Behind the Chutes: Mike and Dana Lee became Favorites in NY

Mike Lee was making his final turn around the corner on the Madison Square Garden dirt when he pointed his finger high in the air in celebration on Saturday night.

The New York crowd was on its feet cheering as the 2004 World Champion finished off his celebration of his 88.75-point ride on King Buck during the 15/15 Bucking Battle.

Throughout the course of the three-day event, Lee became somewhat of a hometown favorite with his wife Dana Lee being born and raised on Long Island.

“I was so excited for him because he was having a hard time getting older and thinking, ‘Can I still ride? Can I not still ride?’ I still believe in him so much. When he feels (the crowd) and you see him ride you know what he is feeling afterwards. I am just so happy for him and you know he has that passion and drive.”

Mike placed fourth in the 15/15 Bucking Battle and earned 60 points toward the world standings. The Decatur, Texas, bull rider is ranked 16th in the world.

Dana was the subject of a profile in the New York Daily News last week and she had CBS and CBS Sports Network cameras zoomed in on her whenever Lee nodded his head at the Monster Energy Buck Off at the Garden.

“Yeah, it is very weird,” she admitted. “I am very used to being in the background and taking the pictures and not being in the pictures. They just wanted to know how we met.”

Dana met Mike at Johnny Utah’s following the 2011 Built Ford Tough Series event in New York and they eventually got married in 2012.

Therefore, New York is always a special place for the two to return to. Their first date was at TGI Fridays and they make it a habit to return to their favorite restaurant whenever they return to New York.

“We love Fridays,” Dana said. “It’s only been four years (since they met), but it (feels like) it has been so much longer.

“He is my best friend and I am his best friend and we will support each other in every decision.”

Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko.

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