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Multiple-time Wrangler NFR horse Billings passes

by Tracy Renck | Jul 12, 2019



COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Saddle bronc horse Rafter G Rodeo’s Billings, a nine-time qualifier for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, passed away July 9. He was 24.

Billings was diagnosed with cancer shortly after his final performance at the Mineral Wells (Texas) Rodeo in May.

“They put him in the eliminator pen, but he wasn’t as big and as bad as those other guys, and he didn’t have any tricks,” said Jim Gay of Rafter G Rodeo. “He stood in the chute and he enjoyed his job. Guys knew what they were getting when they got on him. He bucked a lot of guys off and a lot of guys rode him over the years. He was a special horse. His ears were perked up all the time, and he enjoyed life.”

Billings appeared at the Wrangler NFR in 2004-07 and 2010-14. Jim and his father, ProRodeo Hall of Famer Neal Gay, purchased Billings when the horse was 4 years old. 



When Billings wasn’t competing, he was hanging out at the Rafter G Rodeo Ranch in Terrell, Texas, with his two best friends – fellow Wrangler NFR horses Black Bart, 24, and Rawhide, 25.

“Those horses were best friends for 15 years,” Jim said. “They hung out together and rode in the truck together, and they were in semi-retirement together. Replacing Billings is like trying to replace Peyton Manning. Saddle bronc horses like him are hard to find because he gave his all every time. I would buy Billings 10 times over. He was just an awesome horse. When he passed away there was not a dry eye in the house.”

Cowboys won two rounds on Billings at the NFR. He was the 2005 runner-up for Saddle Bronc Horse of the NFR. Billings also competed in the Texas Circuit Finals Rodeo many times.

Taos Muncy, a two-time PRCA Saddle Bronc Riding World Champion (2007 and 2011), praised Billings.

“When you picture bucking horses, you picture horses like him,” Muncy said. “He was spectacular for many, many years. I rode him once at the NFR and I got a check. Then I got him once at Springdale, Ark., and he was awesome. He was hard to ride. He would go out there and he would always go around to the left and circle back to the right. He was a good one to have. If you rode him right, you were going to win money, and if not, you were going to be laying in the ground.”

 





 
 
 
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