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Upbeat bareback rider Lane McGehee chasing grad degree, CEO stature

Won recent PRCA Yellowstone River Roundup
Rodeo Lane McGehee.png
Posted at 10:00 AM, Sep 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-16 12:00:28-04

BILLINGS - Lane McGehee knows he isn't going to reach this year's Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. But, you'd never realize it by his upbeat persona.

"Never been here before, didn't have a flight here," McGehee told MontanaSports.com three weeks ago in Billings after bucking the odds to win his bareback event and a little over $2,000 at the Yellowstone River Roundup.

He said Saturday's third and final go-round happened to be his night, which wouldn't have happened without the help of friend and fellow bareback rider Ty Breuer from Mandan, North Dakota. Breuer helped McGehee navigate his trip to Billings.

"We take care of each other, we're like brothers," he said of Breuer, with a nod to his rodeo buddies in general. "We push each other to the limit but at the end of the day, if you need a ride, if you need some money, people have got your back, man."

They're reasons McGehee loves his lifestyle, and his actions reflect it.

Both before and after his winning ride at the YRR, he was seen going out of his way to thank those who open the chutes, pickup men, members of the medical team and even the security staff.

"I appreciate that there's a lot of stuff that goes into rodeo," he explained. "It's not just us getting on, it's not just the stock contractors. It's the Justin Sports Medicine Team, it's these guys back here hanging flanks.

"It takes a whole team to put on a rodeo and I think some people forget to thank guys like that. I know where I come from and don't forget my roots."

McGehee's roots are in Victoria, Texas; his hometown.

But four years ago, he drove 200 miles northeast for his freshman year at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas. McGehee instantly won a bareback riding championship at the College National Finals, but broke his leg shortly after. He eventually recovered to finish second at Cheyenne Frontier Days, but then says he tore "every tendon off the hamstring" of the same leg he'd previously broken.

McGehee has since overcome three major surgeries.

Now, as the clock expires on another PRCA regular season, he sits No. 30 in the world bareback standings. Only the top 15 year-end money winners earn invitations to December's Wrangler National Finals, ProRodeo's highest paying event. McGehee, who's never been there, has won $29,154.97. He trails Mason Clements by almost $25,000.

Like all professional cowboys, he's driven to someday reach the NFR. But he also sees the big picture. McGehee, already with a college degree in hand, is still dialed in to school entering his fifth year at Sam Houston State.

"I graduated in May with construction management and impressed the college enough that they're helping me out with my masters program," he said proudly with a wide grin. "I couldn't be more blessed.

"I eat, sleep and breath bareback riding because of my daddy. My daddy taught me everything (about rodeo). School is something that I've pursued on my own."

McGehee's end game? Becoming CEO of a giant company. If he earns a few National Finals Rodeo paychecks along the way, that wouldn't hurt either.