FORT WORTH, Texas – Saddle bronc rider Dawson Hay made the most of an opportunity at the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo, Saturday night.
The Canadian cowboy who replaced Jesse Wright in the finals won with a rodeo-record-tying, 91-point ride on Calgary Stampede’s Zena Warrior before a sellout crowd of 9,300 at the new Dickies Arena.
“This is an amazing rodeo and I was really bummed at first when I didn’t quite get into the short go,” said Hay, 21. “Then when I got in, the amount of great horses that were here you could win on any of them. When I saw the draw (Friday night) and saw my name up against that horse again I was excited because I knew I had a chance to win it.”
Hay matched the Fort Worth saddle bronc riding record of 91 points set by Cody Wright in 2011. The last time Hay rode Zena Warrior was at RodeoHouston last year when he had an 89-point ride to finish third in the finals March 16.
The top eight contestants in each event competed in Saturday’s championship round.
“That horse (Zena Warrior) is so droppy and so strong, and about two seconds into the ride I about stubbed my toe there and had my feet in my saddle, but I was able to get sat back down and make the whistle,” Hay said. “That’s one of my favorite rides ever now.”
Hay departed Fort Worth after earning $23,080, which left him smiling.
“It’s incredible,” Hay said. “It’s awesome to see how many of these rodeos are upping their money and making it so you can make an honest living riding broncs nowadays doing what we love.”
This was the first time Calgary Stampede brought stock to the historic Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo.
“Calgary Stampede has some of the best horses in the whole world, and I even thought that horse (Zena Warrior) maybe would (win horse of the 2019 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo), and I’m sure he has some in his future,” said Hay, of Wildwood, Alberta. “Getting to see these horses at all the rodeos and getting to see them from when they are really young until they are in short rounds is cool. To be able to have Canadian stock contractors who have such incredible stock is awesome.”
A year ago, Hay made his Wrangler NFR debut. He earned $97,436 in Las Vegas, highlighted by his Round 6 win with an 88.5-point ride on Mo Betta Rodeo’s Sue City Sue. He finished seventh in the 2019 PRCA | RAM World Standings with $197,747.
Hay is the son of standout saddle bronc rider Rod Hay, a 20-time Wrangler NFR qualifier – 1989-90, 1992-2008, 2010.
“My dad taught me everything I know,” Dawson said. “I’m a goal setter for sure. Last year, my main goal was to make the NFR, and this year my main goal is I want to go into the NFR in the top five. I just need to keep getting on and keep drawing these good horses.”
The rodeo saw a number of Fort Worth records fall. Bareback rider Tilden Hooper set a rodeo record with his 91.5-point ride on Calgary Stampede’s Agent Lynx. The record was 90 points shared by Gary Tucker (1973) and Jason Jeter (2004). Also, barrel racer Hailey Lockwood’s time of 16.30 seconds was an arena record.
Other winners at the $1,079,496 Fort Worth rodeo were steer wrestler Jacob Talley (4.0 seconds); tie-down roper Tyler Milligan (8.4 seconds); team ropers Clay Ullery/Jake Edwards (4.9 seconds); and bull rider Brady Portenier (90 points on J Bar J Pro Rodeo’s Little Hoot).
Courtesy of PRCA