Usually it’s high school athletes who earn our Athlete of the Week honor but back in 1999 we sort of veered from the norm for one week.
Our last recipient of the millenium was a world champion steer wrestler. Dean’s Mickey Gee not only won, he set a new record for a 10-head run at the National Finals Rodeo.
I caught up with Texoma’s world champ when he returned from Las Vegas.
The next time you drive past the Jolly Truck Stop you’ll know you are only three miles from a world champion. Dean’s Mickey Gee was crowned the steer wrestling champion on Sunday at the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas.
“I won $20,000 in the first three rounds,” said Gee. “I told my father if I don’t win another penny I’ve had a great time and made $20,000. I can’t even get a job and make that in three days.”
He went on to win 7,720,400 pennies. That’s $77,204. And it catipulted him to the title.
“I was so excited about getting my saddles and everything I ran off and forgot my money. But they mailed it to me,” said Gee. “For cowboys the strain, the stress, the hurts and bruises we go through you’ve got to be fit. That horse has got a great big heart. Mike Smith won world on him last year. Everybody said what are you riding? I said I’m riding a winner!”
“I feel really privileged. I probably have two of the best parents anybody could ask for. My dad taught me and furnished everyuthing I needed. The arena, the barn, horses and everything. My mom, if I needed an extra couple hundred bucks to go rodeo and she may not have it but she’d come up with it.”
The one thing his parents apparently didn’t teach him was how to play blackjack when in Vegas.
“Oh. We don’t want to talk about that. I didn’t fare so well at the blackjack tables. The first few days I had a good time. We won a little and then like everybody says ‘they don’t build ’em on winners’.
Mickey and his then-fiancee Amber Clay were married in August of 2000 and now have two children, daughter Hadley and son Cooper.
On the wrestling circuit he returned to the NFR and was the average winner in 2003.
He decided to retire from the sport to spend more time with his family and now serves as the sales manager at Patterson of Bowie.
In his free time he enjoys playing golf, competing in ranch rodeos and carrying on the rodeo tradition with his children.
Back in 1999 after he earned his world title he was right back at work the next week. At the time he spent around 200 days of the year on the road in competition.