Each year in late June, the members of the Alberta Rockies Gay Rodeo Association, ARGRA, stage the Canadian Rockies International Rodeo. Drawing participants and spectators from all over the Canada, the United States, and beyond, the weekend is one of over a half-dozen similar rodeo events that take place each year.
The rodeo is a space where Gays and Lesbians who have grown up on a farm or ranch and participated in rodeos before or who, in the words of one participant, "always dreamed of being a cowgirl" can compete, have fun, and join an extended family. Cartoonist and illustrator Sean Martin is a member of ARGRA and helps out with the rodeo each year by preparing posters and other materials for the rodeo. This year, he decided to compete in the rodeo itself.
Sean Martin was born in a small town in the panhandle of Texas, Heresford. He recalled that the town had more churches than any other city in the US, except for the borough of Brooklyn, New York. Heresford is a small ranch town, where people gather from farms and ranches in the area. "It had like one church for every five people," Sean remembered.
In his early years, Sean lived on his grandfather's ranch. "It was kind of an idyllic classical western upbringing", Sean said. "I had my chores, I was a future Farmer of America, I had a horse," Sean remembers, laughing. He and his mother moved to Fort Worth when he was a teenager and Sean always regretted leaving the ranch.
Raider in Canada: Portrait of Sean Martin is the story of a personal journey, from the plains of Texas to San Francisco, to Toronto and Alberta and points in between. This documentary looks at Sean's cartoon creation Doc and Raider and the close-knit community Sean now calls home. It is a portrait of an artist whose work surprises, delights, and makes us think.