One of the largest crowds in recent years jammed the stands for the third performance of the Gerry Volunteer Fire Department’s 71st annual PRCA rodeo to watch outstanding action by some of the more than 200 cowboys and cowgirls entered in this year’s competition.
The action was preceded by nearly 40 competitors mounted on horseback circling the arena in the Grand Entry followed by the National Anthem sung by eight-year-old Gabby Graham, daughter of Shawn and Shana Graham, stock contractors for the rodeo. The fans then had a unique opportunity to see three generations of the Pained Pony Rodeo’s string of bucking horses as one of their outstanding mares was introduced to circle the arena along with her daughter and her three month old granddaughter.
The bareback riding kicked off the action in the arena with two cowboys posting the fastest times of the week. Andy Carter, Ellsinore, Missouri, scored 79 on his bronc to take over first place while Winn Ratliff from Leesville, Louisiana, was one point behind at 78. This still left them far behind the Texas cowboy Jake Brown who scored 86 on opening night. In the saddle bronc event, Jace Angus of Fallon, Nevada, took over first place with a ride worth 77 points.
Painted Pony’s bulls pitched a shutout on the night as all eight cowboys hit the dirt, creating a lot of action for the two bull fighters who risked injury to protect the cowboys. One of those bull fighters, Phil Hussman, worked despite injuring a leg which was badly broken just seven months ago. This means that in the bull riding there have been only two qualified rides for the week with Freeman Yoder of Zearing, Iowa, leading the way with a score of 82 in the opening performance.
The girls’ barrel racing again produced some excellent times with six girls circling the barrels in under sixteen seconds with Terry Tamburino of Sarasota, posting the top time of 15.22 seconds. No cowgirl, however, has been able to top the time of the first rider in the opening performance, Robin Weaver from Mahaffey, Pennsylvania, who broke the 15 second barrier with a 14.99 ride.
First place in the steer wrestling went to Ryan Whetham, Woodstown, New Jersey, who posted times of 5.7 and 4.7 seconds for an aggregate of 10.4 seconds on his two steers. He was followed closely by a Canadian cowboy, Moose Mousseau, whose time on two steers was 12.4 seconds.
The team roping had only two teams who were able to successfully rope the horns and hind legs of their steers, with the team of Moose Mousseau, Ontario, Canada, and a New York cowboy, Drew Carnes from Hornell, posting terrific times of 8.1 and 7.5 seconds to easily take over the top spot for the week.
First place in the tie-down roping nearly changed hands as Tim Naylor, Hancock, Maryland, tied his two calves in a combined total of 21.7seconds, just one half second behind the leading time for the week which Troy Roberto, a New Jersey roper posted on Wednesday night.
Chef Bruce Gustafson reported that the line for the barbeque beef dinners stretched nearly to the parking lot with more than 800 people being served. The last dinners for this rodeo will be served beginning at 5:00 tonight.
The 2015 rodeo will conclude with a full schedule on Saturday, including the free kids’ rodeo in the arena at 4:00 with registration one hour before. It is open to all kids eight and under with rodeo related games supervised by pro cowboys and cowgirls, who, along with the reigning Miss Rodeo New York and Miss Teen Rodeo New York, will be available for autographs and photos. The final rodeo action will start at 8:00 and will determine the cowboys and cowgirls who will get a share of the $45,000 prize money.
Additional information is available at the rodeo website www.gerryrodeo.org or by phone at (716) 985-4847 or 1=888-985-4847. All proceeds benefit the Gerry Volunteer Fire Department.