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  • Paul Cooley


Gerry – The fans of the Gerry Volunteer Fire Department’s annual rodeo proved how tough and dedicated they are as a torrential downpour hit two hours before show time, causing those already lined up at the ticket booths to run for shelter, only to return after the storm, filling the arena to capacity to watch professional rodeo action.

The bareback competition had only one successful ride as Andy Carter from Ellsinore, Missouri, rode a mare named Vegas Girl for 74 points for the third highest score on the week. The saddle bronc event featured some very close competition as Joey Sonnier III, from New Iberia, Louisiana, had the top score, edging Buddy Wayne Monk, Philadelphia, Mississippi, by one-half point. Monk’s ride was on Shana’s Delight, a mare named after Shana Graham, the co-owner of the Painted Pony stock contractors.

The fastest time of the week in the team roping was posted by the team of Ross Clatterbuck, Berkeley Springs, West Virginia, and J.R. Myers, Felton, Pennsylvania, as they lassoed the horns and hind legs of their steer in 6.4 seconds. Trey Hall, of Rolla, Kansas, and Jason Martindale from Gansevoort, New York, were second fastest qualified time at 8.4. The husband and wife team of Kenny and Mary Ann Brown of Keedysville, Maryland, had the second fastest time of the performance but were assessed a ten second penalty for not giving the steer the required head start.

Clarence Hays from Bristow, Oklahoma, posted the quickest time in the tie-down roping as he roped and tied his steer in 11.5 seconds. He was followed by veteran J.R. Myers of Felton, Pennsylvania, at 13.2, who with his partner placed first in the team roping event. They, however, didn’t come close to the 9.0 and 9.3 times posted on Wednesday night.

The storm, which left the arena quite wet, slowed down the ladies in the barrel racing as no one was able to break the 15 second barrier, which was done twice on opening night. However, seven ladies rounded the barrels within three-fourths of a second of each other with Allison Serio posting the fastest time for this performance at 15.18 seconds.

The final event of the evening produced what the fans were hoping for when the string of 13 straight cowboys being bucked off by the Painted Pony bulls came to an end with a qualified ride by Scott Sellers of Warwick, Maryland, who stayed aboard a bull ironically named Watch Me for the required eight seconds. The toughest break of the entire rodeo went Mullica, New Jersey’s Connor Garcia when he was thrown from his bull at 7.9 seconds, missing a qualified ride by one-tenth of a second. If no one has a successful ride in tonight’s closing performance, Sellers stands to win more than $8000 for his eight second ride.

The fact that the storm hit just as the lines were forming for the traditional beef barbecue dinner also failed to discourage a large number of diners as dining hall manager Paula Gustafson reported that more than 600 dinners were served. The final serving of the dinners for this year’s rodeo will begin at 5:00 tonight.

In addition to the barbecue dinners and the closing performance of this year’s rodeo, the day’s activities include a free kids’ rodeo for those ages 3-8 in the rodeo arena to participate in rodeo related games supervised by cowgirls and cowboys as well as the rodeo clown and Miss Teen Rodeo New York and Miss Rodeo New York. A silver belt buckle will be awarded to the best dressed cowboy and cowgirl.

The final performance of this 72nd annual rodeo kicks off at 8:00 as the last competitors of the nearly 200 professional cowboys and cowgirls make an effort to take home some of the approximately $45,000 in prize as well as a pair of Montana Silversmith spurs which go to the winner of each of the seven events.

This is the longest consecutively running rodeo east of the Mississippi and all proceeds benefit the Gerry Volunteer Fire Department. Additional information is available at the rodeo website or by phone at (716) 985-4847 or 1-888-985-4847.

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