- Paul Cooley
GRAHAMS ARE RETURNING TO GERRY RODEO
GERRY - For Shawn and Shana Graham, owners of Painted Pony Championship Rodeo and contractors for the Gerry Fire Department’s 73rd annual rodeo, August 2-5, rodeo has been a passion for their entire lives.
Shana was raised on a thoroughbred horse farm near Warrensburg, NY, where she was active in 4H. Following high school she began competing in barrel racing and break away roping. This led her to a job in the office at Painted Pony Rodeo in Lake Lucerne. Meantime, Shawn was attending rodeos at Painted Pony, where his father was one of the original rodeo clowns in the 70’s. Shawn also competed as a bull rider and saddle bronc rider.
In 2001 Jack McCue, the owner of Painted Pony Rodeo, decided to sell, and Shawn, who was buying and leasing bulls to various rodeos, took a “big step” and became the new owner. Although Shana and Shawn had attended the same high school, they were not well acquainted, but a romance developed at Painted Pony, and they were married in 2004.
Together they have made great strides in developing their rodeo business. They currently have their home site in Lake Lucerne, where they hold three rodeo performances a week from July 4th through Labor Day and serve a Texas style barbeque as a part of each performance. In addition, they have branched out to produce more than 40 rodeos each year with their travels taking them from Maine to Florida to Las Vegas. They now own more than 100 horses, 50 bulls, as well as calves and steers, bringing their total to nearly 300 head of stock.
Their love for rodeo has carried over to their three children, who travel with them and will be here in Gerry for the week. Gabby, 11 years old, has been named Lil’ Miss Rodeo New York and is already seriously training as a barrel racer. Lexi is nine and holds the title of the first Lil’ Miss Painted Pony. She is also involved in barrel racing. The youngest, Trevor, is seven and has his sights set on being a rodeo competitor as he recently rode his first calf in an event for young cowboys.
The Graham family and their stock will roll into Gerry for the eighth year with four performances scheduled for Wednesday through Saturday, August 2- 5 at 8:00 PM in the arena six miles north of Jamestown on Route 60. Approximately 200 pro cowboys and cowgirls are expected to vie for $45,000 in prize money The traditional beef barbeque dinners will be served each evening beginning at 5:00 in the air-conditioned dining hall. This is now the longest consecutively running rodeo east of the Mississippi with all proceeds benefitting the Gerry Volunteer Fire Department.
Additional information is available at the rodeo website www.gerryrodeo.org or by phone at (716) 985 4847 or 1-888-985-4947.
Photo: The Graham family will again be the stock contractors for the 73rd annual Gerry Rodeo. Clockwise from top left: Shana, Shawn, Gabby, Lexi, and Trevor.