History of the Mesquite Championship Rodeo: Neal Gay was a city boy who grew up liking the rodeo. He grew up in the Pleasant Grove area of Dallas, Texas and rode calves for fun at a relative's farm. When he turned 17, Neal volunteered for the Coast Guard. After WWII he got involved in organized rodeo in 1945. Neal recalls: "My dad had a garage in Pleasant Grove, and Tex Lewis would come around. He was a bronc rider who always talked about rodeos. One day Tex said, Neal, let's go to Garland [a suburb of Dallas] and ride in the rodeo. I didn't have anything else better to do, so I went. I got thrown at the whistle. That was a Friday night and the next night I entered the Pleasant Mound Rodeo. I won first place. It was the second bucking horse I'd ever gotten on, and I won $35. That was big stuff." After those nights Neal was hooked on the rodeo. He entered and competed in virtually every event at any rodeo. He broke into the top ten in Saddle Bronc Riding. But something kept tugging at him. He made himself a promise that if he ever married and had a family, he would stop competing to be a full-time husband and father. "I'm not knocking the others for staying on the circuit. That's just the way I felt.