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  • Paul Cooley


Gerry – Seven cowboys who are among the top 25 in the World rankings are among the 188 competitors from 31 states who have entered to vie for $45,000 in prize money at the 72nd annual Gerry Fire Department’s PRCA rodeo next week.

The entries are led by Tim O’Connell of Zwingle, Iowa, who currently sits atop the World rankings in the bareback competition with winnings on the year of over $97,000. He is joined in that event in Gerry by Winn Ratliff, Leesville, La., ranked #7 and Casey Coletti, also from Zwingle, Iowa, ranked #24. Rankings are based on money won during the current year.

The saddle bronc event will feature brothers Heith DeMoss and Cody DeMoss from Heflin, La., who stand at #6 and #24 respectively, along with Sterling Crawley, Stephenville, Tex., who stands at #13. Shane Proctor of Grand Coulee, Wash., is entered in that event as well as in the bull riding where he is ranked #8 with winnings of more than $57,000. Other events include steer wrestling, tie-down roping, team roping, and cowgirls’ barrel racing with 64 ladies entered.

Rodeo chairman Tom Atwell says he is pleased with the large number of entries and expects that number to exceed 200 when the deadline for late entries comes up this weekend. He adds that the fact that a number of ranked competitors are traveling to Gerry speaks well for the reputation of this event. All contestants must be members of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys’ Association or, in the case of the ladies, the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association.

The rodeo gets underway on Wednesday evening August 3 at 8:00 in the arena five miles north of Jamestown and continues nightly through Saturday, August 6. This is now the longest consecutively running rodeo east of the Mississippi and all funds raised go to the Gerry Volunteer Fire Department to support their efforts to protect and serve the area.

In addition to the competition, the event features the famous beef barbecue dinners served nightly beginning at 5:00 in the air conditioned conference center, a lighted midway with more than 20 vendors, comedy in the arena by rodeo clown Matt Tarr, nightly performances by World Champion trick rider Haley Ganzel, and a free kids’ rodeo for ages 3-8 at 4:00 on Saturday.

Additional information is available at the website or by phone at (716) 985-4847 or 1-888-985-4847.

Photo: Tim O’Connell, who is currently #1 in the World rankings in the bareback bronc riding, has entered to compete in the Gerry Rodeo next week.

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