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  • Paul Cooley


In spite of a near tragedy on her trip to Gerry NY from her home in Collinsville, Oklahoma, World Champion trick rider Haley Ganzel will be performing her death defying feats beginning Wednesday at the Gerry Volunteer Fire Department’s 72nd annual PRCA rodeo.

When Haley stopped at a truck stop in Illinois at 4:00 AM last week to let her four horses have a bit of exercise, she tied two of the horses to the back of her trailer while she took the other two for a short walk. Hearing strange noises, she turned only to see that Cricket, her star trick riding horse, had somehow got his lead rope tangled around his neck and had fallen and was choking to death.

Haley had never carried a knife with her before, but miraculously, shortly before she left home, a friend had given her a knife which she put into the cab of her truck. By the time she sprinted to the truck to retrieve the knife, Cricket had become very still and she feared for the worst. She cut him loose and within a few minutes, he was able to stand and is ready to perform in spite of a few scrapes and bruises.

Haley says she prayed through the whole frightening event and gives credit to God for the gift from a friend which saved the life of the horse she has trained for so long.

Haley’s performance is part of this annual four night event in Gerry, which begins at 8:00 Wednesday and continues through Saturday. More than 200 professional cowboys and cowgirls from 31 states are competing for $45,000 in prize money in the seven traditional rodeo events. The famous beef barbeque dinners will be served each evening beginning at 5:00.

All proceeds benefit the Gerry Volunteer Fire Department. Additional information is available at the website or by phone at (716) 985-4847 or 1-888-985-4847.

Photo: World champion trick rider Haley Ganzel will be appearing all four nights of the 72nd annual Gerry Rodeo, August 3-6.

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