For many years, Arizona-native brothers Brye and Kyon Sayer stayed busy making their mark in the team roping world. In 1991, Team Sayer won the National High School Rodeo Association team roping titles together when heeler Kyon was 18 and header Brye was 17. They placed sixth at that year’s 1991 BFI, and fifth at the BFI a few years later in 1994. The Sayers also won the Turquoise Circuit Finals roping together in 1993. Big brother Kyon died a week ago today, on August 10, in a single-vehicle rollover accident in Colorado. He was 50.
With the Sayer boys being from Arizona, where Jake Barnes and Clay Cooper also lived in their heyday that made them Hall of Famers, those were my first two calls. I didn’t know Kyon, but knew they would. And they sure enough did.
“Kyon was a really talented kid,” Jake said. “He was one of the promising young guns growing up, and I roped with him at a few rodeos here and there.
“I rode one of their horses at the NFR one year in the last two rounds. Clay and I were leading the average, and just needed to catch our last two steers to win good money. So I drove all night back to Phoenix after Round 8, and got Brye’s sorrel head horse he called Critter. I ran up there and stuck it on our ninth steer, hickeyed a horn and took us out of the average. But it dang sure wasn’t the horse’s fault, and I sure appreciated them letting me ride him.”
At one time, Jake says he and Allen Bach buddied with the Sayer brothers for a bit.
“Those guys really worked at their roping, and they knew good horses,” Jake said. “The Sayers bought several good head horses from me over the years, including a sorrel horse I called Big John that I was riding when Clay (Cooper) and I won the BFI in 1988.”
Cooper moved from Southern California to Arizona when he was 16.
“After the move, when I was still amateur rodeoing, I pretty much hung out at Tom Cox’s place in Laveen (Arizona),” Clay said. “That’s where I practiced all the time, and that’s where the Sayer family lived. Kyon and Brye were little guys, and I was around them a lot when they were just getting into roping. They came out and rodeoed a little bit, and had some impressive accomplishments with their roping. They were dedicated to it, and good at it.”
Cooper didn’t see the Sayers around much after he made the move from Arizona to Texas, but has fond memories from those younger years.
“Because I’d known Kyon since he was a little kid, we were always buddies and friends,” Clay said. “My experience with him was always great. When you know someone at such a young age, then go compete together, you build a friendship that goes way back. I hadn’t seen Kyon in recent years, but we had some good times back in the day, when I lived in Arizona.
“On the roping side, Kyon figured it out and heeled exceptionally well. There was a time he had a really good little bay horse that was about as nice as there was. He could heel ’em down, and he was a big, strong kid. Kyon could get ’em from anywhere.”
In recent years, Kyon and his 12-year-old daughter, Nya, who started seventh grade this week, have lived at mutual friend Ross Gosney’s ranch in Colorado.
“I did a roping school down the road from Ross’s last year, and stayed at the ranch,” Jake remembers. “Ross and I went into town and had dinner with Kyon and his daughter one night. They were tight.”
A GoFundMe has been organized to help Brye help Nya, https://gofund.me/8e4c3d82. Rest in peace, Kyon, and heartfelt sympathy for the family and friends who will miss him most.