16/05/2023 0
Dawson Hay claims the title in the Battle of the Best event

Dawson Hay's win Saturday began six years ago. His father Rod Hay, a 20-time National Finals Rodeo qualifier, transitioned from competition into raising bucking horses in Wildwood, Alberta. In 2017, Hay sold a prized horse that has become a regular in Las Vegas. That stock's name? Wall Street, now owned by Four Star Rodeo.

"It is a cool story with that horse. Before he was sold, I got on him and it was the best ride I had ever had to that point," Dawson said. "I have seen him at the NFR since, but I have dodged him in the draw. Then this season I have been on him twice."

Hay will remember both trips. At the Battle of the Best, Hay won the top prize, triumphing in the sudden-death round with an 88.5-point trip, pocketing $12,800 at the Coarsegold, Calif., event. This comes on the spurs of his top score of 91 on Wall Street at the Oakdale Saddle Club a month ago.

The Battle of the Best explains its unique stature. It boasts a field of 24 of the top saddle bronc riders. It heightens the stress, something amplified by the big pay day.

"It's a great event. I have such an appreciation for George and Tara and the Veater Financial group for putting it on. It was incredible," said Hay, who edged out Layton Green (86) and Lefty Holman (84.5). "It's something you have to work towards to get in. There are not too many places where you battle like this with this type of competition."

Hay put himself in position to win by gaining traction in the first round. He had an 88-point ride on Four Star Rodeo's Star Born.

"It's a younger horse. I saw video of him from early in the year and he really bucked. I was going in a little bit blind," Hay said. "But he was really good. I had my balance, and everything worked out."

Hay comes from a rodeo family. His brother Logan is also a top saddle bronc rider. Both boys played hockey growing up. Logan reached upper levels of the minor leagues, and Dawson remains an avid fan of the Edmonton Oilers. He misses the skates, but a look in the mirror explains why he chose the right sport.

"We are just too small. Hockey players are all taller than 6-feet and weigh at least 180 pounds. We are built more like jockeys," Dawson said with a laugh. "I love what I do. I guess I kind of like living on the edge a little bit. There are not a ton of jobs available with this kind of lifestyle. And you get to be your own boss and be a little wild."

Courtesy of: PRCA