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  • Paul Cooley


Gerry – World champion trick rider Haley Ganzel has been signed to thrill the fans with her riding skills all four nights of the Gerry Volunteer Fire Department’s 72nd annual pro rodeo, August 3-6. In addition, she will be featuring her dancing horse Crazy Cloud, who has performed at the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas.

Twenty-one year-old Haley’s personal story is almost as remarkable as her riding feats as she was born two months premature, weighed only 2lbs 9 oz., and spent the first two months of her life in the hospital. Even after coming home, she had her life saved with infant mouth-to-mouth resuscitation by her father. The doctors predicted a very bleak future for her.

However, this tiny Oklahoma girl amazed everyone as her parents found her standing on the back of a horse on their family ranch at age four. They decided this was too dangerous for her to try alone and put her under the direction of her uncle, Shawn Brackett, a skilled trick rider. Her determination and his teaching had immediate results as she was appearing with him professionally by age five. Today she is traveling across the nation and this summer will appear in 14 states and the District of Columbia.

Haley’s act consists of a series of dangerous feats including the “death drag’ where she hangs upside down from the back of her galloping horse Cricket, whom she trained herself. In addition, she does Roman riding, performing tricks while astride the backs of two galloping horses at the same time. This past year her act took on a big addition as her mentor and uncle, Shawn Brackett, who trained Crazy Cloud and who performed at the NFR five times, decided to retire and gave her his prize dancing horse to include in her act.

Not only is Haley appearing at rodeos, but she performed as the trick rider in the movie “Cowgirls and Angels”, as well as playing the part of Rose in the film. She broke her foot in a fall part way through the filming, but was able to complete her part. Despite all the dangers, she has stayed relatively injury free with a broken arm being the only other serious accident. She gives much of the credit for her success to her family, who have always supported her career.

The Gerry Rodeo opens for four nightly performances on Wednesday, August 3 and continues through Saturday, August 6 at 8:00 PM. Approximately 225 professional cowboys and cowgirls from across the nation are expected to compete for more than $45,000 in prize money in the seven traditional rodeo events. In addition, the famous beef barbeque dinners will be served each evening beginning at 5:00, and the midway features more than 20 vendors with everything from Western wear to cotton candy. Additional information is available at the rodeo 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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