The first semi-trailer load of broncs and bulls has arrived at the Gerry Rodeo grounds as the final preparations are underway for Wednesday’s opening performance of the 78th annual PRCA rodeo at their site five miles north of Jamestown, New York, on Route 60. The event continues for three additional nights – Thursday, Friday, and Saturday
In the next 24 hours, Painted Pony Championship Rodeo will have hauled more than 100 head of stock from their ranch in Lake Luzerne to challenge the skills of more than 200 professional cowboys and cowgirls from across the nation who will be competing for $50,000 in prize money. At the same time, a crew will be setting up the chutes to hold the animals for the four nights of competition. The arena dirt will be tilled and groomed to provide safety for the animals and competitors. By 5:00 am on Wednesday at the other end of the rodeo property, more than a 1000 pounds of beef will be cooking over wood fires in preparation for the first of 3000 meals that will be served over the four evenings.
The competition kicks of at 8:00 each evening with all eight traditional rodeo events – bareback and saddle bronc riding, tie-down roping, steer wrestling, team roping, bull riding, and the cowgirls’ break away roping and barrel racing.
One of the most outstanding announcers in rodeo, Greg Simas, will be returning for his 14th year to describe the action in the arena from his seat on horseback. Funnyman Rob Gann, who has been entertaining crowds across the nation as he works about 150 performances a year, is making his first trip to Gerry, bringing his own brand of humor which he describes as “Three Stooges on dynamite”.
Fans will also be able to see replays and closeups of the action on a stadium style video screen, which is much larger than the one used here for the first time last summer. The action is also available on the Cowboy Channel app.
The barbeque beef dinners that are a “once a year must” for many fans are served all four evenings from 5:00 – 8:00 in the air-conditioned dining hall. In addition to the beef which is cooked for eight hours and served with the secret recipe sauce, the dinners feature kettle browned potatoes, corn, tossed salad, cottage cheese, a roll, ice cream and a beverage.
A highlight for many is the midway featuring more than 20 vendors offering everything from Western wear to cotton candy to fried dough. It opens at 5:00 and remains open throughout the evening. It also offers fun for the kids with pony rides, face painting, and sand art.
Thursday evening features a special price for military members and first responders who are admitted to the rodeo for $10 with proper ID. These tickets must be purchased at the rodeo office. Saturday night is “Stompin’ Out Breast Cancer” night. Fans are asked to wear pink, and contributions will be accepted for Roswell Park for breast cancer research.
On Saturday afternoon at 4:00, kids ages 3 – 8 have the opportunity to be cowboys and cowgirls for a time as they can participate in a free kids’ rodeo in the arena where they will play rodeo related games supervised by rodeo personnel. Each kid will receive a prize, and a belt buckle will be awarded to the best dressed cowboy and cowgirl.
Parking is free with donations accepted to benefit the Gerry Volunteer Fire Department as do all proceeds from the rodeo to support their efforts to respond to about 350 fire and emergency calls per year. Fans are reminded that the event is alcohol free.
Additional information is available at the rodeo website www.gerryrodeo.org or by phone at (716) 985-4847 or 1-888-985-4847.