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  • Paul Cooley

Gerry Rodeo News - February 2024

Many said it was a crazy idea when a rodeo was suggested in 1945 as a money raising event for the newly formed Gerry Fire Department, but 79 years later those doubters have been proven wrong as last summer’s 78th consecutive year of professional rodeo was one of the best yet. Here are some of the highlights during and since that August event:

The weather was great for all four nights as more than 11,000 fans crowded through the gates for the eight action-packed rodeo events in the arena, while over 3000 beef barbeque dinners were served. The competition saw 235 competitors travel from 32 states and Brazil to vie for a record $50,000 in prize money.

One of the biggest surprises in years occurred when eight-time World Champion tie-down roper, Joe Beaver, traveled from his home in Texas to compete in the team roping event. He said he had heard about the Gerry Rodeo and decided to “check it out”. He told rodeo chairman Tom Atwell that he was very impressed with this rodeo and that he plans to come back again for this summer’s event.

Several improvements were made prior to the rodeo. The fencing around the entire arena was replaced, assuring better visibility for the fans as well as creating improved safety for the fans, the cowboys, and cowgirls, as well as the animals involved.

The large stadium-type video board was raised serval feet to make it more visible to fans to watch replays and see the action closeup, as well as making it possible for this rodeo to be broadcast nationwide on the Cowboy Channel. The field adjacent to the arena was cleared and drained to create additional camping space for the more than 100 RV’s and camping trailers belonging to the competitors.

Painted Pony Pro Rodeo, the stock contractor for this rodeo, will be returning for the tenth year. In the meantime, they are busy putting on approximately 100 rodeo performances as far away as Florida with their outstanding stock. At the recent First Frontier Circuit Finals rodeo, which covers the original 13 colonies, their bull George’s Hotline was chosen by the cowboys as Bull of the Year, while their Goldilocks was named Saddle Bronc of the Year In addition, they had several bulls chosen to travel to Madison Square Garden in New York City for a professional Bull Riders Association event last month.

Rodeo Chairman Tom Atwell traveled to the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas in December where the Gerry Rodeo received third place in the “Best Footing” competition in the entire First Frontier Circuit. This award is given by the Women’s Professional Cowgirls Association for the rodeo committee providing the most outstanding condition of the ground in the rodeo arena to protect the horses and riders in the barrel racing event. Atwell says the award is due to a lot of hard work and the equipment provided by LandPro in Falconer.

The rodeo committee has just received word that the long-time bull fighter Phil Hussmann    is retiring from that dangerous job due to the many injuries he has received over the years protecting the bull riders from injury. The good news is that he is working on several acts and plans to return to the arena as a clown and entertainer.

Sadly, there is some bad news as Janice Rounds, who has overseen the rodeo dining hall for many years, lost her long battle with cancer shortly after last summer’s rodeo. Her years of service to the fire department were invaluable.

The rodeo committee is meeting every month and things are coming together to make this summer’s rodeo another four days of exciting rodeo action, July 31 – August 3. Additional information, including  photos, up-to-date information, and a history of the rodeo, is available on the rodeo website or by phone at (716) 985-4847.

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