Michael Gaffney won the 1997 World Championship after going 5-for-5 at the PBR World Finals, despite riding with an unstable left shoulder that he originally injured at a 1994 rodeo. It was a remarkable comeback by Gaffney as Adriano Moraes seemed poised to win his second world title. Moraes had opened up a massive lead during the first half of the season but sustained a season-ending broken leg in Sao Paulo, Brazil, that August.
Gaffney’s 96.5-point ride on Little Yellow Jacket in Nampa, Idaho, in 2004 was tied for the highest-scored bull ride in PBR history for 17 years—until Jose Vitor Leme’s 97.75-point ride on Woopaa earlier this year. Gaffney rode Little Yellow Jacket for 93.75 points in 2004 as well.
The New Mexico native won the bull riding event average at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in back-to-back years (1990-1991), and a year later, he went on to invest $1,000 to become one of the PBR’s 20 co-founders.
Gaffney retired in 2004 and he was inducted into the PBR’s Ring of Honor in 2005.