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  • Paul Cooley


Military Night was the theme for the second performance of the Gerry Volunteer Fire Department’s 72nd annual professional rodeo as special recognition was given to the members of the military who were in attendance and those serving around the world to protect our freedom. Highlighting the opening festivities was the swearing in of eight young recruits from this area into the United States Army.

The rodeo action got off to a rough start as the first bareback rider of the night, J.R. Mills from Okemos, Mississippi, was thrown from his mount and remained unconscious on the arena floor for a few minutes before regaining his feet with help from his fellow cowboys. The only qualified ride in this event was posted by Wacey Cody from San Angelo, Texas, who rode his bronc for 72.5 points, leaving him in third place for the week.

The steer wrestlers had a good night as seven of the nine cowboys posted times on their steers with Ty Rumford of Hays, Kansas, throwing his steer in 6.8 seconds for the best time of the night. This time, however, was also the third fastest of the first two days.

Ty Rumford, followed up his fast time in the steer wrestling by teaming up with Jacob Rounds, Broadalbin, New York, to score the evening’s quickest time in the team roping at 10.8 seconds. Their time, however, was beaten by two other teams on opening night. Perhaps a first for the Gerry arena occurred as a female roper, Jamie Williams, from Green Lane, Pennsylvania, teamed up with Chad Stoltzfus, Conowingo, Maryland, in this event, but they were unable to complete the task of roping both the head and hind legs of their steer.

The competition in the saddle bronc event was very slim as four of the cowboys, who were scheduled to compete were traveling together, missed their flight from Kansas, leaving only Tyler Sebben, of Canaan, Connecticut, in the event. He failed to post a qualified ride.

The fastest time in the tie-down roping went to Zak Danison, Groveport, Ohio, who tied his calf in 10.4 seconds, which again is the third fastest time in the first two days of the four days of competition. Ty Rumford, competing in his third event of the night, had some trouble with his calf and posted a time of 19.3 seconds.

The ladies’ barrel race again provided the closest competition with five cowgirls completing the cloverleaf circuit is less than 15 seconds and separated by less than half a second. The fastest time was by veteran Joyce Stoltzfus, Peach Bottom, Pennsylvania, at 14.61, followed closely by her nineteen-year-old daughter Karly Stoltzfus at 14.72. Again the pattern of being third best followed in this performance as the best time tonight was beaten by two cowgirls on opening night.

The bulls of the Painted Pony Championship Rodeo’s herd again came out angry and active and continued their two night shutout of the cowboys as there were no qualified rides. Kade Kressman, Bascom, Florida, the last rider of the night, excited the crowd as he looked like he would break the shutout, only to be bucked off at the 7.7 second mark of the required eight seconds. For the week the score now reads: Bulls 13, Cowboys 0.

World champion trick rider Haley Ganzel displayed her amazing riding skills as she rode two horses simultaneously and put them over jumps and circled them around flaming torches. Rodeo clown Matt Tarr had a fun time entertaining the crowd with kids he brought from the stands, while announcer Greg Simas, who works more than 100 events a year, did his usual great job of keeping the action moving while educating the fans about the sport of rodeo.

Paula Gustafson, the kitchen manager, reports than more than 800 of the barbeque beef dinners were sold this night. The dinners will continue to be served both Friday and Saturday beginning at 5:00. The rodeo action begins at 8:00 both nights as the nearly 200 cowboys and cowgirls compete to take home a share of the $45,000 to be won this week.

Additional information is available at the rodeo website or by phone at (716) 985-4847 or 1-888-985-4847.

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