Gay and Mauney make drive through Hurricane Florence

By: Justin Felisko
September 15, 2018

Gage Gay made the drive to the Atlantic City Invitational from his home in Staley, North Carolina. Photo:

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. – Gage Gay is no stranger to hurricanes.

Gay can remember growing up in Florida and hunkering down during hurricane season prior to moving to Staley, North Carolina, when he was 12 years old.

“I have been sitting in my house before listening to the tin peeling off the roof,” Gay recalled.

The 24-year-old understands the severity and danger factors that come with any hurricane, and his thoughts and prayers are with all of those currently affected by Hurricane Florence in the Carolinas this weekend.

The North Carolina resident made the 500-mile drive north to New Jersey for this weekend’s Atlantic City Invitational and said that he was able to escape the bulk of the storm in time.

“It was a little windy and rainy in spots, but it wasn’t that bad,” Gay said. “We left yesterday evening about 4 o’clock and it wasn’t even raining at my house. It was windy as hell.”

Gay lives about 4 hours from the coast, but he wanted to make sure he played it safe and parked his boat and truck in the middle of a field so that no trees could fall on them. Gay believes his part of the state will get about five to eight inches of rain.

Meanwhile, two-time World Champion J.B. Mauney lives about an hour and a half west of Gay in Statesville, North Carolina.

Mauney left for Atlantic City about two hours before Gay did, and he too escaped the brunt of the storm as well.

“Heck, when we left yesterday to drive up here it was drizzling and not even raining yet,” Mauney said. “(My wife) Samantha was all worried about it, which I go about everything like I do bull riding. I don’t put a lot of whole thought into it. Just ride it out. I dug a few ditches across the driveway so the water would not be running off toward my barn. I called the guy that is feeding for me and he said it is raining, but it is pretty normal.”

The PBR gave out 180 tickets this weekend to evacuees that are riding out the storm in Atlantic City.

Inside the arena, Gay was bucked off by Copperhead Road in 7.6 seconds during Round 1.

Gay revealed before the event that he will need to get an MRI on his right knee this week after spraining it in the practice pen on Thursday.

He missed over six months earlier this year after he tore his ACL and MCL a week after winning the season-opening Monster Energy Buck Off at the Garden.

“(Dr.) Tandy (Freeman) thinks I might have torn some of my meniscus and maybe messed up my ACL again,” Gay said. “It was the same deal as before. I jumped off and landed on my feet. Had my brace on and everything. It is always something.”

Mauney finished in a three-way tie for second place courtesy of his 87.25-point ride on Hot Rod.

The 31-year-old earned 50 world points to move back into the Top 35 of the world standings.

Mauney heads into his Round 2 matchup against Blow Hole (0-0, PBR UTB) ranked 32nd in the world standings. He leads No. 35 Marcos Gloria by 21.66 points.

“That will work,” Mauney said. “He was up and down and right around the left. It felt pretty good.”

Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko

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