Meet The Member Jerry Berentis

by Rodeo News

story by Siri Stevens

Jerry Berentis grew up in Maybell, Colorado, riding bucking horses. “Whenever you start riding bucking horses it’s every rough stock riders dream to become a stock contractor – I got lucky enough to let it happen. My folks didn’t like rodeoing very much. I went to one with my friend when I was 16 and got on a bull and got lucky and made the whistle. I rode him and I was kinda hooked.” His friends told his parents. “They didn’t know if they should be mad at me our proud of me.”
A year out of high school, Jerry was running up and down the road going to rodeos, and he was drafted (1967). He served two years in the Army. “I went to college for a couple years for Business Administration – I got a lot better at school after the Army.” He got married and had a couple of kids. “I worked in construction – I had a general contractors license.”
He sold his construction business in 1982 which gave him seed money for his bucking horses and Berentis Rodeo Company. “I spent all the money I made buying bucking horses and I’ve been broke ever since.” Dale Haskins and Mike Harding put some horses together to sell and Jerry was the only guy that showed up, so he bought all of them. He moved the company to Fruita. Snowball was in that first bunch. “He was the horse that put us on the map – he was a great bucking horse – he was bronc of the year in Colorado and Wyoming both. He got struck by lightning in 1995.”
The first deal he got was the weekly rodeo in Steamboat. “The second year on that deal, I bought some bulls to go with the horses and then it became full time.” Jerry put on several Colorado Pro Rodeos “This year’s been kind of tough, but for the most years I’m going every weekend – we start with the college rodeos and go to Wyoming for Encampment, Walden and pretty busy from then on. On a normal year we’ve got the Carbondale Wild West rodeo (Thursday) – that starts in June. Fruita Rimrock Series (Tuesday)– I’ve got both of them.”
Jerry runs on 120 acres that Brice owns – Brice is Jerry’s son and is in line to take the company over when Jerry retires. Brice is married to Bandy, who helps with timing, feeding, whatever needs to be done. “I’ve tried to give it up once or twice, but nobody does it the same way I want it done. We’re all after the same end product, but I want it my way. It’s a lifestyle that you get addicted to.” Along with Brice, there are a lot of friends that are there helping. “It’s about having good relationships with people – without it this wouldn’t be possible.” His daughter was involved in it for a few years until she got married. “She’s still around, but she’s not involved in the production side.”
The guy that really helped me was Pat Mantel (7 11 Rodeo) – he’s been gone a long time – but he was my mentor. He was a big part of my success.
Jerry’s wife (Renee Hern) of 22 years passed away four years ago. “She was a timer and was a big part of this – a great supporter.”
“You don’t sleep much in the summer, but winter it slows down.” Winter finds Jerry throwing hay over the fence, working on sponsors, trading and trying to improve the herd. “It’s kind of like owning a dairy, you’ve got to be there every day to feed. I want to keep putting on rodeos as long as I can and be involved as long as I can.” At 72, he’s slowing down a little bit.”

                © Rodeo Life Media Corporation | All Rights Reserved • Laramie, Wyoming • 307.761.9053

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