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  • Paul Cooley


Gerry – A record number of more than 230 professional cowboys and cowgirls from 25 states and Canada are headed into Gerry for four nights of competition with more than $45,000 in prize money up for grabs as the 71st consecutive PRCA rodeo opens tonight at 8:00 with the seven traditional rodeo events – bareback and saddle bronc riding, steer wrestling, tie-down roping, team roping, cowgirls’ barrel racing, and the dangerous bull riding.

The action continues nightly through Saturday and, in addition to the rodeo competition, features the humor of one of rodeo top clowns, Rockin’ Robbie Hodges, who has appeared at the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas. He will also be the barrel man in the bull riding event to protect the cowboys. Greg Simas, who has also appeared in Las Vegas, returns as the announcer for his fourth year to direct the action from horseback in the arena.

Thursday night offers reduced rates for firemen and military members while on Saturday spectators and contestants are urged to wear pink to help raise awareness of breast cancer. Seniors (60) have reduced rates each night.

Kids are given special attention for the rodeo as ages 3-12 can be admitted for $5 tonight and a free kids’ rodeo is scheduled for 4:00 on Saturday in the arena with games and prizes. The midway, which features 20 vendors, opens at 5:00 and has sand art and face painting for the kids. Also cowboys and cowgirls, along with Miss Rodeo New York and Miss Teen Rodeo New York, will be available for autographs and photos just outside the entrance gates following each night’s performance.

The highlight of the week for many is the famous beef dinners featuring barbeque beef cooked for eight hours over open fires and served with the “secret recipe” sauce, kettle browned potatoes, salad, cottage cheese, corn, a roll, ice cream, and a drink served in the air-conditioned dining hall. Serving begins at 5:00 each evening of the rodeo, and combination tickets for both the rodeo and dinner are available at reduced rates.

The rodeo is now the longest consecutively running rodeo east of the Mississippi and all proceeds go to the Gerry Volunteer Fire Department to help fund their emergency and firefighting efforts in the area. Additional information is available at the website or by phone at (716) 985-4847 or 1-888-985-4847.

Photo: These four-legged stars of the Gerry Rodeo enjoy the fire department’s pastures while waiting for their eight seconds of action followed by a return to the pastures for a mandatory two days of rest.

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