The faces of America's gay rodeo – A bareback bronco rider displays perfect form at a gay rodeo event in San Diego in 1990. Photographer Blake Little became fascinated with the gay rodeo circuit in the 1980s, and he even competed and won Bull Riding Champion of the Year in 1990.
The faces of America's gay rodeo – "Jerry was a top cowboy and excelled at every event, from bullriding to calf roping," Little wrote about this image. "He was (a) mentor for a lot of young cowboys and (a) big influence on me. He taught me, encouraged me to make my first bull ride."
The faces of America's gay rodeo – This image shows a rodeo bullfighter with his kids, getting ready to go to work. "It took guts for this for this straight bullfighter to work a gay rodeo and bring his kids, especially in 1989," Little wrote.
The faces of America's gay rodeo – Scott Terry practices before competing in a calf roping event. Terry is the author of the 2012 memoir "Cowboys, Armageddon, and The Truth: How a Gay Child Was Saved from Religion."
The faces of America's gay rodeo – Because Little also competed in the rodeo, he had full access to the events -- as evident in this photo he took from behind the chutes.
The faces of America's gay rodeo – "These Los Angeles cowboys knew how to dress, and some took it very seriously," Little wrote. "Some of the cowboys brought six pairs of jeans in different colors plus matching shirts for a two-day rodeo."
The faces of America's gay rodeo – A brief moment of calm for David, who worked most of the gay rodeos in the western United States.
The faces of America's gay rodeo – Another image of Little's mentor, Jerry, who he describes as "a real competitor and probably could have been a professional cowboy." The popularity of gay rodeo surged in the late 1980s and early 90s -- but that was also the height of the AIDS epidemic. Jerry passed away in the mid-1990s.
The faces of America's gay rodeo – This image shows "steer decorating," an event that was open to anyone at the rodeo. "You have to tie a ribbon on the steer's tail while your partner holds on the head of the steer," Little wrote. "It's not at easy as it looks."
The faces of America's gay rodeo – "Jim is a cowboy and a historian with focus on gays in the American West," Little wrote. "You can see the influence in his vintage style."
The faces of America's gay rodeo – Gay rodeo features an event called "wild drag race" -- one team member (not seen in this photo) wears a dress and a wig and has to ride the steer over the finish line. "It was actually a very dangerous event," Little explained.
The faces of America's gay rodeo – Little took this portrait of his fellow rodeo team members in his Hollywood photo studio in 1990, the year he won Bull Riding Champion of the Year. Little's photographs went on exhibition for the first time this year at the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art.