Ketch Again

Déjà vu: Ketch Kelton Bags Second Jr. Ironman Championship and $21,750
Ketch Kelton continued carving out his family legacy inside the Lazy E with his second consecutive Jr. Ironman championship.
Ketch Kelton heeling at Jr. Ironman
Ketch Kelton earned the 2024 Jr. Ironman championship. RodeoBum/James Phifer photography.

Ketch Kelton’s zip code might say Arizona, but the 18-year-old cowboy looked at home inside the Lazy E Arena all weekend long at the 2024 Cinch Timed Event Championships as he headed, heeled, tie-down roped and steer wrestled his way to his second Jr. Ironman championship and earned $21,750 in Guthrie on Feb. 29-Mar. 2.

Heading into the final round of the 2024 Jr. Ironman, former NHSRA All-Around Champion Kelton had roughly 8 seconds of distance between him and his No. 2 challenger, Kreece Dearing. He was nearly flawless in the first two rounds of competition on previous days, winning both with times of 41.7 and 39.8 seconds on four runs, respectively. He already had $1,500 in his pockets.

Dearing had made few errors over the first two rounds, but his Round 3 performance allowed Kelton to lengthen the gap.

Kelton’s only bobble came in the heading, when his helper caught only one hind leg. For the remaining three rounds, Kelton took smart shots and exercised veteran patience to complete the round in 44.1 seconds and earn $250, behind Round 3 winner Tyler Porter with a time of 38.1 seconds. His overall aggregate time of 125.6 seconds on 12 earned him the $20,000 aggregate title. But Kelton wasn’t on autopilot throughout the round, he was just laser-focused on the finish line.

“I get nervous sometimes,” Kelton said. “Definitely every time in the bulldogging. I don’t really know how I deal with it—I just go out there and do it.”

Ketch’s grandfather, Willie, wasn’t shocked by his grandson’s poise.

“He’s nervous on the inside out there. But he’ll never show it on the outside. He’s got ice water in his veins. That’s bred into him, you can’t teach it. Ketch has got it all—work ethic, natural talent, he loves it, he practices nonstop.”

Willie Kelton

On the arena dirt, Ketch knew before the round even started that not only Willie, but also his father, 14-time Ironman competitor Chance Kelton had full faith in his abilities.


Chance Kelton made 14 trips to the @CINCH Timed Event Championships in his career, and he just watched his son, 18-year-old Ketch, clinch his second Jr. Ironman championship and $21,750 inside the same @Lazy E Arena. Full story and results to follow at the link in bio. #Cowboy #Family #Tradition #WesternIndustry #Cowboy #Rodeo #CTEC #Roping

♬ Good Times Go By Too Fast – Dylan Scott

“Dad didn’t really give any advice to me right before the round,” Kelton said. “He just said, ‘You got this?’ I said ‘Yup.’ He said ‘Alright, then.’ It gave me confidence, because he trusted that I had it handled.”

One thing the Kelton family knows how to do work inside the Lazy E’s walls, and it’s not an honor reserved for the men with the last name. Ketch’s sister, Kenzie (20) won the Charlie 1 Horse All-Girl roping during BFI Week 2023 aboard the yellow 12-year-old mare Chance raised and trained, “Peaches,” that Ketch called upon during the Jr. Ironman.

Note: Ketch’s heel horse of choice, “Happy Meal,” is also a product of Chance’s upbringing and training.

The next stop for Ketch Kelton is the Hooey Jr. Patriot in Fort Worth, then he’s off to high school rodeo and jackpot until BFI Week at the close of March. In the fall of 2024, he’ll be attending Cisco Community College and working all timed events at the collegiate rodeos. In 2025, however, he’s got the Ironman on his mind. The cowboy’s already begun working on his steer roping in hopes of a CTEC invite in the future.

Rewatch all the Cinch Timed Event Championships Action on demand at

Aggregate Results (on 12 head)

  1. Ketch Kelton, 125.6 seconds, $20,000
  2. Kreece Dearing, 148 seconds, $5,000
  3. Eli Green, 217.7 seconds, $2,500
  4. Tyler Porter, 219.4 seconds
  5. Evan Bottini, 272.7 seconds 
  6. Micah Kearney, 279.3 seconds
  7. Luke Tippmann, 302.8 seconds
  8. Colin Fox, 374.7 seconds
  9. Jake Shelton, 436 seconds
  10. Hank Burgess, 468.6 seconds

Round One Results

  1. Ketch Kelton, 41.7 seconds $750
  2. Kreece Dearing, 41.8 seconds $250
  3. Micah Kearney, 57.6 seconds
  4. Evan Bottini , 75.8 seconds
  5. Tyler Porter, 87.1 seconds
  6. Luke Tippmann, 99.6 seconds
  7. Eli Green, 112.4 seconds
  8. Colin Fox, 141.1 seconds
  9. Jake Shelton, 145.1 seconds
  10. Hank Burgess, 157.7 seconds

Ketch. Kelton. Etch that name into your memory now. He’s 18, and he’s carving out his Ironman legacy before he’s even old enough to be in the pack. Kelton just picked up the Round 2 victory in the Jr. Ironman with 39.8 seconds on four runs across team roping heading and heeling, steer wrestling and tie-down roping. Story to follow at the link in bio. Watch the action live all weekend long on from the @Lazy E Arena. #Cowboy #Rodeo #Roping #KetchKelton #Heeling #TieDownRoping

♬ Look At Me Now (AZENG Mix) – 阿增

Round Two Results

  1. Ketch Kelton, 39.8 seconds $750
  2. Evan Bottini, 45 seconds $250
  3. Kreece Dearing, 46 seconds
  4. Eli Green, 47.5 seconds
  5. Luke Tippmann, 66.3 seconds
  6. Tyler Poter 94.2 seconds
  7. Micah Kearney, 94.4 seconds
  8. Hank Burgess, 149.2 seconds
  9. Colin Fox, 166.7 seconds
  10. Jake Shelton, 184.4 seconds

Round Three Results

  1. Tyler Porter 38.1 seconds, $750
  2. Ketch Kelton, 44.1 seconds, $250
  3. Eli Green, 57.8 seconds 
  4. Kreece Dearing, 60.2 seconds
  5. Colin Fox, 66.9 seconds
  6. Jake Shelton, 106.5 seconds
  7. Micah Kearney, 127.3 seconds
  8. Luke Tippmann, 136.9 seconds
  9. Evan Bottini, 151.9 seconds
  10. Hank Burgess, 161.7 seconds
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