Don Gay

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Donald ("Don" or "Donnie") Gay (Born September 18, 1953 in Mesquite, Texas[1]) is an American eight-time Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) world champion bull rider. His father, Neal Gay, was a well-known rodeo competitor and rodeo producer. Don was inducted into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame in 1979; his father was inducted in 1993, becoming the only father and son to receive that honor. In 2015, Don was inducted into the Bull Riding Hall of Fame. Don retired from professional rodeo in 1989.

Early life[edit]

Born to Neal Gay and Evelyn "Cookie" Foster, he was only a year old when his mother died of leukemia. Neal then married Kay Gay, who raised Don and his brother Pete as her own. Don grew up in Mesquite, Texas, and started rodeo at age 6. His father ran the Mesquite Rodeo which still operates today. He used Mesquite to perfect his skills on both bulls and broncs.[2]

Rodeo career[edit]

Gay got his PRCA permit shortly after graduating high school and began traveling the rodeo circuit.[2] He soon got his pilot's license and began flying himself to rodeo events in a private plane.[3] Don Gay won almost every major rodeo in the country at some point during his career. He won the first of 8 world titles in 1974. He would go on to win in 1975, 1976 and 1977. His next four titles came in 1979, 1980, 1981 and 1984. The record of 8 world titles in bull riding still stands.[1][4] Don retired from professional rodeo in 1989.[5]

Post rodeo career[edit]

Since 2002, Gay has been the general manager of Frontier Rodeo Company, providing livestock to professional rodeos and bull riding events across the United States. He also does live announcing at a number of them. He has also done commentary for televised rodeo and bull riding events.[6] Since 2018, he has provided commentary for the Tuff Hedeman Bull Riding Tour (THBRT) on the Cowboy Channel.[7] From the 1980’s to 2000’s, Gay was a commentator for the Mesquite Championship Rodeo when the weekly event was televised.[citation needed] He also provided commentary for Professional Bull Riders (PBR) big-league events on TNN from 1994 to 2001,[6] PRCA Xtreme Bulls big-league events on ESPN from 2003 to 2010 and Great American Country (GAC) from 2011 to 2013 and also Championship Bull Riding (CBR) big-league events on GAC from 2009 to 2010.[6] From 2003 to 2017, Gay also provided commentary for the bull riding during the live telecasts of the National Finals Rodeo (NFR) each December.[8] Starting in 2011, he began running his own semi-professional bull riding organization, the Don Gay Bull Riding Tour (DGBRT), which sanctioned events annually across the United States. In 2016, this organization was renamed the Rank Bull Rider Tour.[9] After its 2017 finals event, the Rank Bull Rider Tour became defunct.[9]

Legacy[edit]

Don was inducted into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame in 1979; his father was inducted in 1993, becoming the only father and son to receive that honor.[10][11][1][5] In 1997, he received the PBR Heroes and Legends Celebration: Ring of Honor.[4] In 2015, Don was inducted into the Bull Riding Hall of Fame.[12] In 2007 Gay was inducted into the Texas Rodeo Cowboy Hall of Fame[13] along with his brothers Pete and Jim.[14] In 2006, the ProRodeo Hall of Fame created the Legends of ProRodeo award which is awarded annually. Again, Don and his father are the only two son and father combo to receive this award.[15] Don received it in 2013, and Neal received in 2016. The award is given to individuals who have retired from participating in the sport of rodeo but have tirelessly continued to contribute to the sport afterwards.[16]

Honors[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Don Gay - Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame". Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame. Retrieved 4 December 2016.
  2. ^ a b "Collected Wisdom: Donnie Gay", November 30, 2008, accessed March 31, 2010
  3. ^ Applebome, Peter (12 February 1986). "RODEO, NEW STYLE: BOXES FOR $10,000". The New York Times. Retrieved 13 November 2013.
  4. ^ a b c "Professional Bull Riders - Ring of Honor: Donnie Gay". Professional Bull Riders. Retrieved 4 December 2016.
  5. ^ a b "Famed bullrider Don Gay still a big part of rodeo". TimesRecordNews. Archived from the original on September 5, 2008. Retrieved 4 December 2016.
  6. ^ a b c "Don Gay". Frontier Rodeo Company. frontierrodeocompany.com. Retrieved December 7, 2018.
  7. ^ "8-Time World Champion Don Gay Joins El Paso THBRT Broadcast Team". Tuff Hedeman Bull Riding. Retrieved December 7, 2018.
  8. ^ "Lubbock gets look at 4-time world champion Sage Kimzey". Lubbock Avalanche. Retrieved December 7, 2018.
  9. ^ a b "Rank Bull Rider Tour". www.facebook.com. Retrieved 14 August 2017.
  10. ^ "MCR History 90's". Mesquite Championship Rodeo. Archived from the original on August 9, 2011. Retrieved 4 December 2016.
  11. ^ a b "Neal Gay - Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame". Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame. Retrieved 4 December 2016.
  12. ^ a b "The Bull Riders - Class of 2015". The Bull Riding Hall of Fame. Retrieved 18 January 2017.
  13. ^ a b "Texas Rodeo Cowboy Hall of Fame: Past Inductees". www.texasrodeocowboy.com. Retrieved 17 May 2017.
  14. ^ Texas Rodeo Cowboy Hall of Fame Inductees, accessed December 4, 2016
  15. ^ a b "Legends of ProRodeo - Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame". Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame. Retrieved 17 May 2017.
  16. ^ "Legends of ProRodeo - Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame". Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame. Retrieved 4 December 2016.
  17. ^ "Texas Sports Hall of Fame: Texas Sports Hall of Fame". www.tshof.org. Retrieved 17 May 2017.
  18. ^ "Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame | Fort Worth Texas". texascowboyhalloffame.org. Retrieved 17 May 2017.
  19. ^ "Rodeo Hall of Fame Inductees". National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. Retrieved 5 June 2017.
  20. ^ "Walk of Fame - Molalla Area Chamber of Commerce,OR". www.molallachamber.com. Retrieved 17 May 2017.

External links[edit]