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  • Paul Cooley


A number of names familiar to fans of the Gerry Fire Department’s annual pro rodeo had some memorable moments at the First Frontier Circuit Finals in the sold-out 7100 seat Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg last weekend with 84 contestants vying for more than $110,000 in prize money in the seven rodeo events. The First Frontier Circuit is one 12 circuits nationwide and encompasses the original 13 colonies with the top 12 money winners qualifying for the Finals.

Last summer’s bull fighter at the Gerry rodeo, Phil Hussmann, certainly will never forget his weekend as he was hooked by a bull on Friday night, breaking his wrist. He performed again on Saturday night with his arm in a cast, only to be stepped on by Jack’s Sour Mash, Painted Pony Rodeo’s National Finals Rodeo qualifying bull, resulting in a trip to the hospital with a broken femur in his left leg. Hussmann, who has been protecting cowboys from the bulls for 18 years and who works 35-40 rodeos each season, says he will be off for a six to eight week recovery period but promises to be back to the Gerry rodeo in August.

Clovis Crane from Lebanon, Pa., who was the first cowboy ever to compete in four events at last year’s Gerry rodeo, became only the second cowboy in history to qualify for those same four events in Harrisburg on the basis of his money winnings in each event over the season. His efforts in saddle bronc, bareback, and bull riding, plus steer wrestling, earned him more than $7000 for the three day event.

The 2014 winner in the  barrel racing in Gerry, Sarah Attea from Camillus, New York, continued her outstanding season by compiling two firsts and a second on her three runs to win the event and take home more than $6000. In the bull riding two of the top three in Harrisburg, Mike Adams and John Leinaweaver, had the only qualified rides in the Gerry rodeo last year. Mike Cliver II, who was second in steer wrestling in Gerry, also placed second in Harrisburg, winning more than $3000.

For the Painted Pony Pro rodeo Company, who are returning for the fourth year as the stock contractor for the 2015 Gerry rodeo,  this was their seventh trip taking stock to the Circuit Finals as they provided 35 animals for the competition. One of the stars of the weekend was their bull, Jack’s Sour Mash, who went unridden for the weekend after returning a month ago from a 6000 mile round-trip to the nationally televised National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas.

The 2015 Gerry PRCA Rodeo is scheduled for four nightly performances, August 5-8, and is the longest consecutively running rodeo east of the Mississippi as this will be their 71st year of providing professional rodeo to the area.  Approximately 135 contestants will be competing for approximately $50,000 in prize money, the largest amount ever at this rodeo. Additional information is available at the rodeo website or by phone at (716) 985-4847 or 1-888-985-4847.

📷 Phil Hussmann, the bull fighter from the 2014 Gerry Rodeo, had his left leg broken in this collision with Painted Pony Rodeo’s NFR bull Jack’s Sour Mash at the First Frontier Finals Rodeo

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