Cowtown’s 26th annual parade to feature Leathermen in lead
James Allen still remembers the first Tarrant County Gay Pride Week Parade.
“There were probably 15 people in it. It was a few cars with a couple of signs on the side,” said Allen, adding that he obtained the permit for the event. “They saw we weren’t going to get shot, so we kind of grew from there.”
The 69-year-old Allen, who owns the Stampede Club, will serve as grand marshal along with John Gipe and the Cowtown Leathermen for the 26th annual TCGPW Parade on Sunday, Oct. 7. For a complete schedule of Pride week events, go to tcgpwa.org.
“With all the people to select from, I’m very honored,” Allen said. “I’ve been around the community a long, long time and owned several clubs, so it means an awful lot to me.”
Allen, who also has owned a printing company for more than 30 years, said he has donated $20,000 to $30,000 worth of printing each year to organizations including TCGPW, the Texas Gay Rodeo Association, the Cowtown Leathermen, the Trinity River Bears and the Imperial Court of Fort Worth-Arlington.
Allen also estimated that the Stampede helps raise more than $200,000 annually for charity through shows.
“We have a really good giving community to be so small,” Allen said. “Every time we need money, the people get out on the dance floor and raise it.”
Allen reopened the Stampede, formerly the Corral Club, after longtime previous owner Ray Anderson died.
“It was just kind of a landmark for our community, so I stepped in and reopened it,” Allen said, adding that the club was closed for a year and a half.
Allen, who previously owned the Break Room, the Office and 651 Arlington, also plans to reopen 651 Fort Worth later this year.
But Allen, who’s been battling cancer for about a year, recently rented an apartment in Mexico where he plans to move soon and semi-retire.
“It’s been a fun ride,” Allen said. “I have the best staff I’ve ever had in my entire life. Most of my bartenders I’ve known for 15 and 20 years, and thank God they’re allowing me to do that.
“It’s time for me to let the young ones take over, because we’ve got some good young ones who are going to make great leaders in this town.”
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 28, 2007