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  • Paul Cooley


GERRY – The sport of rodeo with its early Western origins has always promoted patriotism, and that heritage was never more apparent than it was for the second performance of the 73rd Gerry Rodeo when the event honored those serving our country in the military as well as firemen, medical personnel, and law enforcement members.

Prior to the start of rodeo competition, fans witnessed the swearing into military service of eight new recruits by the Jamestown United States Army Recruiting Center. This was followed with the presentation in the arena of a 60 X 30 feet United States flag that was held above the arena floor by 26 members of the United States military while the National Anthem was sung by Jean Kent, wife of bareback rider Tim Kent.

The rodeo action produced several outstanding performances. In the bull riding, eighteen-year-old rookie, Daylon Swearingen from Pifford, New York, who turned pro only three weeks ago and had just competed in the High School Rodeo Finals a month ago, brought the crowd to their feet as he scored 82 points for the only qualified ride of the week on a Painted Pony bull named Chute Rooster.  He is already ranked fifth in the Region in bull riding and last week won both the bareback and bull riding events in Kellettville, Pennsylvania. He will be competing on a bull again in Gerry on Saturday night.

The cowgirls had an unusual competition as ageless Joyce Stoltzfus, Peach Bottom, Pennsylvania, was competing against her granddaughter, Karly Stoltzfus, McClure, Pennsylvania, with Grandma posting the fastest time on the night by circling the barrels in 15.05 seconds, besting her granddaughter by just over half a second. Two other girls broke the 16 second barrier.

In the bareback bronc event five cowboys posted scores, led by Tim Kent, Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, who scored 72 points on a bronc named Badger. His score, however, fell short of the 81 points posted on opening night by Tyler Waltz of Martin, Tennessee. Eighteen-year-old Trey Watts, Muncy, Pennsylvania, had the night’s best score in the saddle bronc event with a 69 point ride on Painted Pony Rodeo’s Trashy Trevor.

A 6.3 seconds time by Kamry Dymmek, Kissimmee, Florida, was the evening’s fastest in the steer wrestling, followed closely by another Florida cowboy, Lane Bateman of Sorrento at 6.9. Third place went to a high school principal, Burgess Ovitt, Warrensburg, New York, with a time of 7.5 seconds.

Tie-down roper D.J. Smith traveled from Hillsboro, Texas, to post the fastest time, tying his calf in 9.0 seconds. He was followed closely by Colby Clement and Chris Soto, both from Pedricktown, New Jersey, with times of 11.1 and 14.1 respectively.

The team roping events produced a new leading team for the week as Casey Hilley, Winder, Georgia, and D.J. Smith, Hillsboro, Texas, roped their steer’s horns and hind legs in a very quick 5.1 seconds. For Smith, his trip from Texas is paying off as he is now leading in two events following his earlier win in the tie-down roping.

The rodeo action continues tonight and Saturday night at 8:00 with about $50,000  in prize money still up for grabs among the 250 cowboys and cowgirls. This event is the longest consecutively running rodeo east of the Mississippi and all proceeds benefit the Gerry Volunteer Fire Department.

Fans are also reminded that the traditional beef barbeque dinners will be served both this evening and Saturday beginning at 5:00. There will also be a free kids’ rodeo on Saturday afternoon at 4:00 for kids ages 3-8.

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

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