Life after Riding the Rodeo
Gerald's professional rodeo career ended by his choice when he was 46.
had quit riding bareback first because he didn't like that event as well.
He quit riding bulls on account of his bad ankle. He rode left-handed
so when he went to "step off a bull," as he put it, he had to land on
that bad ankle. Gerald adds, "actually, I was still riding bulls good
when I quit riding them, I just got to where I had a hard time getting
off without hurting my ankle so I quit riding bulls as I got older." He
continued riding saddlebroncs, his favorite event, until he was 46. "I
rode them as long as I was capable of winning and decided when I got to
the point where I'm not quite the live wire I used to be and when my spurs
don't reach quite as high, then I'd quit that event too."
a career he had . . . but that was just the first career. Gerald found
a way to incorporate his love for the sport of rodeo into his daily life
without riding those unruly animals. He opened his own manufacturing shop,
located in Abilene, Kansas and cleverly called Chap-Parel,
where he made chaps and gear bags and other accessories that a professional
rodeo cowboy uses. At 85, he still went to the shop everyday
to cut out the leather chaps he designed. Gerald originated a 9-plait bull rope
to replace the old 5-plait standard. Gerald and his wife
went on selling trips around the southern and western U.S. to western
stores and also sold their wares via a catalog and through their manufacturing
Gerald was named the first Honorary member of The Wild Bill Hickok Rodeo Committee at the Abilene, Kansas rodeo in 1999.
Gerald signing autographs for the young cowboys at the rodeo party in 1999
Gerald at the Abilene Rodeo in August 1999
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