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  • Paul Cooley


GERRY – Rain failed to dampen the enthusiasm of the hardy rodeo fans who braved the weather as they were treated to outstanding rodeo action in the third performance of the Gerry Volunteer Fire Department’s 73rd annual professional rodeo which winds up action in tonight’s final attempt by the more than 250 cowboys and cowgirls to take home some of the $50,00 in prize money.

Highlighting Friday’s action was an “ironman” performance by Clovis Crane, Lebanon, Pennsylvania, who rode three broncs on the night. His first two bareback horses failed to perform well so he was awarded re-rides by the judges. He will be given third try at a successful ride later.  If he chooses to do so. he will have an opportunity to top the 70 point ride by James Carter, Monroe City, Missouri. Carter then mounted a saddle bronc and rode for 77 points, the best score of the night and only one point less than the best score of the week. He is no stranger to long nights as he has in the past won championships in all three rough stock events – saddle bronc, bareback bronc, and bull riding in the same rodeo as well as winning all-around cowboy titles.

The wet weather usually makes it tough for the tie-down ropers, but they didn’t seem to be bothered by it as seven of the eight scheduled ropers successfully tied their calves. The best time was posted by Chance Hays, Wellington, Florida, at 9.1 seconds. In addition to his rodeo career, Hays is a nationally acclaimed artist. Second place in this event went to Cory Kirk, White Pine, Tennessee, who roped his calf in 9.7 seconds.

The Painted Pony Rodeo’s bulls proved too tough for the cowboys on this night as seven of the eight bulls tossed their cowboys to the arena mud. The eighth cowboy, John Leinaweaver, Orrtanna, Pennsylvania, then proved how tough bull riders can be as his bull slipped and fell on him, Given a re-ride by the judges, he got on another bull which he rode for77 points, only the second successful ride of the week.

The steer wrestlers will probably be doing laundry today as the arena was muddy from the rain. However, they didn’t let that affect their efforts as the third and fourth fastest times of the week were posted. John Leinaweaver, who also successfully rode a bull, had the evening’s best time at 5.7 seconds followed closely by Nate Camper, Genoa, Ohio, at 5.8 seconds. The week’s best time is 4.5 seconds.

Eleven teams competed in the team roping, but only three teams successfully posted times. The top time went to the team that between them have 11 appearances at the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas - Kevin Daniel, Anthony, Florida and Brad Culpepper, Sylvester, Georgia. Culpepper is a two-time World Champion. They roped their steer’s horns and hind legs in 5.9 seconds to place second for the week. Cody Johnson, Dublin, Texas, and his partner Cesar de la Cruz, Tucson, Arizona, were second on the night at 6.9 seconds. De la Cruz is considered one of the all-time great ropers as he has been to the NFR nine times.

The wet arena didn’t affect the cowgirls as six of the ten circled the cloverleaf barrel course in less than 16 seconds with Joanna Reid, Thorndike, Maine, being the fastest at 15.08 seconds. Jen Bruno, Potsdam, New York, was second at 15.13. Only 46 hundredths of a second separated the top six ladies.

The fourth and final performance of this 73rd rodeo begins at 8:00 tonight in what the weatherman says will be perfect weather. All seven traditional rodeo events will be featured with champions named in each, as well as the cowboy who wins the most money in at least two events getting the title of All-around Cowboy. In addition, each of the winners will receive a set of Montana Silversmith  spurs from the Gerry Volunteer Fire Deopartment.

A free kids’ rodeo will be held in the arena with pro cowboys and cowgirls in the arena at 4:00 today with registration at 3:00. The final serving of the famous beef barbeque dinners will be served beginning at 5:00 in the dining hall.

Addition information is available at the website or by phone at (7160 985-4847 or 1-888-985-4847.

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