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  • Paul Cooley

Gerry Rodeo 2023 Contestants

215 professional cowboys and cowgirls from 24 states as far away as Texas, Oklahoma, and Iowa, plus six bronc and bull riders from Brazil, South America, have signed up to compete for more than $50,000 in prize money in the Gerry Fire Department’s 78th annual PRCA rodeo, which kicks off the four-night event at 8:00 tonight and continues through Saturday.

The competition includes eight events each night - bareback and saddle bronc riding, tie-down roping, steer wrestling, team roping, cowgirls’ breakaway roping and barrel racing, and the ever- dangerous bull riding. Prize money comes from the fire department, sponsors, and entry fees paid by each competitor. The entry fees range from $70 to $150 depending on the event. Eleven cowboys have entered two events while Zane Kilgus of Watsontown, Pennsylvania, will be competing in three – tie-down roping, team roping, and steer wrestling.

Announcer Greg Simas is returning for his 14th time to describe the action from his seat on his horse Elvis in the arena, while funnyman Rob Gann promises to keep the fans entertained with his comedy which he describes as a combination of “Three Stooges and dynamite”.

More than 100 head of stock for this event arrive by semis from Painted Pony Professional Rodeo’s ranch in Lake Luzerne, New York. They are also responsible for the chute gates and pens and for directing the events in each performance.

Adding to the fans’ enjoyment is a large stadium style video screen which shows closeups and replays of the action. The rodeo is available on the Cowboy Channel Plus app.

The event also features the famous barbeque beef cooked for eight hours over wood fires and served with all the trimmings from 5:00-8:00 in the air-conditioned dining room. A midway with more than 20 vendors, offering everything from Western wear to cotton candy, opens at 5:00 each evening. Following each performance, cowboys and cowgirls are available near the ticket booths for photos and autographs.

The event is family friendly with activities for kids on the midway with pony rides, sand art, and face painting. A free kids’ rodeo for those ages 3 -8 will be held on Saturday at 4:00 where the kids will play rodeo related games supervised by rodeo personnel. The best dressed little cowboy and cowgirl will receive a belt buckle. Registration is at 3:00.

This rodeo is now the longest consecutively running rodeo east of the Mississippi and is fully sanctioned by the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA). All contestants must be members of that association, with the cowgirls being members of their own Women’s Professional Rodeo Association.

All proceeds go to the Gerry Volunteer Fire Department as they answer more than 300 fire and emergency calls each year to protect the lives and property of the residents of this area.

Tickets or additional information is available on-line at or by phone at (716) 9854847 or 1-888-985-4847, as well as at the rodeo office or ticket booths. Combination tickets for both the rodeo and the dinner are available at reduced prices.

Fans are reminded that the show goes on rain or shine, and that the event is alcohol free.

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