World Champion Bull Rider, 1974-1977, 1979-1981, 1984
Born in Mesquite, Texas, in 1953, Don Gay grew up an aspiring bull rider around the Mesquite Championship Rodeo – co-founded by his father 1958. By the time he was a sophomore at Mesquite High School, he had already earned his Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association membership.
After his high school graduation in 1972, Gay quickly found success. That year, he qualified for his first National Finals Rodeo. In 1974, he went on a championship streak that still remains unbroken, winning a record eight bull-riding titles between 1974 and 1984 and earning seven titles in eight years between 1974 and 1981. During that time, Gay also broke the PRCA’s bull-riding single-season earnings for eight consecutive years between 1974 and 1981. In 1977, he won the only NFR sudden death ride-off. That same year, he also set a PRCA record for his 97-point ride on Oscar at San Francisco’s Cow Palace.
Don Gay was inducted into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame in 1979. He retired from competition a decade later, but has remained with rodeo as a bull-riding instructor and noted color commentator with ESPN and Fox Sports Net Southwest.