GERRY, NY (WNY News Now) – The Gerry Rodeo had its grand opening for the season Wednesday evening, complete with great food, exciting events, and fun for the whole family.
The rodeo is not only a way for athletes to showcase their talents by bull-riding and lasso-throwing, but it also helps out the local fire department.
“It’s very important because we are here on a busy highway, Route 60, and we have a nursing home as well, so we answer about 300 calls a year,” said media coordinator Paul Cooley. “Anytime anyone wants to help the fire department, we’re always looking for new volunteers, you can start at age 14 as a junior firefighter, work your way up so we’ll take anybody because we’re short.”
The idea for the Gerry Rodeo originated many years ago.
“This is something that started way back in the 1940’s when somebody moved here from out west and suggested that we have a rodeo. Everybody thought he was crazy, everybody in the fire department said he was crazy. Anyway, in a short time they rented some bleaches from the schools, they rented some portable lights, put them up, and it went for six days, and here we are 78 years later,” said Cooley.
The beloved rodeo is a professional event.
“We love this rodeo because it just brings the town together, we have 150 volunteers that do this and this is a professional rodeo. Every competitor who is here, and there are 215 of them that are here from 24 states, we have six from Brazil who are here riding broncs and bulls,” Cooley explained. “A lot of people don’t know this, you have to pay a fee from 50 to 150 dollars to enter depending on what their event is, so as a result if they don’t win some money, they pay their expenses, their travel and their entry fee and they go home with nothing, so this is the real athletic sport, these people do it because they love it.”
Out of the many events to watch, Cooley has a favorite.
“As far as the rodeo is concerned, I love the bull riding. Tonight we have an extra number of bull riders, there’s 15 of them going out tonight so that’s a lot of fun. It’s dangerous but it’s my favorite,” Cooley said.
The rodeo features several events this year from barrel racing to steer wrestling, and of course bull riding. The Gerry Rodeo will continue through Saturday August 5th, with a barbeque beginning at 5 p.m each night, and the rodeo itself beginning at 8 p.m