Home » Legendary Bareback Pro Kaycee Feild Hangs Up His Hat

Legendary Bareback Pro Kaycee Feild Hangs Up His Hat

by JonPharr
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The six-time world champion surprised the rodeo world with his announcement on the No Spin Rodeo radio show.

It’s hard to imagine a National Finals Rodeo (NFR) without Kaycee Feild. The 36-year-old bareback rider has qualified for rodeo’s main event a staggering 13 times, amassing six world champion titles and the distinction of being one of the greatest bareback riders ever. But, the legendary PRCA pro fell slightly short this year after competing in fewer than 30 rodeos in 2023, narrowly missing the opportunity to qualify for the NFR by finishing the season in 16h place. Less than $1,700 stood between him and the top 15 ranking that would have earned him the qualifying spot.

While the news sent out a shockwave through the rodeo community, it also marks a natural endpoint to a remarkable career. It was not an easy choice for Feild, but nothing lasts forever, and Feild decided it was finally time to hang up his hat and move on to new endeavors.

“I learned a lot about who I am and what I was about over the season, staying strong to how I wanted to start the season, and how I saw my season going,” Feild shared as he announced his retirement on No Spin Rodeo on Oct. 31. He then confirmed the news on Instagram and Facebook.

“I’m excited to apply the tools I’ve gathered from all of my time and experiences with rodeo to ventures outside of the arena,” Feild shared.

The fact that the Genola, Utah-based bareback rider didn’t qualify for this year’s NFR doesn’t detract from the cowboy’s staggering list of accomplishments. Feild’s career earnings clock in at more than $3.3 million, and he’s only one of eight PRCA pros ever to pass the $3 million earnings mark. He also boasts a record 29 Go-Round wins at the NFR.

Those achievements are a testament to his passion for bareback, which amounts to a family tradition. Feild is the son of five-time PRCA world champion and ProRodeo Hall of Famer Lewis Feild, who won all-around titles from 1985-87 and bareback riding titles from 1985-86. That family heritage would make for some tough boots to fill in the rodeo world, but the younger Feild’s hard work and dedication would be more than enough to allow him to cement his distinct legacy while honoring the family name.

His storied PRCA career dates back to 2007, when he first joined the organization and embarked on a 16-year journey that would solidify his status as one of the greats. After solidifying his PRCA membership, it took no time for Feild to establish himself among his peers. That year, he finished second in the standings among rookie bareback riders, with notable wins at the Salmon (Idaho) Stampede PRCA Rodeo and the Walla Walla (Wash.) Fair & Frontier Days. Feild won the College National Finals Rodeo the following year and finished eighth in the PRCA bareback world standings with payouts totaling $127,904.

His career would only progress from there. He finished third in the world standings in 2009 and fifth in 2010. Then, in 2011, Feild earned his first world champion title, partly due to a show-stopping performance at the NFR. There, he won a record six rounds, setting the average record with 860.5 points on ten head. He also won that year’s RAM Top Gun Award with his single-event NFR record of $179,327, culminating in the highest season total ever for a bareback rider with total earnings of $319,986.

By 2012, he would win another world champion title with $276,850 and another NFR average title. The following year, he won his third consecutive world champion title and claimed the NFR average title yet again, becoming the first man in ProRodeo history to win three successive world titles while also winning the NFR average title. In 2014, he permanently etched his name into rodeo’s history books by claiming his fourth consecutive world champion and NFR average titles. This would also make him only the second cowboy in history to earn four consecutive world champion titles, the other being team roper Leo Camarillo, a team roper header who won from 1968-71.

In 2015, Feild again made his way to the NFR, placing second in the average. Before that year’s NFR, Feild had joined other rodeo competitors in launching the Elite Rodeo Athletes (ERA). This short-lived competitive circuit was intended to offer higher payouts to rodeo athletes. The vision was to allow rodeo athletes to earn more money while competing in fewer events throughout the year, allowing them to expand their careers due to fewer chances of injuries or burnout from competing in up to 90 rodeo events per year. However, the PRCA changed its bylaws to prevent its members from owning shares in ERA and ultimately denied Feild PRCA membership for 2016. ERA went out of business after a single season, and Feild returned to the PRCA to earn 30th in the standings in 2017 and seventh in 2018.

He then faced a major career challenge in 2019 after sustaining a head injury at the finals at Rodeo Austin. The incident left him unconscious, though the ill-fated ride still helped him take second place in the event. His injuries from the incident included a fractured eye socket, nasal cavity, jaw, and skull. He also suffered some brain bleeding and spent the next two months in bed. However, the initially life-threatening injuries wouldn’t keep him down, and he was back on the rodeo circuit within a few short months and closed out the year sixth in the standings with $232,320.

In 2020, a reride decision on his first horse in Round 10 of the NFR culminated in a 91-point ride on Junior Bonner, ultimately winning him the round and another world champion title. He again claimed the top spot in the standings in 2021, culminating in a record six bareback gold buckles. Although he finished only second in the average that year, his NFR earnings also won him the RAM Top Gun Award for a second time due to $231,564 in earnings at the event. He closed out the year with $357,420.

In 2022, he was the reserve world champion, second to Jess Pope. This year may have marked an initial move toward retirement. In spite of placing second in the world rankings, he’d earned his way to the NFR while having competed in fewer than 30 PRCA events in 2022, compared to more than 50 in 2021. His trend toward spending less time on the road would continue in 2023, which likely contributed to his failure to qualify for the NFR in his final year on the circuit.

Perhaps news of his retirement is bittersweet to some, but if anyone has earned the opportunity to say they gave it their all, it’s Feild. He’s claimed the right to be known as one of the greatest riders not only in bareback history but in the entire history of the PRCA. It’s a given that he’ll also be honored as a Hall of Famer one day. And while he may never ride professionally again, he’ll undoubtedly continue to make his mark as a revered member of the Western community in whatever he chooses to do next. There’s a whole new world ahead for Feild, and if he can put half as much into it as he’s put into his rodeo career, there’s no doubt he’ll continue to accomplish amazing things.

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