GERRY – One of the longest running rodeo’s in the nation is celebrating 75-years this week.
The Gerry Rodeo is set to kickoff Wednesday at the fire department fair grounds in Gerry. The tradition started in 1945, thanks to a man named Jack Cox.
“He moved here from out west,” said Paul Cooley, the Gerry Rodeo media coordinator told WIVB News 4. “He was a former working cowboy, and joined the fire department, suggested a rodeo, and in seven weeks they borrowed bleachers from schools, they rented lights, and they had the first rodeo. And here we are with this beautiful situation today.”
At first, Cooley said people in the town thought Mr. Cox was crazy because rodeos didn’t happen in the east. But now, the town is proud to say they have the longest consecutively running rodeo east of the Mississippi.
“There’s one that’s older, but they skipped a year,” Cooley said.
Currently preparations are underway for the town of 2,500, which will quadruple in size this week.
“If you were to come tomorrow, this would be filled with about 20 different vendors,” Cooley said, looking at the midway on the rodeo grounds.
A BBQ dinner is sold every night there, which locals will tell you they look forward to all year long.
“It’s smoked all day,” said Tom Atwell, the rodeo chairman. “It goes on between 6:30 and 7:00 in the morning, and doesn’t get pulled off the fire until 4:00 in the afternoon.”
Officials said the proceeds from the event go to the volunteer fire department in Gerry. There are 224 competitors from about 30 states that will be there. They’ll compete in seven different events, which includes bull riding and barrel racing.
Tickets for the dinner and rodeo combines are $22. For more information visit store.gerryrodeo.org.