- Paul Cooley
Cowgirls’ Breakaway Roping featured at Gerry Rodeo
Fans coming to the annual Gerry Rodeo this summer will be treated to a new and exciting event for the first time ever – cowgirls’ breakaway roping.
This event, which is the fast growing rodeo event across the nation, differs from the traditional cowboys’ tie-down roping in that the calves are not roped and tied, but the cowgirl lassos the calf from horseback at full speed and brings her horse to a sudden stop. Her rope is tied to her saddle with a string and, when the calf hits the end of the rope, the string breaks, releasing the rope and stopping the clock.
According to rodeo chairman Tom Atwell, this will provide a second event for the cowgirls, bringing the total competitive events to eight for each performance. He says that the opportunity to add this event is made possible through the sponsorship of TLC Equine Rehab in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.
This event has long been popular in high school and college rodeos but has just recently been added to a number of professional rodeos. The Women’s Professional Cowgirls Association says they are pleased at the response to this event and for the opportunity it gives for additional competition for the female participants in rodeo. The WPRA is now holding a world competition in breakaway roping where the top prize in 2019 was $100,000, won by Madison Outhier, a 16-year-old cowgirl from Texas, who defeated 481 other cowgirls to take the title at the American Rodeo held in the Dallas Cowboys’ stadium in Texas.
The Gerry Rodeo, now in its 76th consecutive year in their arena five miles north of Jamestown, New York, is scheduled for four nightly performances, August 5-8, with approximately 225 professional cowboys and cowgirls coming from across the nation to compete for more than $50,000 in prize money.
In addition, the event features their famous beef barbeque dinners served in the air- conditioned dining hall, as well as a midway with more than 20 vendors with everything from Western wear to cotton candy.
Additional information, including a history of the rodeo, is available at the rodeo website www.geryyrodeo.org. This is now the longest consecutively running rodeo east of the Mississippi with all proceeds going to the Gerry Volunteer Fire Department which provides fire and emergency services to the area through more than 300 such calls each year.