At the 2022 Prairie Circuit Finals Rodeo in Duncan, Oklahoma, held Oct. 13–15, two-time NFBR qualifier Taylor Munsell and WPRA rookie KeAnn Hayes won the circuit title and the finals title, respectively. The two breakaway ropers will be representing the Prairie Circuit at the RAM NFR Open in 2023.
2022 Prairie Circuit Champion: Taylor Munsell
Throughout the 2022 ProRodeo season, Taylor Munsell of Alva, Oklahoma, won a total of $12,615.01 in circuit earnings, making her the Prairie Circuit Champion.
“I had a good year that wasn’t really honestly that good,” Munsell reflected. “I was struggling with horses. My bay horse was hurt for a lot of it, and I barely got to bring him out. My sorrel horse, we had him in the vet three different times. I was mounting out on other people’s horses. I ended up only having my yellow horse there at the end. I was really happy with how it turned out with everything else I had going on.”
Going into the Prairie Circuit Finals with $8,391.84, Munsell was ranked No. 2 in the circuit standings behind No. 1 Addie Weil of Edna, Kansas.
“I went in second by $1,700 I think,” Munsell said. “Then, I missed my first one. The top four girls all missed their first one. It was not what I was planning on doing, but then it kind of helped me with my mindset because then I could just blackout and go for the go-rounds.
“I knew I needed enough money to catch Addie Weil and I knew she was going to win some money because she ropes so good,” Munsell added.
After missing her first calf, Munsell took first in the second round with a 2.1 for $1,536 and first in the third round with a 2.0 for $1,536. She finished third in the average with a total time of 4.1 seconds on two for $1,152, putting her total earnings at $4,223.
“I drew really, really good calves, I will say that,” Munsell said.
Munsell rode Ray at the Prairie CFR, an older palomino gelding she raised, and on whom she relied heavily at the end of her season because her other horses were out due to injury.
“I know him inside and out and on every setup and how to use him,” Munsell said.
The win gave Munsell a major boost of confidence heading into her second National Finals Breakaway Roping, set for Nov. 29–30 in Las Vegas, Nevada. She currently sits at No. 4 in the world standings with $67,891.26 in PRCA/WPRA earnings.
2022 Prairie Circuit Finals Rodeo Average Champion: KeAnn Hayes
WPRA breakaway roping rookie KeAnn Hayes of Blanchard, Oklahoma, won the 2022 Prairie Circuit Finals Rodeo with an aggregate time of 7.9 seconds on three head.
“I set the goal at the beginning of the year to make the Circuit Finals because I was on my permit last year and didn’t make it,” Hayes said. “At Chickasha, the last rodeo in our circuit, I did not have the run I needed, and I was actually 13th in the standings, so I wasn’t sure I made it in, but one of the gals ahead of me didn’t have her rodeo count in, so I actually snuck into Circuit Finals. At the bottom, I was just thankful they let me in.
“My new goal was just to go out there and get my spot for the Ram Open and set myself up for the next year.”
At the Circuit Finals, Hayes was first in the first round with a 2.4 for $1,536, fourth in the second round with a 2.8 for $384, and fourth in the third round with a 2.7. She finished first in the average for $2,304, putting her total earnings at $4,223.
“My intention all weekend was to win the average,” Hayes said. “I was not going to back off. My approach to the first two was go at them, so that’s what I did on the last one. I was coming back to the average sitting second and I wanted to put a little pressure on the other girls. I was going to make the same run I did on the last two, so I just went at them again and won.”
In her victory, Hayes rode a 10-year-old, sorrel mare she calls Patron. She purchased the mare as an unbroken 2-year-old and trained and seasoned her throughout college.
“I really feel confident in her now, and I’m pretty excited for the years to come with her because I think she’s going to be the ticket for me to hopefully make the Finals and win a lot of money on her,” Hayes said. “I’m pretty humbled and excited to get to ride her. It makes it more fun when you’ve pretty much done the work all the way. Don’t get me wrong, people have helped me along the way with her and showed me different things to try. It’s been trial and error, but we finally got her to where she needs to be.”
Throughout her journey, Hayes has been able to count on the support of her husband, Clay, daughter, Klari, and her family to help her succeed. And, now, she has “a lot to look forward to” with the arrival of her new baby boy, as well as the upcoming NFR Open.
“I’d like to win the circuit,” Hayes said of her 2023 goals. “Get myself set up and hope I make the [Circuit] Finals. If I can do good at the Ram Open and do well at Cheyenne, that’d be great. My goal for the year is to get myself into the top 40 and set myself up for the following year to really make a go at the Finals.”