SAN ANTONIO – At 18, saddle bronc rider Logan Hay had an experience straight out of a Jack London novel.
Suffering multiple injuries while taking aim at a rodeo career, the Wildwood, Alberta, teenager stashed his saddle and rope and instead geared up to head for the Yukon.
The Canadian cowboy trekked into some of the deepest forest and mountains in the Great White North to get away from rodeo. He became a guide for a hunting company, leading hunts for sheep, moose and caribou.
From the end of July through the end of September that year, Hay went without running water. Possibly more amazing than no running water was that Hay had no cell phone, seemingly a necessity for his generation.
By the time they led the horses 40 miles out of the mountains, there were at least two feet of snow on the ground.
“I never talked to anyone other than my hunter and my guides,” Hay said.
On Friday night, Hay guided himself into the finals of the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo for the first time after winning the second semifinals bracket at the Freeman Coliseum.
Hay posted a 90-point ride on the Cervi Brothers Wyatt Earp, a National Finals Rodeo horse. Hay is hoping to make this year his first trip to the Wrangler NFR.
“I let my body heal up,” Hay said about his guiding time. “And ever since 2017, I’ve been rodeoing non-stop.”
At the advanced age of 24, Hay is a veteran of the sport. He got his PRCA permit in 2017 at 20. A year later and he was on his PRCA card. He finished 37th in the world in 2019 and 25th last season. Hay is the older brother NFR-qualifying saddle bronc rider Dawson Hay. Their father is Rod Hay, a saddle bronc rider who qualified 20 times for the NFR (1989-90, 1992-2008, 2010).
Getting into the finals at San Antonio could help Logan climb the PRCA | RAM World Standings again. Entering San Antonio, he was outside the top 50.
“Not very good,” Hay said about the start to 2021. “I’ve only been to a few rodeos and knew I was going to be a little rusty. It hadn’t been going really well until here. But I’ve got things turned around and hopefully I’ll keep it running.”
Wyatt Earp wasn’t an easy out for Hay either. While Hay was in the chute, the horse slammed him into the railing. Seconds later, the two of them were busting out of the chute, Hay using the pain to drive him through the ride.
“The adrenaline is flowing, so it’s hard to feel much anyways,” he laughed, admitting his back was still in pain. “Honestly, it helped me a little because I got a little bit mad.”
He knew the ride was a good one.
“I was pretty pumped up,” Hay said. “I knew I rode him pretty good and had a good spur. Everything felt good. Sometimes you can’t tell how hard they’re bucking … but I figured I was going to be a few (points).”
Hay will compete in the finals Saturday night, while wild-card contestants compete Saturday afternoon at 1 p.m. (CT). Both performances will air on The Cowboy Channel and the PRCA on Cowboy Channel Plus app, which is offering a new package that includes the 2021 Wrangler NFR.
Hay is happy to be back in rodeo and not quite ready to head to the back country full time.
“It was a cool experience to do something other than rodeo,” Hay said. “I’m glad I experienced it, but I want to rodeo. That’s all I want to do.”
Courtesy of PRCA