City Arts Council (Rapid City, SD) about Blake Little: Photographs from the Gay Rodeo
“The strengths of this exhibition include the fact that it featured a diverse subject matter but was still accessible to all viewers, provided a uniform presentation style, and was a great opportunity for our TAP (Teaching Artists Program) programming. Additionally, it was a unique exhibit that elevated our LGBTQ community exclusively as a subject for the first time. Our community appreciated the addition of this exhibit. We had many LGBTQ visitors from our region who don’t normally come to our galleries. They expressed pride and ownership in this show.”

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Tour Schedule

Blake Little: Photographs from the Gay Rodeo is touring July 2015 through June 2020. The dates below reflect five-week exhibition periods. Dates are subject to change; please contact or (800) 473-3872 x208/209 for current availability.

  • July 5–September 6, 2015 Salina Art Center
    Salina, KS
  • October 21–November 30, 2015 Gallery 210, University of Missouri–St. Louis
    St. Louis, MO
  • December 15, 2015–March 10, 2016 University of Arizona Museum of Art
    Tucson, AZ
  • June 3–24, 2016 The Culture Lab at Mid-America Arts Alliance
    Kansas City, MO
  • September 1–November 30, 2016 San Diego State University
    San Diego, CA
  • May 15–June 20, 2017 University of Central Oklahoma, Melton Gallery
    Edmond, OK
  • October 21–November 30, 2017 Dahl Arts Center
    Rapid City, SD
  • December 15, 2017–April 30, 2018 High Desert Museum
    Bend, OR
  • May 15–June 20, 2018 Refurbishment
    Kansas City, MO
  • July 5–November 30, 2018 Gilcrease Museum
    Tulsa, OK
  • February 3–April 30, 2019 University of Idaho Library
    Moscow, ID
  • July 5–August 18, 2019 Monterey Museum of Art
    Monterey, CA
  • September 1–February 20, 2020 Museum of Natural and Cultural History
    Eugene, OR
  • March 25–October 4, 2020 The James Museum of Western & Wildlife Art
    St. Petersburg, FL

Exhibition Details

41 black-and-white photographs by Blake Little

  • Content

    Fee Includes
    Press Kit
    Registrar’s Packet
    Programming Guide
    Gallery Guide
    Text Panels
    Narrative Labels
    Full Insurance
    Installation Instructions
    Custom-Designed and Built Crates

  • Curated By

    Johanna Blume, Assistant Curator, Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art, Indianapolis, IN

  • Organized By

    Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art, Indianapolis, IN

  • Out-of-Region Rental Fee


  • In-Region Rental Fee

    $1,600 before 7/1/17 and $2,240 after 7/1/17

  • Duration

    5-week display

  • Shipping

    Van Line

  • Running Feet


  • Square Feet


  • Security

    Moderate B

  • Number of Crates/Total Weight

    4 crates/860 pounds

  • Insurance

    The exhibition is fully insured by ExhibitsUSA at no additional expense to you, both while installed and during transit.