- Paul Cooley
Tim O’Connell, past Gerry Rodeo champion to comete at 2020 Wranger NFR
GERRY – The Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association and the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association have announced the top 15 competitors in each of the eight traditional rodeo events at the National Finals Rodeo which begins on Wednesday of this week in Arlington, Texas, and several of those have competed recently at the annual Gerry Fire Department’s rodeo.
Heading that list is bareback bronc rider Tim O’Connell of Zwingle., Iowa, who is ranked number one in the World Rankings with nearly $123,000 in winnings this rodeo season. O’Connell has competed in Gerry two of the past three rodeos, winning the bareback event in 2017. He has qualified for the NFR on eight occasions and has won the World title three times.
Also, qualifying in the bareback event is another former Gerry competitor, Jake Brown from Cleveland, Texas, who is ranked at number 13 heading into the NFR. Another cowboy who has been to Gerry is Winn Ratliff, Leesville, Louisiana, who just missed making his first NFR appearance by less than $2000, finishing at number 16.
The Crawley brothers, Sterling and Jacobs, who have previously traveled to Gerry from their homes in Texas, to compete here, have both qualified in the saddle bronc event, with Sterling ranked number seven and Jacobs at number nine, separated by only $500. Sterling says that he is again ready to compete after suffering a severely broken leg which required surgery this past August.
On the ladies’ side, Tiany Schuster, Krum, Texas, a former Gerry barrel racer, has qualified in the number five spot at the NFR, with winnings of more than $55,000 while competing in 66 rodeos this past season.
The “tough luck” honors go to a cowboy from here in the East, Clovis Crane, Lebanon, Pennsylvania, who has been a long-time competitor in Gerry. He had a chance at qualifying for his first NFR in the All-Around Cowboy competition, an award that goes to the cowboy who makes the most money while competing in at least two events. He regularly competes in both the bareback and saddle bronc events, but has competed in up to four events in Gerry, including steer wrestling and bull riding. Unfortunately, Brown just missed qualifying, finishing at number 16.
Another name that Gerry rodeo fans will remember is that of John Barnes of the Barnes Rodeo Company who were the stock contractors for the Gerry Rodeo for 24 years. John Barnes is now the stock superintendent for the NFR, a job which puts him in charge of the care, welfare, and supervision of the more than 700 animals which come from across the nation to be a part of this competition.
The National Finals Rodeo, often termed the “World Series of Rodeo” is being held for ten days in the newly opened Globe Life Field, the home of the Texas Rangers in Arlington, Texas, where more than 2000 tons of special dirt will be hauled in to turn the baseball field into a rodeo arena for competition beginning this Wednesday, December 3, and continuing through Saturday, December 12. Prize money for this event will total approximately $10 million. Rodeo fans can view the event each evening on RFD-TV or on the Cowboy Channel.
After a one-year postponement due to the Covid-19 virus, the Gerry Volunteer Fire Department will again sponsor its rodeo for the 76th year for four performances this coming summer, August 4-7. Fans can visit the rodeo website at www.gerryrodeo.org for additional information.