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Gerry Rodeo alumni competing at nationals beginning Wednesday

Submitted Photo Bareback bronc rider Tim O’Connell, a recent winner at the Gerry Rodeo, is the top bronc rider headed into the National Finals Rodeo this week.

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 Wednesday 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 No. 1 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 No. 13 heading into the NFR. Another cowboy who has been to Gerry is Winn Ratliff of Leesville, Louisiana, who just missed making his first NFR appearance by less than $2,000, finishing at No. 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 No. 7 and Jacobs at No. 9, separated by only $500. Sterling says that he is again ready to compete after suffering a severely broken leg which required surgery in August.

On the ladies side, Tiany Schuster of Krum, Texas, a former Gerry barrel racer, has qualified in the No. 5 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 of Lebanon, Pennsylvania, who has been a longtime 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 No. 16.

Another name that Gerry rodeo fans will remember is that of John Barnes of the Barnes Rodeo Company which was 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 10 days in the newly opened Globe Life Field, the home of the Texas Rangers in Arlington, Texas, where more than 2,000 tons of special dirt will be hauled in to turn the baseball field into a rodeo arena for competition, beginning Wednesday and continuing through Dec. 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 Aug. 4-7, 2021. Fans can visit the rodeo website at www.gerryrodeo.org for additional information.

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