- Paul Cooley
Keith Isley To Entertain Fans
GERRY – Rodeo fans will get to see a legend in action as Keith Isley, one of professional rodeo’s most award-winning performers, is headed to the Gerry Fire Departments 76th annual PRCA rodeo to entertain rodeo fans with his skills as clown and barrel man in addition to specialty acts featuring his trained horses for four performances, August 4-7.
Isley, who makes his home in North Carolina, has been entertaining rodeo fans for more than 40 years and has collected an outstanding number of awards during his travels across the nation. He has been nominated 10 times as “PRCA Clown of the Year”, winning that honor five different years. He has also been nominated 11 times as the “Coors Man in the Can” for his performances in helping to protect the cowboys from his barrel during the bull riding event and has been given that award on six occasions, including as recently as last year.
Other honors include being named “Comedy Act of the Year” five times and “Specialty Act of the Year” nine times in national competition. He was chosen as the “Barrel Man” at the National Finals Rodeo, the Word Series of rodeo in 2009 and has performed seven times at the First Frontier Circuit Finals and five times at the Ram National Circuit Finals.
At age fifteen, Isley got started in rodeo with junior rodeos and high school rodeos, where he rode bareback broncs and bulls. That led to professional competition in those events. He then tried bullfighting where he helped protect cowboys during the bull riding event, only to discover that a number of rodeos needed a clown, and he reluctantly began filling in. At the time, he says he was rather shy and was intimidated by the crowds, but he found that the baggy pants and makeup provided a comfort shield. He began adding to his performances with trick roping and animal acts. The result has been a long and successful career as one of rodeo’s top performers.
After his extensive career of traveling across the nation, Isley says he is beginning to cut back on the numbers of rodeo invitations he accepts, with Gerry being one of only twenty he will be doing this year. He adds that this is far from what he has done in the past years, as he recalls one year in which he left home in March and never got back home for even one day until October.
Isley notes that his performances are never the same as he has a wide variety of acts and often involves spectators chosen from the stands. He says that he had never been to Gerry until two years ago and is anxious to again be a part of this historic rodeo, which he terms “old school” rodeo where the fans are close to the action.
The rodeo is sponsored by the Gerry Volunteer Fire Department as their only fund-raising venture of the year. The four performances begin nightly at 8:00, Wednesday through Saturday, August 4-7, in their arena five miles north of Jamestown, New York. The event also features the traditional barbeque beef dinners served each evening beginning at 5:00 in their air-conditional dining room, as well as a lighted midway with more than 20 vendors offering everything from cotton candy to Western wear.
Additional information and presale tickets are now available online at the rodeo website www.gerryrodeo.org or by phone at (716) 985-4847 or 1-888-985-4847. Tickets may also be purchased at the Exit 12 KwikFill just north of Jamestown or at the Country Fair stores in Gerry or Fredonia.