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  • Paul Cooley


An angry bull has caused bull fighter Phil Hussmann to miss this summer’s Gerry Rodeo.

The familiar figure of dare-devil bull fighter Phil Hussmann will be missing from the arena when the 75thannual Gerry Rodeo opens later this month, the result of a badly broken arm suffered last week when he was attacked by a bull while trying to protect a fallen cowboy.

According to Hussmann’s wife Stacey, the injury occurred last week in a rodeo in Utica, New York, when a cowboy was thrown from his bull and Hussmann jumped between the bull and rider to distract the bull. In the process Hussmann was knocked to the ground where the bull attacked him and broke his left arm with its horn.

The break was in the upper arm, just above the elbow and was so severe that it required surgery on Tuesday with the surgeons placing two metal plates and “far too many screws” to stabilize the arm. The prognosis is that he will be out of action for about twelve weeks, meaning that he will miss a large number of the approximately 50 rodeo performances he was scheduled to work this season, including the Gerry event. Rodeo contractor Shawn Graham will be providing a substitute in Hussmann’s absence.

Injuries are not new to Hussmann as he has been doing this job for more than 20 years and has steel rods in both legs to repair breaks. He has broken his shoulder and all his fingers on both hands, and torn the ACL in both knees, along with suffering multiple concussions. However, his wife says this injury was the most painful one of his career and required an overnight stay in the hospital to control the pain. She also, added that he has no intention of giving up the sport that he loves and is looking forward to getting back into the arena sooner than the doctors have predicted.

The Hussmanns travel as a family and are parents of two boys, Jacob and AJ, ages 13 and 8, who are deeply disappointed because they call Gerry their” favorite” rodeo and were looking forward to their sixth consecutive trip here. Stacy Hussmann says the boys may still get their wish. If their dad Phil can get medical clearance to travel, the family may come as spectators to Gerry to see old friends.

The Gerry Rodeo opens its 75thconsecutive professional rodeo on Wednesday, July 31, and runs for four performances nightly at 8:00 through Saturday, August 3. It is now the longest consecutively running rodeo east of the Mississippi and more than 200 pro cowboys and cowgirls from across the nation are expected to compete for $50,000 in prize money.

To help celebrate this anniversary, the committee has signed one of rodeo’s all-time great clowns and specialty act performers in Keith Isley and will have fireworks following each night’s performance. The famous beef barbeque dinners will be served each evening beginning at 5:00 at which time the midway will open with more than 20 vendors offering everything from taffy to Western wear.

Additional information, including the history of this event which began in 1945, is available at the rodeo website www.gerryrodeo.orgor by phone at (716) 985-4847 or 1-888-985-4847.

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