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  • Paul Cooley


The love for America was featured in the opening ceremonies of the second performance of the Gerry Volunteer Fire Department’s 71st annual PRCA rodeo as members of the military and firefighters were honored for their service to their country, both at home and around the world. Highlighting the event was the administration of the oath of office for ten new recruits into the United States Army, followed by the presentation of the colors by the honor guard of the Vietnam Vets of America and a stirring rendition of the National Anthem by Sgt. Keith Stam, a native of Gerry.

The rodeo action kicked off with the bareback bronc event, but the cowboys found the going tough as there was only one qualified ride, a 70 point outing by Wacey Cody of San Angelo, Texas, far behind the outstanding ride of Jake Brown, Hillsboro, Texas, who scored 86 points on Wednesday night. The horses didn’t fare so well in the saddle bronc event as there were four qualified rides with Keith Brauer, Jr. posting a score of 73 for the second highest score of the week. He was followed closely by Kirk Nelson, Branson, Missouri, at 70 points.

The steer wrestling featured eight cowboys successfully throwing their 600 pound steers to the arena dirt, but only one man, Bob Loosenort from Hazel, Kentucky, was able to throw his steers in both go-rounds, to place first on the night with times of 5.0 and 6.8 for a total 11.8 seconds.

The Painted Pony Rodeo’s outstanding bulls were in top form on a cool night as no one was able to stay aboard for the required eight seconds, much different from opening night action when half of the cowboys rode their bulls, led by an 82 score by Freeman Yoder from Iowa aboard a bull named Blue Canyon.

Both the tie-down ropers and the team ropers had a tough night, perhaps due to the cool, damp air. Among the tie-down ropers, no was able to post a time on both calves, but Kadin Boardman, Jackson, Missouri, tied for the best time on the week with a 9.7 second outing. Only two teams in the team roping event were able to be successful in both go-rounds as two Pennsylvania cowboys, Jimmy Healy from West Grove and Joe Williams from Green Lane posted a very fast 5.9 second go-round time to place first for the evening at 19.3 seconds.

Close competition was the name of the game in the barrel racing as there were eight cowgirls who circled the cloverleaf course within one-half second of each other with the top time of 15.26 seconds going to Jill Matson, who traveled with her horse from Hope Valley , Rhode Island. She still was short of Robin Weaver’s time of 14.94 posted on opening night.

The crowd was again treated to the humor of rodeo clown Rockin’Robbie Hodges, who spent a lot of time in the stands interacting with fans. In addition, fifteen-year-old Cooper Nastri brought the crowd to its feet with one of the most impressive trick and fancy roping exhibitions ever performed in Gerry.

Chef Bruce Gustafson reported another excellent night in the dining hall as nearly 800 people came through the lines for the beef barbeque dinners. The dinners will be served again tonight and Saturday beginning at 5:00.

The rodeo action has two performances remaining in the 2015 event, tonight at 8:00 with the final show on Saturday at 8:00 when the champions of all of seven rodeo events are named and the more than $45,000 of prize money is handed out. Rodeo chairman Tom Atwell says that some of the top cowboys in the nation will be arriving for the final two performances, including six-time world champion Cody Ohl in the tie-down roping competition.

This event is now the longest consecutively running rodeo east of the Mississippi and all proceeds benefit the Gerry Volunteer Fire Department. Additional information is available at the website or by phone at (716) 985-4847.

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