She's a Peach

Homegrown ‘Peaches’ Carries Kelton Siblings to $125K in 1 Month 
The Kelton Family’s homegrown, grade mare “Peaches” earned nearly $125,000 in one month as she carried sibling jockeys, Kenzie and Ketch, to notable victories.

You heard about the Kelton siblings banking $121,630 from turning steers in March. But did you know they did it all on the same horse? Or that the homegrown, grade, yellow mare was a straight-up accident? 

Of course, Chance and Tammy Kelton’s kids, 20-year-old Kenzie and Ketch, 18, make them proud—but that mare is special. Since before Chance headed steers at three NFRs and tied them at five NFSRs, his dad Willy Kelton had always kept a few mares around to breed horses for use on their ranch near Mayer, Arizona. But the babies quickly turned into arena horses once the Keltons decided to breed to Walter Bob Baxter’s stallion with its Driftwood blood.

READ: Déjà vu: Ketch Kelton Bags Second Jr. Ironman Championship and $21,750 

Fourteen years ago, Chance hauled their home-raised mare Buttermilk to a ranch rodeo for the team tying and, just days later, she surprised them with a foal. Kenzie, then 6, named the resulting “catch-colt” Peaches, and Chance got stuck with her. 

“The kids weren’t ready for horses, so I sold all her siblings as 4-year-olds, but nobody wanted to buy a mare,” recalled Chance, who put the first ride on Peaches and did all the training before seasoning her and turning her over to Kenzie. 

Ketch Kelton turning a steer for Paul Eaves at the 2024 Jr. Ironman.
Peaches played a vital role in Ketch’s 2024 Jr. Ironman title. | RodeoBum/James Phifer photography

“She’s super smart,” he said. “You could lead her to an arena, and she could watch you practice and then be able to do it.”

Chance just went to using her. He hauled Peaches to ranch rodeos and team-tied, tripped, roped calves, headed and heeled on her. He figures she stands about 15.1 hands and weighs 1,100 pounds. 

Peaches is the one that put Kenzie in the second-callback position to clinch the same prestigious NHSFR title earned by both her dad and uncle: Chance was the national high-school champion header in 1993 with Brandon Wallace and his brother, Clay, won it two years later with Trey Miller. Kenzie and Ketch went 5.9 in that 2022 NHSFR short round but had to settle for second when another Arizona team went 5.8.

What’s even more remarkable is Kenzie also made the NHSFR in both the breakaway and goat tying on the mare. When Kenzie decided to go to cosmetology school this year, Ketch, who’s always heeled, decided he should borrow Peaches. 

Ketch headed on Peaches to win the Jr. Ironman on March 2. Then, he grabbed a few thousand bucks more on her for second in the Open at the NTR National Finals. On March 22, he hauled Peaches to Texas to cash in on $6,400 at the World Youth Team Roping Championships before banking $14,785 five days later at the Hooey Junior Patriot in Fort Worth. 

In Guthrie, Ketch and the mare earned $39,000 for first and second at the Hooey Jr. BFI and another $39,000 for third in The Feist. In the meantime, Kenzie showed up and got on Peaches to win the All-Girl for the second straight year, plus, she  placed at the Oil Capital All-Girl in Oklahoma City to earn $14,000.

So, the burning question: Did Ketch pay his sister mount-money? 

“Not really,” laughed Kenzie, who lives in Wickenburg. “He gives me calves to practice on, and he gave me like a thousand bucks. So he does, here and there.”

Not only is Peaches short-strided, which makes her easy to rope on, but she’s mortally fast and listens—she’ll respond no matter what you ask her to do. She will not, however, allow you to shoe her hind feet. The Keltons couldn’t even put boots on those hind legs for years. She keeps to herself, Kenzie says, and doesn’t show much personality or really like people. But she loves her job. And she’s good at it.

READ: Kelton and DeSalvo Claim the 2023 BFI All-Girl Team Roping

“The coolest thing about her is you can take her to a World Series roping where it’s nod-and-ride, and then take her to the BFI and she’ll score like that,” Chance said.

What’s also amazing, he said, is that he can hop on her after years and she feels like she did the day he got off her. Usually when a horse goes from, say, an elite header to a young woman, positioning is different.  

Ketch Kelton spinning a steer for Denton Dunning to win the 2024 BFI Hooey Jr. Open.
Ketch and Denton Dunning also won the 2024 BFI Hooey Jr. Open with the help of Peaches. | Andersen/CBarC Photography

“I think she just knows it’s me,” said Kenzie, who had no problem jumping on Peaches in Guthrie without any practice. “When Ketch rides her, she rates farther back and stays a little wider, plus she’ll come up the arena harder. When I get on her, she’s the same with me as she’s always been. I rode her in the All-Girl right after he placed in the BFI on her, and she felt the same as the last time I’d ridden her two months earlier. I swear she just knows.”

Out of their barn full of outstanding mares, Peaches is absolutely the best according to Ketch, who convinced his high-school and BFI partner, Denton Dunning, to go to Cisco College with him this fall.

Peaches is 14, so Kenzie likes to save her for the big money and not, say, the hundred-dollar slides. Regardless, the mare has been 100% sound her whole life. Kenzie had opportunities to sell Peaches this winter but said she couldn’t do it.

“Dad asked me how I’d ever replace her,” she recalled. “And he said, ‘We can make more.’”

The idea of harvesting eggs from the phenomenal Peaches is tantalizing. In fact, just as the BFI short round started, Chance threatened to turn her out and only breed her the rest of her life if Ketch won the BFI.

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