GERRY – For 76 years, Gerry’s Volunteer Fire Department has brought the exciting entertainment of professional rodeo action to the area, but a 24-hour run once again underscored the importance of the funds raised by the rodeo then that the volunteers responded to five calls – three EMS, a car fire and a fire in the welfare structure. Tom Atwell, rodeo president, adds that supporting rodeo fans helps volunteers in the department help them out when needed.
Despite these emergency appeals, the Thursday night edition of this 76th annual event opened with clear skies in front of a second consecutive near-capacity crowd and featured a patriotic ceremony where the military and first responders were honored by a special tribute from announcer Greg Simas, followed by the swearing-in of nine young recruits in the United States Army. Simas then led the fans in a prayer, with fans joining Katie Meadows in singing the national anthem.
The action kicked-off bronc riding event saw a villain “wreck” as Grant Worthington, dropped his bronc and landed on him. A number of his competitors rushed to lift the horse off him, only to see him slowly come back to his feet. Fortunately, the horse came out unscathed and the judges remade Worthington mounted another horse to score 52 points. Tim Kent of Chambersburg, Pa., Won the final, scoring 72 points on a horse named Diablo.
The steer wrestlers struggled because the steers brought into the competition were very big and fast. The result was that only two of the 12 competitors were able to pitch their steers, with JC Duncan of Hazel, Ky., Taking first on the night at 10.5 seconds, followed by Chad Stoltzfus of Conowingo, Md., Posting a time of 15, 6.
The team’s 14 pairs of rope access technicians had a very close competition with the top two teams separated by just six tenths of a second. Quadruple qualifier Kevin Daniel of Franklin, Tennessee, and his partner, Adam Plyler of Pageland, South Carolina, roped their steer’s horns and hind legs in the fastest time of the week in 6.0 seconds. They were followed at 6.6 seconds by two cowboys from Pennsylvania, Waylon Cameron of Oxford and Scott Brown of Mount Joy.
Cowgirls seem to be in trouble “Learn the basics” in their new event as only Carol Ann Nieratko of Allentown, New Jersey managed to rally her calf with a time of 5.1 seconds, placing second behind Sierra Ellsworth of Hudson Falls’ time of 3.7 in the opening night.
Only two tie-down stringers have succeeded with stringing veteran JR Myers of Felton, Pa. – who is the No. 1 ranked string in the First Frontier Circuit – wrapping and tying his calf in 11.7, only to see a late entry Scott Brown of Mount Joy, Pa., Post at the same time.
The cowgirl barrel showdown was once again hotly contested with 10 of the 12 ladies posting times under 16 seconds, led by Ronda Casey of Plymouth, Indiana, the reigning 2019 champion here in Gerry, clocking 14, 98. Christina Mulford, of Franklinville, New Jersey, was only a hundredth of a second behind at 14.99.
Due to three cowboy injuries on opening night, the number of riders was reduced and the Bulls continued to dominate by quickly throwing the seven competitors to the area floor, which resulted in no qualified rides for the first two nights. That means any bull rider who succeeds over the next two nights can bring in big bucks and a Montana Silversmith belt buckle.
Chef Bruce Gustafson and his dozens of volunteers report that they had one of their busiest nights with the BBQ Beef Dinners, serving a possible rodeo record of over 900 dinners. Dinners will be served this evening and Saturday evening from 5 to 8. The halfway will also be open at the same time.
A recent addition to the festivities comes from Dave Warren Chrysler-Jeep-Ram of Jamestown, one of the main sponsors of the rodeo, offering a chance for any adult fan who brings two or more non-perishable foods to the door to win $ 500 each. night . The food will be distributed to food banks in Chautauqua County.
On Saturday there will be a rodeo for kids ages 3-8 at 4 p.m. in the rodeo arena where kids will play rodeo-related games supervised by professional cowboys and cowgirls. Prizes will be awarded to the best dressed little cowboys and cowgirls. Registration is at 3 p.m. at the rodeo office. Children must be accompanied by an adult.
The rodeo continues at 8pm today and Saturday with over 240 professional cowboys and cowgirls competing in eight rodeo events for $ 50,000 in prizes – bareback riding, saddle riding, steer wrestling, tether rope, team rope, barrel race, rope escape and bull riding always dangerous. Comedian Keith Isley, one of the most award-winning performers in rodeo history, is also featured. Competitors and rodeo performers will be available for a photo op and autograph near the ticket gates after each performance. Additional information is available on the rodeo’s website at www.gerryrodeo or by phone at 716-985-4847 or 1-888-985-4847.