Skip to Content

When did Donny Gay retire?

If you’re a fan of professional rodeo or follow the sport closely, the name Donny Gay is undoubtedly familiar to you. Gay is a legendary cowboy, known for his incredible rodeo career where he won six Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) World Champion Bull Rider titles and set numerous records and milestones during his active career.

Early Life and Career Highlights

Donald Lee Gay was born on September 18, 1953, in Mesquite, Texas. Growing up, he was surrounded by rodeo – his father was a bullrider and his mother was a barrel racer. This gave Gay a natural advantage over other riders and he began honing his skills early on. He started competing at the age of 14 and earned his Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) card in 1972, at the age of just 19.

Gay’s career highlights are numerous- He became one of the youngest bull riders ever to qualify for the National Finals Rodeo (NFR), where he competed 13 times in total. He won his first world championship in 1974, and then went on to win five more in 1975, 1977, 1978, 1979, and 1984.

Aside from the world championships, Gay has also set a number of records throughout his career. He was the first bull rider to earn over $100,000 in a single season, which he accomplished in 1979. He also holds the record for the most consecutive rides at the National Finals Rodeo, completing 27 in a row at one point.

The End of an Era: Gay Retires from Professional Rodeo

Gay’s professional rodeo career spanned 17 years, during which he established himself as one of the most dominant bull riders in history. However, all good things must come to an end, and Gay officially retired from professional rodeo in 1989.

The decision to retire wasn’t an easy one for Gay. He had suffered numerous injuries throughout his career, including a broken back, broken ribs, and a punctured lung. Despite these setbacks, the cowboy continued to push himself to new heights, but ultimately had to acknowledge that his body couldn’t take the demands of the sport any longer.

Retirement didn’t mean the end of Gay’s involvement in the rodeo world, however. He went on to work as a commentator for Professional Bull Riders (PBR) events and was inducted into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame in 1979.

The Legacy of Donny Gay

Donny Gay’s impact on professional rodeo is immeasurable. His six world titles set a new standard for bull riding excellence and helped to elevate the sport to a new level of mainstream recognition.

But Gay’s legacy is about more than just his record-setting career. He was also a role model for young cowboys and cowgirls, demonstrating the hard work, dedication, and fearlessness required to succeed in rodeo. Even after his retirement, he continued to inspire and entertain audiences with his colorful commentary.

Today, Donny Gay is recognized as one of the all-time greats of rodeo. His contributions to the sport will always be remembered, and his impact will continue to be felt for generations to come.


Donny Gay’s retirement from professional rodeo marked the end of an era. He had dominated the sport for almost two decades and set new standards for excellence in bull riding. While it was a difficult decision, ultimately Gay could no longer ignore the toll that years of injury and physical exertion had taken on his body. However, his legacy in the rodeo world will continue on. Gay’s name will always be synonymous with hard work, determination, and the fearless pursuit of excellence.


Are Neal Gay and Donnie Gay related?

Based on the information provided, it appears that Neal Gay and Donnie Gay are indeed related. Neal Gay is survived by three sons, one of whom is named Donnie Gay. It is possible that Donnie Gay is Neal Gay’s biological son or a stepson. Additionally, their shared last name suggests that they are part of the same family. However, without further information or clarification, the exact nature of their relationship cannot be confirmed. It is important to note that family relationships can take various forms and may not always be defined by biology.

How many bull riding championships did Donny Gay win?

Donny Gay is considered one of the greatest bull riders of all time, having won a remarkable amount of bull riding championships throughout his career. He was inducted into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame in 1979 and his record of eight Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) bull riding championships, won consecutively from 1974 to 1984, still stands today. No other bull rider has been able to match this record thus far, making Donny Gay an iconic figure in the world of bull riding.

Gay dominated the sport of bull riding during his era and his impressive record shows just how much of a force he was. He won his first world championship in 1974 at the age of twenty, the youngest bull riding world champion in history at that time. He went on to win an additional seven championships in the decade that followed, setting records along the way. He was the first bull rider to win more than three consecutive championships, the first to surpass $1 million in career earnings, and the first to achieve the incredible feat of winning more than $100,000 in a single season.

Gay’s achievements on the bull riding arena made him a hero among fans of rodeo and the sport itself. He brought this extreme sport into the mainstream of American culture and demonstrated the incredible skill and physical prowess that goes into mastering the art of bull riding. He was renowned for his mental toughness, strategy and his ability to handle the toughest bulls in the sport. Donny Gay’s career shows the impact that a true champion can have on a sport, inspiring a generation of athletes and bringing excitement to fans around the world.

Donny Gay’s record of eight consecutive bull riding PRCA championships is an impressive feat, one that solidifies his status as one of the greatest bull riders ever. His legacy in rodeo and bull riding lives on today and his influence on the sport is undeniable. His records still stand and his achievements remain an inspiration to new generations of bull riders, bringing the world of rodeo to new heights of excitement and entertainment.

Who owns Rafter G Rodeo?

Rafter G Rodeo Company is a well-known name in the world of rodeos. The company was founded by Neal Gay, who began managing the Stock Show’s rodeo performances in 1979. He started with just five bucking horses and a small arena, but his love for the sport and dedication to excellence soon brought him success.

Over the years, the Rafter G family has expanded and become an integral part of the company’s success. Neal’s wife, Kay, has been instrumental in the business’s growth and administration, and their sons Pete, Donnie, and Jim have all played important roles in the company’s success as well. Along with their families, the entire Rafter G team is dedicated to providing top-quality rodeo entertainment.

Today, Rafter G Rodeo Company is well-known throughout the United States for its high-quality bucking horses and bulls, as well as its professional rodeo performances. The company is still owned by the Gay family and continues to be run with the same dedication to the sport of rodeo that has made it a success for over 40 years. Rafter G Rodeo Company is a testament to the hard work, dedication, and love of the sport that have made the Gay family such an important part of the rodeo community.