Keenan Hayes captures Cinch Chute-Out glory in San Angelo

SAN ANGELO, Texas – There’s not much in the sport of rodeo that can slow down Resistol Rookie phenom Keenan Hayes right now.

The standout bareback rider put together a record-setting season a year ago and that momentum has rolled over right into 2023. Headed into Saturday night in San Angelo, Texas, he was sitting second in the PRCA | RAM World Standings with more than $85,000 already won this season.

He added to that number in a big way at the San Angelo Cinch Chute-Out, in front of a sold-out crowd of more than 5,260 at Foster Coliseum. Hayes was one of three cowboys to advance out of the long round, he put together the top score with a 90.5-point ride on Championship Pro Rodeo’s The Crow.

That set the stage for the three-man Chute-Out, where he drew Pickett Pro Rodeo’s Top Notch. Hayes and the horse both lived up to their reputations, combining for 88 points and the San Angelo Cinch Chute-Out win.

“The first horse I got on I knew she was going to be small, but electric,” said Hayes, 20. “She was really good tonight and we both did our jobs. On that second horse, I actually knew it from a few weeks ago in Houston. I just cocked my hammer and went at it. It felt awesome being out there in front of that crowd.”

To be crowned a champion at the Cinch Chute-Out a roughstock cowboy is tasked with riding two of the sport’s best animals in a matter of an hour. Hayes said you have to take the right mentality into the night to be successful.

“Tonight, I stayed out there during the rodeo and helped some of my buddies out,” he said. “I tried to stay out of the locker room and keep my energy up. At an event like this it’s important to stay energized and keep the blood flowing.”

Hayes hopes his early season success has him on the path to qualify for his first Wrangler National Finals Rodeo this December in Las Vegas. He said even with the added pressure of being top two in the world, his spot in those standings is not something he thinks about very often.

“There’s not really that much extra pressure, at least not right now,” Hayes said. “I don’t look at the standings much. I’m just blessed to be here and blessed to have won this much this early in the year. I’m going to keep coming out here and having fun. It sure makes it a lot easier when you’re winning that’s for sure.”

Other winners at the $75,000 rodeo were steer wrestler Dalton Massey (3.3 seconds); team roper Dustin Egusquiza/Levi Lord (4.0 seconds); saddle bronc rider Stetson Wright (91 points on Pete Carr Pro Rodeo’s Larry Culpepper); tie-down roper Riley Pruitt (7.5 seconds); barrel racer Lindsey Sears (13.80 seconds); and bull rider Jeff Askey (88 points on Pete Carr Pro Rodeo’s Bandit).

Courtesy of the PRCA

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