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  • Paul Cooley


The final day of the Gerry Volunteer Fire Department’s 70th annual PRCA rodeo saw extremes  in weather conditions for the final two performances as sunshine and ideal arena conditions greeted the fans and competitors for the 2:00 matinee  while a violent thunderstorm shortly before the evening  competition turned the arena into a sea of mud.

The contrast in conditions, however, did not prevent the fans from seeing some outstanding efforts with a number of the pro cowboys and cowgirls moving up in the standing in their events, particularly in the evening as they battled through the poor conditions to reward the 750 fans who braved the storm.

The steer wrestling event featured two very fast times in the afternoon with Olin Ellsworth, Warrensburg, Pa., throwing his steers to the dirt in the two fastest times of the week, 4.1 and 4.2 seconds to win the event.  However, those competing in the evening conditions gave the fans a number of thrills as each of them came up covered with mud, bringing a number of loud ovations. Mike Cliver,  Westfield, Pa., survived the mud in the evening to place second in the event at 10.1 seconds.

The mud also made it very difficult for the tie-down ropers and their ropes, but Cody McCartney, Ottawa Lake, Mich., refused to give in and posted the fastest time of the week at 8.8 seconds for a combined total on two calves of 20.4 seconds. His effort was not quite good enough as he finished just three-tenths of a second behind veteran J.R. Myers, Felton, Pa., who won the event under ideal conditions in the afternoon at 20.1.

The muddy arena seemed to agree with the team ropers as the fastest time of the week as well as both the first and second place winners came from this performance. Rob Toth, Wolcott, Ct., and Fred Brunelle, Schuylerville, N.Y., combined to rope their steer by the horns and heels in just 5.6 seconds.  They missed on their second steer, however, opening the door for Eric Fabian, Schenectady, N.Y., and Derek Carey, Monson, Mass., to post times of 7.0 and 6.6 to win the event.

Two of the top scores in the bareback bronc competition came in ideal conditions in the afternoon with Tyler Waltz, Martin, Tenn.,  taking first with an 82 point ride on a mare named Lovely Lexi, and last year’s Rookie of the Year, Tim O’Connell, Zwingle, Iowa, tying Justin Miller’s opening night ride at 81 points.

The saddle bronc event had three successful rides in the matinee, with two Texas cowboys, Casey Maddox from Witchita, and Dean Wadsworth from Ozuna tying at 77 points. Their efforts, however, were not good enough to catch the 82 point scored posted by Louisiana’s nine times NFR qualifier and 2012 World Champion Cody DeMoss on opening night.

The Painted Pony Rodeo’s bulls had scored a shutout until they met up with three Pennsylvania cowboys who had the only successful rides of the week. On Friday John Leinaweaver of Orrtanna  locked up first place as he rode two bulls and seemed on his way to sweeping all the money in his event until Saturday night in the mud Nate Brenize from Pleasant Hall and Mike Adams from Oxford stayed on for the required eight seconds, placed second and third taking some money out of the pocket of the winner.

Because of the slippery arena, none of the girls in the barrel racing was able to challenge the winning time of 14.81 by Sarah Attea, Camillus, N.Y., on opening night. Only three of the 63 entries were able to break the 15 second barrier for the week, putting all three of the women over the $1000 mark in winnings for the week.  Second place went to Laura Trumpower, Mercersburg, Pa., and third to Natalie Davidson from Salem, Ohio.

The All-around Cowboys award, which goes to the cowboy who wins the most money while competing in at least two events, went to veteran tie-down and team roper, Carmine Nastri, of Ballston Spa, N.Y.    Nastri has been coming to the Gerry rodeo since he was a child and has competed here for 37 consecutive years. Total payout in prize money was $52,411. In addition to prize money, each of the winners received a set of Montana Silversmith engraved spurs from the fire department

In addition to the rodeo competition, the fans were entertained by the antics of rodeo clown Hollywood Harris, the outstanding job of directing the action in the arena by announcer Greg Simas, and the trick and fancy roping of fourteen year-old Cooper Nastri, who is the youngest professional specialty act in rodeo today.

Head chef Bruce Gustafson reports that almost 3000 barbeque beef dinners were served and total attendance was approximately 5700. The rodeo is the major source of revenue for the Gerry Volunteer Fire Department as they answer 350 fire and rescue calls each year. The rodeo website is

Winners along with earnings:

Bareback Riding

###. Martin, Tenn.   $2380

Justin Miller        Billings, Mont.   $1586

Tim O’Connell    Zwingle, Iowa    $1586

Steer Wrestling

Olin Ellsworth    Warrensburg, NY             $965

Mike Cliver ll      Westfield, Pa.                    $723

Justin Thigpen   Waycross, Ga.                   $482

Team Roping

Eric Fabian           Schenectady, N.Y.           $862

Derek Carey        Monson, Mass.                 $862

Darren Morgan  Fort Ann, N.Y.                    $646

Shawn Quinn      Monroe Twp., N.J.          $646

Mervin Beachy  Washington, Pa.               $215

Dean Minick        Washington, Pa.               $215

Tie-down Roping

J.R. Myers            Felton, Pa.                          $1240

Cody McCartney  Ottawa Lake, Mich.      $930

Jason Steed        Rockwall, Tex.                   $620

Saddle Bronc Riding

Cody Demoss     Heflin, La.                            $2506

Casey Maddox   Wichita Falls, Tex.            $1671

Dean Wadsworth  Ozona, Tex.                   $1671

Bull Riding

John Leinaweaver            Orrtanna, Pa.     $656

Nate Brenize      Pleasant Hall, Pa.              $477

Mike Adams       Oxford, Pa.                         $318

Barrel Racing

Sarah Attea                      Camillus, N.Y.                   $1465

Laura Trumpower             Mercersburg, Pa.             $1255

Natalie Davidson             Salem, Ohio                   $1046

📷 Gerry rodeo chairman Tom Atwell (right) presents a set of Montana Silversmith spurs to the tie-down roping champion J.R.Myers as Myers’ wife Jamie looks on.

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