Jerri Goldberg, founding member of the IAGLCWDC was asked to write an article on the
beginning of the club. The information she provided follows.
Back in 1991, after teaching country and western dance in the gay and lesbian community
on and off for three to four years, I finally came upon a "hoedown." A friend of
mine had moved and asked me to meet him in Atlanta for Southern Country Atlanta's party. I
convinced fellow South Floridians, Adria, Rebecca, and Vinny to join me. We loaded up the
car and drove 15 hours to arrive at the biggest, country western event we had ever seen.
While excited and exhilarated buy the dancing comradery, we also found frustration when we
attended the meeting. At this time, there really was no organization. Atlanta, being host
of the weekend and the oldest club there, hosted the meeting, which was really nothing
more than a listing of events of each group in attendance.
Having had experience with the International Association of Gay Square Dance Clubs
(IAGSDC), whose history is very similar to what we were experiencing then, we had visions
of what we could do if we united and worked together. We soon learned that there were
others that were experiencing the same feelings, but were coming into opposition and
really couldn't push forward. Human nature is to fear change and many of us have witnessed
first hand the politics and games involved in structured organizations. So opposition was
In April of 1993, at Southern Country South Florida's Hoedown, enough interest was
shown that a meeting was scheduled to put paper thoughts and guidelines for a united
organization. Finally in June of 1993, in Chattanooga, TN, an "informal open
discussion" was held. Those in attendance, credited for founding the IAGLCWDC, were
Fred Bettin, Southern Country Charlotte; Jerry Gilbert, Southern Country Chattanooga;
Jerri Goldberg, Southern Country South Florida; John Guyer, Southern Country Orlando; Ken
Gunby, Southern Country Atlanta; David Kamenish, Southern Country Louisville; and Ken
Stayton, Southern Country Nashville. All agreed that the main purpose of an organization
would be to foster communication and networking. Other purposes were to establish an
annual convention and create bylaws.
This group spent almost an entire day behind closed doors drafting proposed bylaws.
Paragraph by paragraph, sentence by sentence, line by line, not a word went into this
document without discussion and a vote. The group parted by setting the next informal
discussion for Louisville in July 1993, with a document which we were proud. An agreement
was reached that this document would be sent (at the expense of these seven people) to
every club, bar, etc. which was related to Country/Western and that we could obtain
addresses. It was a good feeling of accomplishment.
Having been involved in many organizations in the past, I was amazed at the
open-mindedness, objectivity, and willingness to compromise of all those involved at the
At Louisville in July 1993, the proposed by-laws were discussed. There were some minor
changes made and the voting was set to take place in Atlanta the following August. There
were 25 individuals representing 15 groups in attendance at the Atlanta meeting. The
by-laws were accepted, officers were elected and the International Association was on its
A very successful 1st annual convention was held at Louisville, KY in July of 1994. The
host club featured a country dance cruise on the "Belle of Louisville" historic
paddle wheel boat on the Ohio River. Feature Hoedowns, via a bidding system that is now in
place were set for Atlanta, GA in 95; Los Angeles, CA in 96; Boston, MA in 97; Miami*, FL
in 98; Toronto, Canada in 99. (*the 1998 convention was later switched to Fort Lauderdale)
A brochure has been printed for easy distribution and dissemination of information. As
a reminder, every individual member of a member club, is a member of the IAGLCWDC. Get
involved, hold your delegate responsible, spread the word and keep dancing!