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Sometimes it's a matter of putting on a towel. Now it's time to throw one in, as the saying goes. After entertaining crowds near and far, LGBT and straight, raising thousands of dollars for a variety of HIV/AIDS-related organizations, it's come time to wind down. There's still the return to the Sziget Festival in Budapest, Hungary, where the DC Cowboys have been a crowd favorite, and a few other gigs, but the June 10 Capital Pride Festival is essentially the local good-bye.
Townsend, who already planned to move on before the final decision was made, says this might be the show where his emotions finally get the better of him.
''I've been in denial a bit about it coming to an end. I've gotten emotional at performances, but I haven't broken down yet. I say 'yet,' because I think Pride's going to be emotional,'' he says, promising that however emotional things get, the DC Cowboys will deliver. ''We always take the Pride performances very seriously. We want it as clean and as polished as possible.''
While Kurzeja won't be performing, she'll still be on that main stage in spirit, backing her boys as they do what they do best.
''Every time they go out onstage, with the applause, there's the proud feeling you get seeing them get the recognition they deserve,'' she says, adding the that Cowboys' medical kit has had to include tissues lately to catch Kurzeja's tears as she gets choked up over the end of the Cowboys. ''They have broken down a lot of barriers. They've been able to show people that they may be gay, but they're just regular guys. It's just a great group of guys who represent the community in the best way possible.
''I'll be very surprised if there aren't tears from some of the guys Sunday. Kevin is very strong, but we have some sensitive ones.''
Strong as Platte may be, he's the one with the greatest emotional stake, particularly in that he's been named a Capital Pride Hero this year. Ultimately, it was his decision to wind down this adventure. It's all part of the showmanship.
''We're ready to move on to other exciting opportunities individually,'' says Platte. ''I've always been involved with the gay community. I'm sure I'll find another opportunity, whether sitting on a board, whether Whitman-Walker Health – my dream would be the board of The Washington Ballet – or with a dance company that needs some infusion of energy and different perspective. But it's time for us to go out on top and leave the audience wanting more.''
More importantly, however, Platte wants to emphasize that during this final season, as he and the rest of the DC Cowboys – past and present – take stock in what their troupe has accomplished, the real message is one of gratitude.
''The real story of our farewell season is not for us. It's for our fans,'' says Platte. ''Without our fans over these 18 years, we're no one. We're just dancing in the living room. We're just dancing in a bar, by ourselves or with our friends. Our farewell tour is dedicated to our fans and supporters that made us who we are. This is us giving back, saying, 'Thank you.' Truly, truly, thank you. As we're all ready to go on to different chapters and venues of our lives, we're giving thanks back to the people who have made us who we are.''
The DC Cowboys are currently scheduled to appear on the Capital Pride Main Stage Sunday, June 10, at 5 p.m. '