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  • Paul Cooley


The rodeo family across the nation have always had great love and respect for God and Country, and this was on display in a big way as the second performance of the Gerry Fire Department’s 75thconsecutive annual PRCA rodeo with military members and first responders receiving reduced admission. Heading the opening was a ceremony in which 12 young men and women from this area were sworn into the United States Army.

Veteran announcer Greg Simas then honored members of all four branches of the military by having them stand to an appreciative ovation from the near-capacity crowd. Following prayer by Simas, a large Stars and Stripes flag that covered nearly half the rodeo arena was bought in and unfolded by the new recruits and members of the fire department as the National Anthem was sung. The traditional Grand Entry with more than 100 cowboys and cowgirls circling the arena on horseback then introduced the night’s competition.

The evening concluded with an outstanding fireworks display, but the fireworks in the competition began early as bareback bronc rider Jake Brown, a four-time National Finals qualifier, from Cleveland, Texas, set a new arena record with an 88 point ride aboard Painted Pony’s George’s Bad Cat to take over first place in that event.

The saddle bronc event had only one qualified ride, a 70-point effort by Curtis Garton, Boxholm, Iowa, giving him second place for the first two nights.

The fireworks continued in the steer wrestling as John Leinaweaver, Aspers, Pennsylvania, threw his steer in 5.8 seconds for the fastest time of the week, beating the previous best time of 6.7 seconds set on opening night.

Not to be outdone, the team roping pair of Darren Morgan, Fort Ann, New York and his partner, Morgan Jones from Town Creek, Alabama, took over first place in their event by roping the horns and hind legs of their steer in a very fast 5.2 seconds.

The outstanding action continued in the tie-down roping with Chance Locken, Reedsburgh, Wisconsin, lassoing and tying his calf in 9.8 seconds, beating the previous fastest time of 10.3 seconds.

The cowgirls’ barrel racing event saw five girls post times under 16 seconds with Tiany Schuster, who traveled to Gerry from her home in Krum, Texas, break the 15 second barrier with a time of 14.69, just missing the fastest time of the week set on Wednesday night by just four-one hundredth of a second.

There was tough luck in the bull riding event as several of the cowboys who entered and were traveling together experienced a vehicle breakdown and were unable to get to Gerry. However, that did not keep a New York rider, Clark Griswold, from Bainbridge from staying aboard the Painted Pony bull for the required eight seconds and earning an 80.5 score from the judges to take over first place for the week.

The multi-talented and highly decorated funny man Keith Isley and his trick horses provide a lot of laughter for the fans who now see why he has been awarded the PRCA Comedy Act of the Year four times and PRCA Clown of the Year on five occasions. This is his first trip to this area and rodeo chairman Tom Atwell urges fans not to miss seeing this rodeo legend in person.

The rodeo continues tonight at 8:00 with the final performance set for Saturday night in the arena five miles north of Jamestown on Route 60. Fireworks will follow both performances. The barbeque beef dinners will be served both evenings beginning at 5:00 with the midway opening at the same time. Head chef Bruce Gustafson reports that they served nearly 800 dinners this evening, bringing the total to approximately 1500 for the two nights.

This is now the longest consecutively running PRCA rodeo east of the Mississippi and all proceeds benefit the Gerry Volunteer Fire Department as they answer more than 300 fire and EMS calls each year.

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