by Chris Dize
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Keenan Hayes is a permit rider in name only. He rides like a professional and bought his PRCA card last month. Hindsight is sharper than Lasik surgery, so the bareback rider recognizes he should have purchased the card before this season given his six-figure winnings and potential to reach his first NFR.

But the cowboy from Hayden, Colo., believed he needed more seasoning. And while he’s not competing in Las Vegas for a gold buckle, his bank account continues to cha-ching like a slot machine. Only 19, Hayes continued turning heads and demonstrating his potential this weekend, winning the Inaugural Permit Finals in Waco, Texas, with a three-head score of 254.5.

“The part of not going to the (NFR) does sting a little bit. But I knew that was the case all year long, so I got over it,” Hayes said. “I went at it all year like I was going to the Finals. The money was the same and I was rodeoing to pay my bills. To win the Permit Finals was really cool, especially on horses I knew from a Colorado contractor (the Cervis).”

Hayes separated himself from the competition early in the event. He won the first round on Cervi Brothers’ Lonestar with an 86-point ride and followed that up with an 86.5-point trip on the Cervi Brothers’ Bandana Babe before finishing with an 82.

Hayes, a former high school football player at Hayden (Colo.) High School, banked $4,531. It continued his run of success, where he pocketed prize money in roughly 50 percent of his 2022 season events, including big checks at the Washington State Fair Rodeo and Canby (Ore.) Rodeo.

“I always expected to do well. I have been rodeoing pretty hard for a few years and making it my source of income. I really don’t like to work. I like this better,” Hayes said with a laugh. “I definitely want this to be my full-time job.”

Hayes remains unsure if he will attend the Permit Members of The Year Challenge in Las Vegas in December. But he aims to win the RAM Mountain States Circuit Finals again in Loveland, Colo., Oct. 21-22.

“I hope to do it again,” Hayes said. “Then the plan becomes to make the NFR and maybe even win it someday. Nothing has really changed. I am doing the same things I have always done. It definitely helps to get off to a good start. I learned a lot this past season going to a lot of rodeos, how to enter and which ones I want to go with moving forward.”

Other winners at the $111,343 rodeo were steer wrestler Ryan Nettle (8.8 seconds on two head); team ropers Wyatt Bray/Landen Glenn (12.8 seconds on two head); saddle bronc rider Shea Fournier (170.5 points on two head); tie-down ropers Cash Enderli and Chet Weitz (18.1 seconds on two head); barrel racer Acey Pinkston (32.62 seconds on two runs); bull rider Canyon Bass (158.5 points on two head).

Article Courtesy of PRCA

Photo By James Phifer

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