Our History

Reign I

The Reign of Unity & Pride

The United Court of Austin, Inc. was born in 1994 as a result of many community minded individuals coming together bound by the mutual desire to help our brothers & sisters less fortunate than ourselves.  The seeds to start an Empire in Austin began in 1992, sprouted in 1993, and soon withered.  New life was breathed into that ominous beginning as a labor of love from all over the State of Texas when all of the existing Empires came to our rescue.  Once back on our feet and ready to go again, five members of the original cast set out to “make it happen” in Austin.  We incorporated, wrote and adopted bylaws, and got our 501(c)3 status.  Two sets of Monarchs were put in place for Reign I to reflect the “United” Court – Emperors I, Colton Courville & Garry Holley and Empresses I Jackie O’Dare & DeShannon.  The Reign was flying high with maximum exposure across the state, however, due to a conflict of interest, DeShannon resigned from her position as Empress I.  The remaining three continued and stepped down with “Masks Around the World” June 17, 1995.

Lifetime Titles:
Grand PaPere for Life – Colton Courville
Grand MaMere for Life – Jackie O’Dare
Grand PaPere for Life – Garry Holley
Crown Prince for Life – David Pearson

Proclamations:
HMRIM Colton Courville: All UCA College of Monarchs Emperors will wear a head crown at In-State Walks at Coronations.HMRIM Jackie: All UCA past Monarchs still active and in good standing will gain free admission to Austin’s Coronation.

Reign II

The Reign of Faith, Hope & Charity

Reign II began with Empress I, Jose, The Widow Norton crowning Emperor Garry Holley & Empress Billie T –the first elected Monarchs of the United Court of Austin, Inc. The first official act was Investitures which was an all day event beginning at M.C.C. followed by several mini shows at three clubs.The main goal of this Reign was community awareness, interaction and acceptance of UCA as a viable 501(c)3 vehicle for improving the quality of life for people living with HIV/AIDS or breast cancer.  We were rolling along smoothly with many inroads being made as planned and lots of money being raised.  Unfortunately, Billie T decided that her resignation was in her best interest.  Garry continued on to finish the Reign as Absolute Emperor II.  The idea of commercial memberships was born and became a reality with clubs and organizations joining our efforts, thus achieving the interaction dream.  The awareness goal was evidenced by UCA being awarded with the “Col. Bob Collins Humanitarian Award” for the year.  The acceptance was obvious through the tremendous amount of money we gave back to our community.  The reign was extended two months due to hotel availability.  “An Imperial Evening at the Palace of the Pharaoh” brought Reign II to an end.
 
Lifetime Title:
King Father for Life – Col. Bob Collins
 
Proclamation:
HMRSM Garry Holley: The event known as “Candidate Announcement” is dedicated to assisting the stepping down Monarchs with the cost of stepping down pins.  If pins are not purchased, the monies will go to their chosen charity.

Reign III

The Reign of Odyssey

Reign III began in August of 1996 with the Crowning of Emperor Bobby Barnett & Empress Loni Thomas.Reign III ended with the Coronation IV “A Starlight Express” in August of 1997.
 
Lifetime Titles:
Imperial Crown Prince for Life – Eric Wilbur
Crown Prince Royal to Reign III for Life – Rudy Rohan

Reign IV

The Reign of Mythical Dreams & Legendary Futures

Reign IV began with the crowning of Emperor John Cummings & Empress Alix Courtnie.  The first order of business was investing the Line of Succession for Reign IV.  The year was filled with many fundraisers and charitable events.  The United Court of Austin attended every Texas Coronation, receiving “Best In-State Walk” in both Corpus Christi and Dallas.  Austin was also represented at several out of state coronations including Toronto, San Francisco, Reno and Denver, just to name a few.After a long hard year of fundraising, the fruits of our labor had paid off.   The primary beneficiaries for the Reign were Pediatric AIDS League, Breast Cancer Resource Center & The HIV Wellness Center, who received the proceeds from Coronation V and the balance of account funds.
 
Coronation V, “A Night of Mythical Dreams & Legendary Futures,” was held August 15, 1998 at the Airport Hilton.  After a wonderful evening of entertainment and court walks, the community had made its choice among 6 candidates, the largest number of contenders for one year in Austin’s history.
 
Lifetime Title:
Crown Prince for Life – Mel Mills
 
Proclamations:
HMRIM John: Emperor John will produce the Victory Show on the Sunday following Coronation to be known as “His Majesty Presents Their Majesties”.  Proceeds from this event will go to the charity of the stepping down emperor’s choice.HMRIM Alix: Annually, Empress Alix will present the David O’Quinn Theatrical Award at Coronation, recognizing excellence in the Arts.

Reign V

The Reign of Love & Courage

Reign V, being dubbed The Reign of Love and Courage, named so to represent each of the new monarchs, got off to a fast start after the crowning of Emperor Bob Hemby & Empress Cecilia Martay.  They were the first monarchs to present to their line of succession a membership handbook at the organizational meeting, which included line responsibilities, protocol, a history of The United Court of Austin, and a calendar of events planned for the upcoming year.The monarchs had several goals which were of great importance to them.  They first wanted to increase the visibility of The United Court of Austin in our community, throughout the State of Texas, and within the International Imperial Court System.  Collectively, the monarchs attended over 25 coronations. Also, wanting to be a very active force in raising funds for Austin charities, many fundraising events were conducted including two weekly and one bi-weekly fundraising events.  Finally, the monarchs wished to bring together various aspects of the Austin GLBT community and were very visible within the City of Austin within the bars & organizations, as well as attending charity functions other than those produced by the United Court of Austin.The monarchs also brought Club Skirt, a monthly fundraiser by women, for women, which was one of the largest regular fundraising events in the City of Austin to the corporate membership of UCA.  By bringing Club Skirt under our umbrella, the presence of gender females within the Court was raised.In August, 1999, Emperor Bob & Empress Cecilia presented Coronation VI “The Greatest Show on Earth” as an end to the Reign.  Coronation VI saw one of the largest crowds ever of an Austin Coronation.  Several local businesses and organizations walked in Austin for the first time, the perfect cap to a successful year.  The monarchs made it a point to thank and recognize all of those who helped make Reign V a success, from an outstanding line led by Female Line Member of the Year, Bebe Hughes, and Male Line Member of the Year, Bobby Birchmier and to the very active College of Monarchs led by Monarch of the Year, Alix Courtnie.
 
Lifetime Titles:
Princess Royal for Life – Dame Celicity Cash
Queen Mother for Life – Dorothy Jean Montgomery
 
Proclamation:
HMRIM Bob: 15 % of all monies raised during the official functions of The United Court of Austin will remain in the general fund to produce the annual event known as Coronation.  Remaining funds will then be distributed to the charities chosen as beneficiaries of Coronation.

Reign VI

The Reign of Dedication, Love and Unity

Reign VI began with the crowning of Emperor David Pearson & Empress Dee Dee Davis.  From their step-up David and Dee Dee wanted their Reign to be different from any other, one that included all court members in the fundraising process.  The idea was to concentrate on one large fundraising event each month, instead of lots of small ones each week.  With the one event, we were able to incorporate the many talents of our line members and College of Monarchs, from large production numbers that everyone could be in, to being a host/hostess seating our guests, to helping in the building of sets, and the preparation of the food buffets. The events were a huge success, and Austin received recognition throughout the State of Texas.  These shows would not have been possible without the support of our Home Bar – Dicks Déjà Disco.  The owners, management, and staff of Dicks were extremely supportive. They allowed us to rehearse every weekend, they gave us a budget for our set expense every month to help with the costs (allowing us to give back more to our community), they allowed us to set up our stage a week in advance so that patrons would see it and be curious as to what was coming up, they prepared all of the food for our buffets, they placed full page color ads for the shows, they rented tables and chairs so that our guests could sit and enjoy the show, they even provided a wait staff!We only wish that all of our Brother and Sister Courts in the Circuit could experience this level of support.Our line members were amazing through the entire year.  As stated before we rehearsed almost every weekend.  The shows were usually on Monday nights, and the fact that we all worked so closely together for such long periods of time shows just how United this Court truly is.  This could also be witnessed at any one of the numerous Club Skirt events, during which Reign VI worked diligently helping in any way that we could.  Club Skirt is an organization of women from our Community that have a large social event each month to raise money for various charities.  We usually helped with bartending the events, and then break down and cleanup of the functions to wrap up the evening.  This tradition still carries to this day.  Even though it is a lot of work, it is a social gathering time for a lot of us also – time away from rehearsals, sets, and meetings, allowing us to have fun and help out our sisters.  If you get a chance to go to a Club Skirt event, great food, beer, wine, music and wonderful people make for an evening to remember.Reign VI ended with Coronation VII, “A Twisted Texas Ho-Down,” another of the largest and most successful Coronations in Austin than ever before.  David and Dee Dee will forever be grateful to The United Court of Austin and our community for all of the hard work, which allowed us to raise the most money raised in one year within the Austin Court than ever before.

Reign VII

The Reign of Growth & Devotion

Reign VII got off to an interesting start with the crowning of Empress Bebe Hughes at Coronation and Emperor Bobby Birchmier stepping up the next morning at brunch.  This interesting unfolding was due to the hospitalization of Bobby with appendicitis.  This truly would be an interesting year as the Empress threatened to make all the decisions at brunch, prompting the speedy release of the newly elected Emperor from the hospital to make his grand entrance that very morning.We were off to a running start with Ft. Worth Investiture and Club Skirt Fundraisers within two weeks of Coronation.  After the success of Reign VI, there was a big challenge.  The monarchs were very proud to invest eighteen new line members at Investiture.November brought even more light to the Reign with the addition of even more new members and shows at Dick’s Déjà Disco.  The court also brought home “Best Production” from the Dallas Coronation.  The monarchs were intent on making their goal somehow.  They decided to add 3 awards for Coronation that would be determined throughout the year: Most Creative Benefit, Most Innovative Benefit and Most Fundraising Benefit.During this reign, we suffered the loss of Empress I and Co-Founder of the United Court of Austin, Jackie O’Dare, which was a very sad time for those that were close to her.  We celebrated her life with a memorial service and show at Rainbow Cattle Company which brought in visitors from around the state.
 
Lifetime Titles:
Brother for Life to HMRIM Bobby – Johnny Valencia
Crown Prince Royale to Reign VII for Life – Rudy Rohan

Reign VIII

The Reign of Unification, Determination to an Unlimited Destination

Reign VIII began in August 2001 with the crowning of the seventh elected monarchs of The United Court of Austin, Emperor Dwight Arnold & Empress Ima Hoot.  The monarchs were very busy throughout the year.  Highlighting the Reign were The Austin Babtist Women’s annual signature shows, The Disco Ball, Emperor Dwight’s annual Hard Candy Christmas Show, The USO Cabaret Show, and many other unique and fun events.  The UCA made a splash by appearing in Austin’s First Gay Pride Parade in many years.  We raised our visibility within the State of Texas and throughout the International Imperial Court System by attending many Coronations and events.The UCA received several recognitions during the Reign including Brother Court to Colorado Springs where we also took home the awards for Best Production and Best Person in Theme.  From Houston, we received Best In Theme, From Dallas, Best Production.  We continued the tradition by reaching out to other organizations.  Empress Ima spoke at the AIDS Candlelight Vigil, and personally worked with Interfaith Care Alliance to produce Dinner with David.  Emperor Dwight was also very visible by producing several events and performing in most of the UCA shows.
During Reign VIII, The Austin Babtist Women were honored with Entertainer of The Year by Ambush magazine, and were presented with the prestigious Jose Honors Award.Reign VIII came to a close with Coronation IX, “The Crystal Ball, A Frozen Fantasy.”  The monarchs created a frozen fantasy land complete with cool colors and red hot entertainment from throughout the International Court System.  Unique entrances were a hallmark at this event.  The monarchs were thrilled to welcome such a large crowd to Coronation IX.
 
Lifetime Titles:
Crown Prince Consort for Life to HMRIM Dwight – Tommy Garcia
Imperial Crown Prince for Life – Randy Stubblefield
 
Proclamations:
HMRIM Dwight: 10% of the net proceeds of each Coronation will be held in a travel fund for the stepping up monarchs to use throughout their year for any court related travel.  Any funds remaining at the end of the reign will be distributed to the charities designated as beneficiaries of Coronation.HMRIM Ima: Court members shall be able to earn points as defined by our bylaws for participating in approved events of other charitable organizations.

Reign IX

The Dream of Diversity, The Power of The Promise

United Court of Austin Empire residents cast their ballots electing the first lesbian Emperor and first African American Empress to serve as the monarchs of Reign IX.  Longtime members Leigh Bray Rockhopper and Topaz began their monarch duties with an organization meeting wherein the first fundraiser of the reign as well as Investiture plans were solidified.  Dick’s Deja Disco was dubbed the court’s Home Bar with the Emperor naming the Rainbow Cattle Company as the Emperor’s Corral and Chain Drive as the Emperor’s Garage (Where He Hangs His Tool Belt).  Empress Topaz named ‘Bout Time as her Imperial Palace.Emperor Leigh and Empress Topaz selected Wright House Wellness Center, Project Transitions and Women Rising as recipients of their charity benefits.  Member unity was at the forefront of the reign with members planning and executing a float entry in the annual Austin Pride Parade, efforts rewarded with recognition by the Pride Parade Committee awarding the United Court of Austin winners of the BEST FLOAT award.  This reign was also first to enjoy corporate sponsorship provided by the Stoli Corporation which donated prizes and money as official sponsors of such court events as the monthly Court Jester contests, pool tournaments plus donating the ingredients for Mona’s Notorious Jell-O Shots.During the Coronation of the Central Texas Empire UCA Reign IX was presented the President’s Award.  The monarchs traveled to various out-of-state coronations and were delighted their Imperial Crown Prince Gregg D and Imperial Crown Princess GiGi LaRouge also attended out-of-state coronations expanding overall coverage of the circuit.  Emperor Leigh with the Imperial Blessing of Empress José I, created Castle Rockhopper and Empress Topaz created the House of Stix.  Both would provide vehicles for additional fundraising efforts on behalf of UCA.Reign IX came to a close with the production of Coronation X THAT’S ENTERTAINMENT:  A Celebration of the Arts, An Evening to Dream on August 16th in the ballroom of the Red Lion Hotel.  Official sponsors for Coronation X were Rainbow Cattle Company and the Stoli Corporation.
 
Lifetime Titles:
Citizen for Life – Andy Redmond
Imperial Heart of the Dolphin for Life – Preston D. King
Imperial Heart and Son of the Dolphin for Life – Johnathan D. King
 
Proclamation:
HMRIM Leigh:  Henceforth, reigning Emperors of the United Court of Austin shall wear a silver head crown with clear jewels in lieu of the customary shoulder crown provided by the court; said crown to be purchased at the expense of each newly elected Emperor, if, they so chose.