PUEBLO, Colo. – Attention real estate agents in North Carolina: Gage Gay is looking for a house and some land.
After winning a career-high $84,000 at the BlueDEF Finals this past weekend in Louisville, Kentucky, the inaugural BlueDEF Velocity Tour champion thinks it may just be time to move out of his parents’ home in Staley, North Carolina.
If he doesn’t, mom and dad may just be inclined to increase the rent.
It was Gay’s father, Troy, who called his son following Round 1of the BlueDEF Finals to let him know he was very much alive in the race for the BlueDEF championship and its $50,000 bonus.
“I didn’t know I had as good a chance as I did,” Gay admitted while holding his two makeshift checks inside the KFC Yum! Center. “After (Round 1), I talked with my Dad and he told me I was only 150 points behind.”
Gay then took care of business on Saturday, by riding RMEF Team Elk (86.25 points) and Legal Tender (88.5 points) to win the BlueDEF Finals event title.
He also earned a total of 360 points toward the standings to overcome BlueDEF dominator Kaique Pacheco for the championship.
Pacheco had led the BlueDEF standings for the majority of the season, but his 0-for-2 performance ended up costing him the championship on the final day of the season.
While it was a smaller deficit than last year, Gay knows that anything can happen in the world standings following his collapse last season when he saw his gigantic lead (3,428.12) atop the rookie standings get wiped out at the World Finals by eventual Rookie of the Year J.W. Harris.
“It is never over until it is over and this weekend it went my way,” Gay said. “I am happy.”
Gay earned $25,000 for winning the BlueDEF Finals and an additional $9,000 for winning first, second and third in the three rounds.
He started the weekend with a little more than $98,000 earned this season and will surpass his rookie year total of $183,000 earned last year.
All totaled, Gay earned $101,635.52 in nine BDVT events this season.
The 360 points also pushed Gay to 12th in the world standings, and he will head into next week’s Built Ford Tough World Finals with an opportunity to finish inside the Top 10 for the first time in his career.
The second-year pro is looking forward to redeeming himself following last year’s disappointing 1-for-5 performance in Vegas.
“It just gives me a lot of confidence going in there,” Gay said. “I have always done pretty horrible in Las Vegas other than Last Cowboy Standing and just getting this momentum I hope it carries over and I can win a lot more money in Vegas.”
While the Finals is a completely different animal than Louisville, Gay did admit that his championship round ride on Legal Tender carried the same kind of pressure that he remembers when attempting a long-round bull at the Finals.
Still, his ride aboard Legal Tender had greater ramifications with $75,000 on the line.
“It is unbelievable what kind of pressure is on you at World Finals, but you just have to let it pump you up and not take you down,” he said. “Vegas is always crazy. At the World Finals there is nothing like it. You can say you are not going to get nervous, but when those bombs start going off and the people start hollering you are going to be nervous.”
Gay has seemingly been making small comebacks all season long.
After being cut from the Built Ford Tough Series in March, Gay was demoted to the BlueDEF Velocity Tour and immediately won the Hampton, Virginia, event with a 3-for-4 performance.
Three weeks later, Gay, who was outside of the Top 35 of the world standings still, earned another BFTS exemption by going 2-for-2 to win the BlueDEF event in Omaha, Nebraska.
Then another two weeks later Gay went 3-for-4 in Billings, Montana, to crack the Top 30 of the world standings, and he has kept his spot on tour ever since.
“I mean earlier in the year I was nodding for them bulls and I would lose them on the first jump,” he said. “I finally realized I wasn’t keeping my chin down and being able to see them. You can’t see them if your chin is up. Once I figured that out and started keeping my chin down I started riding a whole lot more of them.”
After earning $84,000 in Louisville, Gay is ready to cash in next week in Las Vegas.
“Well, we haven’t ended the Finals yet, so I don’t know if I have had a good year yet,” he concluded. “If I have a good Finals, that would be a heck of a way to redeem myself from last year. I know I am not in the running to win a world title, so I will just go with making a boatload of money.”
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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