- Paul Cooley
GERRY RODEO WRAPS UP
Perfect weather, some of the world’s best pro cowboys and cowgirls, outstanding rodeo stock, and many dedicated volunteers combined to make the 75thanniversary edition of the Gerry rodeo what rodeo officials are calling “one of the best in recent years”. This positive result led the members of the fire department to vote unanimously on Saturday to continue bringing rodeo to Gerry for at least the next five years with the 2020 dates set for August 5-8.
More than 8400 rodeo fans filed through the gates, an increase of nearly 25% over last year’s event, with the attendance topping 3000 on Saturday night. Chef Bruce Gustafson and his kitchen crew served more than 3400 meals during the four evenings.
The 200-plus competitors, who traveled from 22 states as far away as Texas and Florida as well as Quebec, Canada, competed for a record prize purse of over $67,000. Several of those were ranked in the top 20 in the world standing, included some who have held or presently hold world titles.
For the eighth consecutive year, the stock contractor, Painted Pony Championship Rodeo, out of Lake Luzerne, New York, provided outstanding stock, as well as having the responsibilities of setting up the chute and fences and overseeing the production of the rodeo. A prime example of the quality of their stock occurred on Thursday night when four-time National Finals Rodeo qualifier Jake Brown rode their bareback bronc Bad Cat for 88 points to set a new arena record.
In addition to the rodeo action, fans were treated to the antics and skills of one of rodeo’s all time great performers, Keith Isley, who has been honored by the PRCA as ‘Comedy Act of the Year’, ‘Clown of the Year’, and ‘Specialty Act of the Year’ on multiple occasions. His trained horses provided perhaps the best animal act ever in Gerry.
Keeping the fans informed and moving the show along is a special skill, and veteran announcer Greg Simas, who has traveled all over the world as a rodeo announcer, returned for his eighth year to serve as the announcer from his seat on horseback in the arena. The horse he is presently using is one in purchased while he was in Gerry last year.
Rodeo chairman Tom Atwell, now in his 15thyear in that position, says none of this would be possible if it were not for the dedication of the approximately 150 volunteers, many of whom take vacation time to fill the necessary responsibilities which vary from serving food to parking to ushering and many more jobs necessary to allow this event to occur each year. He also emphasizes the financial importance of the rodeo as all proceeds enable the fire department to provide fire and emergency services to the area.
Prize money for the rodeo comes from the Gerry Rodeo Committee, the various sponsors, and from the entry fees paid by each contestant. Following are the top three money winners in each event for the four-day event: