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Much of the following was written by Siri Stevens for Rodeo News, January, 2013

"My dream as a child was to be a Western artist," said tie-down roper Bradley Chance Hays. "I love being a cowboy and appreciate how I was raised. It has been rewarding to have my ideas recorded as art and make history."

At age five, Chance received his first pencil and paper set from his mother, an artist. At six, his dad, a bulldogger and tie-down roper, gave him his first rope. From then on, his rope and pencil became his lifeā€”and still are 20 years later. The professional calf roper and artist paints primarily expressionistic representations of horses, and his work can be found in restaurants and galleries from Canada to Oklahoma. He made the Texas Cowboys Rodeo Association Finals the same year he got his master of fine arts degree from West Texas A&M University, and this year he qualified for his first International Finals Rodeo.

"I work in the mornings in the studio, and after lunch I load a herd of calves and rope on horses I'm training and showing. After stabling them, I return home," he said of his daily routine, which hasn't changed much since he was a kid.

"I remember when I was eight, I would ride down the street with three horses tied together to practice and ride them back home. Now I think about how times have changed. I feel people want to view the old West in a new and refreshing way. My artistic style is unique and may possibly be the first real abstract Western art ever."

He remembers sitting at the dinner table drawing on an end roll of newsprint while his mother developed her own artwork. "She refrained from buying me coloring books; instead, I had to draw my own stories and color them," he said.

His art continued to progress. "When I roped and worked cattle, I drew my experiences in pencil. As I grew as an artist, I observed the energy of the West and began painting under the influence of Leroy Neiman--a lot of energetic style." Chance sold his first paintings while in high school and has sold hundreds since.

He began his college career at Panhandle State University and competed on the rodeo team under the instruction of Craig Lathum and Robert Etbauer. He placed at numerous rodeos and was recruited to Oklahoma State because of his artistic recognition. "I didn't know which way to go, but it was a dream to attend OSU. I grew up an hour from there and it was a big deal."

Chance attained his undergraduate degree in fine arts from Oklahoma State University. He decided to pursue his master's at West Texas A&M. "I selected West Texas so I could be a part of traditional ranch life and graduated a year ago." He currently makes his home in Bristow, OK, and anticipates a second home and studio in Taos, New Mexico.

One of Chance's paintings was used for the International Finals Rodeo programs, 2013, then donated to an auction benefiting the Miss Rodeo USA program.

He plans to continue rodeoing and roping. "My inspiration is to continue to refine my art," he said. "I want to be a professor and give back to a society that has been so good to me."

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