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  • Paul Cooley


GERRY – A near capacity crowd filled the stands on Friday night for the third performance of the Gerry Volunteer Fire Department’s 74th consecutive PRCA rodeo to watch pro cowboys and cowgirls from 30 states and Canada continue their quest for a part of the $45,000 prize money.

Following a salute to our military and first responders and prayer by announcer Greg Simas, and a spectacular rendition of the National Anthem by Jeanie Kent, the wife of bareback bronc rider Tim Kent, and who recently sang the anthem at the Dodge Ram Finals Rodeo in Kissimmee, Florida, the fans were treated to the Grand Entry, featuring a parade of more 50 competitors on horseback.

It was then off to the rodeo action beginning with the bareback bronc event in which Tanner Phipps from Dalton, Georgia, who is currently ranked number 25 in the world standings, scored 74 points on his bronc. However, the judges decided that his bronc didn’t get out of the chute property and gave him the option of a re-ride. His decision to take the re-ride was a good one as he then scored 82 points on Bad Cat to take over second place, only one point behind Tyler Waltz’s 83 ride on opening night. Matthew Smith, Saraland, Alabama, was second on the night at 80 points.

It was a tough night for the team ropers, where one cowboy ropes the head of the steer while his partner ropes the hind legs, as three teams had successful runs but were penalized 10 seconds for breaking the rope barrier which gives the steer a head start over the cowboys. None of the of the rest of the field was able to come close to 5.8 seconds time posted on Thursday night by the team of Nelson Linares and Spunk Sasser. Not placing in this event means the cowboys not only do not take home any of the prize money, but they lose their $250 entry fee.

AJ Williams, Peach Bottom, Pennsylvania, made the most of his chance in the steer wrestling as he posted the fastest time of the week, throwing his steer to the dirt in 3.9 seconds, one of the fastest times ever in the Gerry arena. Tyler Rumford, Abbeyville, Kansas was also fast at 4.8 seconds, but unfortunately he broke the barrier, resulting in a 10 second penalty.

There were four successful rides in the saddle bronc event with Clovis Crane, Lebanon, Pennsylvania, riding a bronc named Muddy Trails for a 71 score which leaves him in second place for the week. Joe Farren, Cottondale, Florida and Will Stites, Jonestown, Pennsylvania, tied with 68 points each.

The humid weather seemed to create a problem for tie-down ropers as seven of the eleven cowboys failed to successfully rope and tie their calves. However, veteran roper J.R. Myers, Felton, Pennsylvania, not only posted the best time on the night but also the fastest time of the week at 8.7 seconds. He currently is the number one ranked tie-down roper in the First Frontier Circuit.

Fifteen seconds seems to be the magic time barrier for the barrel racers to break if they want to make any money in their event as four girls broke that barrier on opening night, but no one was able to do it in the second performance last night. Tonight, the girls and their horses were back in form as five of them were under 15 seconds, topped by a 14.48 time by Christina Mulford, Franklinville, New Jersey. This was the fast time of the week by almost two-tenths of a second in an event which usually sees the competitors separated by only hundredths of a second.

The bull riding event was again a tough one for the cowboys as only one rider, Austin Beaty from Bedford, Virginia, was able to make a successful eight second ride. His 82 points on one of Painted Pony’s great bulls was the second successful ride of the week and moved him into possession of first place.

The rodeo concludes its 74th rodeo tonight at 8:00 under what the weatherman terms “perfect conditions”, and the event promises to be an exciting one with the cowboys and cowgirls dreaming of taking home a championship in their event.

Prior to the closing performance, children ages 3 -8 can participate in a free children’s rodeo in the arena at 4:00 where pro cowboys and cowgirls will supervise the youngsters in rodeo related games. Each participant will receive a kerchief and certificate, and prizes will be awarded to the best dressed cowboy and cowgirl.

Fans of the famous beef barbecue dinners will have one last chance to enjoy a dinner in the rodeo dining room beginning at 5:00. Chef Bruce Gustafson reports that his kitchen crew served more than 600 dinners on Friday night. The midway with more than 20 vendors also opens at 5:00.

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

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