By Heather Miner
The 23-year-old Canadian Dawson Hay went all-in on saddle bronc All or Nothing from Andrews Rodeo to pocket a check for $100,000 at The American Rodeo on March 6, 2022.
Hay started the competition strong and improved with each ride, earning a fourth place with 87.5 in the Contender Round and moving into first in the Semi-Finals with an 89.5. His final ride on the big sorrel All or Nothing lit up the scoreboard with 90.5 in the Shootout Round to beat Chase Brooks by just half a point. All or Nothing also bucked Ryder Wright into a championship buckle at The American in 2021.
Brooks and Hay were the only two of the final four bronc riders to reach the buzzer. The 2020 American champion Wyatt Casper and Ben Anderson both bucked off, leaving a photo finish for the championship. “I was pretty excited about my ride either way, and then I knew I could celebrate,” says Hay, who enjoyed watching The American on TV before he even started rodeoing. “I got to compete with really close friends. It’s an amazing rodeo, and cool to compete for that much money in a sport that not so long ago you couldn’t win that much money in.”
Bronc riding is a family legacy for the Hays. Father, Rod, qualified for the NFR 20 times through the 90s and 2000s. Older brother Logan finished 2021 in 17th place in the PRCA world rankings. Logan also competed at The American but had to settle for watching his little brother after posting a score of 82.5 in the Semi-Finals.
Dawson rode his first bronc at age 15 after growing up riding saddle horses on the family ranch. After joining the PRCA in 2017, Hay earned an invite to the WNFR in 2019 and 2021, finishing with world rankings of 7th and 9th respectively. The 9th ranked Pro Rodeo Canada athlete fought back from serious injuries in both 2020 and 2021.
Hay is taking home the champion buckle and $100,000 check to his new bride, Lily. The couple married on October 7, 2021.
About the Author
Heather Miner is a freelance writer who loves to dabble in a variety of jobs and hobbies, but horses have been a mainstay since her first memories. Growing up, she participated in countless rodeos and parades as part of a specialty act drill team she later coached for over 20 years. Participating twice in the WNFR as part of the Snake River Stampeders Night Light Drill Team was a tremendous thrill and accomplishment.
Living in Southern Idaho with her husband, their daughter, and an ever-changing menagerie of critters offers daily adventures. The family loves camping and exploring outdoor opportunities in their area and afar. Heather also enjoys her attempts at gardening, learning to play guitar, volunteering for the local library (to get a line on the best books, of course!), yoga, sewing, mountain biking, fixing up their 100 year old farm house and refinishing furniture.