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Kacey Edenfield was the quintessential all-American boy from Tennessee. The star pitcher of his high school’s varsity baseball team and the son of a former professional baseball player, Kacey had it all: the status of a sports star in a southern school, a strong team, a supportive family, and, of course, good looks. But he also in the closet. Once he came out, his life took a number of twists, one of which was a tangent almost no one probably imagined for him: his years as Helix Studios’ exclusive Troy Ryan.
Kacey Edenfield was gay and, like so many of us when we were in school, was hiding that fact about himself. He had a lot to lose, after all. The locker room can be a cruel place for gay teens. And his own father, Ken, had come from that very culture, playing for Western Kentucky before being drafted by the California Angels, where he worked his way up through the minors to play two years of major league ball.
What was life like for Kacey? He was proud of his dad and seemed to be following in his footsteps in baseball, and otherwise led a normal life. “I played high school baseball pretty much all the way up to my senior year. I did a lot of skiing, a lot of whitewater kayaking. just tried to stay active and outdoors as much as I could,” he said.
Ultimately, as is so often the case, it was a boy who drew Kacey out of the closet and led him to put it all on the line. “So, he was the first guy that I'd met my town that I thought was relationship material, I guess, and I tried to move in on it,” Kacey recalled. “And he was like, ‘I don't talk to closeted guys, I don't want the drama...’”
The boy must really have been something because, “I was like, ‘Well, okay...’ So, two weeks later, I was like, ‘Hey, you know what? Now's as good a time as any let's... Let's just do it!’"
The fallout was predictable, as his decision impacted his relationship with both his father and his team. Luckily, Ken Edenfield proved himself to be a true star of a dad. “It took a month or two. At first, it was really really hard,” Kacey said. “We went to counseling together, and everything kind of worked itself out after that. He started to understand. He actually ... now he's probably one of my biggest supporters.”
Kacey Edenfield / Troy Ryan - photo courtesy of Helix Studios
When asked what helped his dad get over his initial disapproval, Kacey laughed. “You know, for some people, it just takes a ‘click,’ and I think it was the same thing for him. In the counseling, you know, his biggest thing was, ‘If he's never done anything with a girl, how come he knows he doesn't like it?’” he said. “The counselor kind of countered that with, ‘Well, Ken, have you ever done anything with a guy? How come you know you don't like it?’ Ever since then, he's like, ‘Alright, we're done. I get it!’”
Things with his team didn’t go so well, however. “Actually, my best friend kind of alienated me,” he recalled. “And the rest of my teammates took a step back. It was pretty rough. But I don't regret it. I mean, everything happens for a reason.”
“My senior year, I ended up quitting [baseball],” he added. “I had gotten a lot of playing time sophomore and junior year, and my senior year I wasn't getting any... That was kind of my tell tale of, ‘Alright, there's something behind this.’ And then, of course, it got affirmed a couple days later, after a practice. One of my teammates came to me and told me what was said, and it kind of bothered me..."
Kacey Edenfield / Troy Ryan - photo courtesy of Helix Studios
When Kacey finished high school, he had decided to move to Colorado, when he had a life-changing interaction online. “I got recruited, supposedly, [by Helix Studios],” he said with a realist’s skepticism. “I don't know ... who knows if he was affiliated with the company or not? But long story short, I ended up putting in an application [with Helix]. Two weeks later, I got a call back, and they were like, ‘Yeah, let's fly you out!’”
“I told them to give me a couple weeks, because I was already planning on moving to Denver,” he added. “Then I could kind of hide it from everybody else. So as soon as I got [to Colorado], I said, ‘Yeah, I'm good.’ I flew out there a week after I moved in...”
Helix Studios [link features PG-13 edits]must have liked what they saw of Kacey, whose porn name was Troy Ryan. “I shot four scenes before I became exclusive my first time around. It was after my second trip out. My first trip out was in August, and my second trip wasn't until like November or December. So it was kind of spaced out a little bit…”
Being exclusive with a company like Helix restricts the options for working with other studios, but provides the benefit of a guaranteed income level. “You have a guarantee on how many scenes you're gonna get, and you have a guarantee on what rate you're gonna get per scene. For them, it was a six-month term. And then, afterwards, you had the option to renew or whatever. So I was guaranteed a certain rate, for a certain amount of scenes, through six months. They had to shoot me, and I had to be committed to just them. I couldn't go to another studio and shoot at the same time.”
While he was working in porn, Kacey’s relationship with his father would again be turned on its head. “I had an ex who was pretty vindictive. And, as soon as he found out, he told my family, but... Again, it kind of took my dad the same mindset of, ‘I just have to process this, realize that it's his thing, he's an adult now...’ And he got around to it. We just kind of all didn't talk about it as a family. It was just one of those understood things.” So it definitely seems like dad gets the MVP again.
In the end, Helix would produce all of his professional porn. “I didn't do anything with any other studio. That was the only professional studio that I worked with. The only things I ever did was homemade stuff like Chaturbate and OnlyFans.”
I asked Kacey if he had any people he particularly enjoyed working with, but he was very matter-of-fact about his career. “You know, there were never really any ‘favorites.’ I've really enjoyed working with Tyler Hill and Elliott Gray. Those are two fun scenes, but I never ... it was always a job, so I just kind of walked in and went to work.”
During his time with Helix, circumstances would necessitate Kacey moving back to Tennessee, but he kept shooting even after returning home—for a time. Just as it had been a boy who prompted his coming out, it was a boy who prompted his decision to leave porn behind.
“I got into a serious relationship with somebody who understood the business,” he said. “He understood that it was there before he was. He never really asked me to stop, but I could just kind of tell the look of dejection on his face whenever he had to drop me off to the airport to fly out and... I could tell it was taking a toll.”
“So after my last contract was up, I was like, ‘I'm gonna reevaluate.’ And I did. For a solid five or six months, things were going really good with me and him. Actually a lot better. We were getting very serious. So I decided that that was more important.”
Ultimately, the relationship didn’t last, but the decision to leave porn seems to have stuck. “I've had thoughts about it, but I kind of pushed them out of my head,” he admitted. “I've still got an OnlyFans. I haven't updated it in a minute. Sorry for that. But eventually, yeah, I'll put some more content up there.”
Kacey Edenfield / Troy Ryan - photo courtesy of Helix Studios
Life back in Tennessee took on a much more normal trajectory. “I did some college. I kind of realized school wasn't really for me. I hated high school. So I eventually got out and went into sales and kind of found a niche. I found out I was pretty decent at it, so I could make a good living, and kind of rolled with that.
Still an avid sports fan, Kacey has also found a new creative avenue in his podcast, Balls and Brews. “It's me my best friend Johnse. We drink a little bit, crack open a few beers... We sit here, we debate sports, talk about hot topics in sports, and just banter a little bit--you know, whatever comes to our mind. It's basically our daily conversations, we just started recording it.”
The program has been a little uneven, due to cancellations of seasons and disruptions of life due to COVID-19, but Kacey and Johnse are still putting out episodes. Their discussions range far beyond baseball. “Oh, it's everything. Football, baseball, basketball, golf. We get to NASCAR. I mean, there's a sport... MLS. I try to hit the Premier League when I can. We cover it all.”
For every sport, too, Kacey has his favorites: “I'm a diehard Braves fan, baseball wise... Diehard Tennessee fan, anything college. Diehard Steelers fan. And I'm a Cavs fan. I stayed loyal to Cleveland as a basketball fan before LeBron left, and after he left. And I'm a Manchester United fan soccer wise, that's probably my squad. That's probably kind of everything that I get alerts for on my phone, at least.”
What do they want to see come of the podcast? “If it expanded, that would be fantastic, but it's definitely just me and him having a good time and having our conversations out. We really appreciate the listens, but we don't kind of follow it. We don't do it for the listens, we kind of do it just to have a good time with each other. But if we grew, absolutely. Sports journalism was what I was going to school for before I stopped and that would be the ideal location to land in, for sure.”
So, really, what’s it like being back to the ‘normal life’ in Tennessee? Kacey, again, showed himself to be very down-to-earth. “You know, it's a good place to be,” he said. “Knoxville is the smallest big city in America, I like to call it, because everybody kind of knows everybody. But there's a ton of things to do. Obviously not right now with everything shut down. It can get kind of redundant at times, but it's never boring. It's a good place to raise a family.”
You can see a LOT more of Kacey as Troy Ryan at Helix Studios [link features PG-13 edits, but NSFW], or visit his Twitter @TroyRyanXXX—though these days you’ll see a lot more about sports than you’ll see nudes. And, for you sports fans, you can listen to Balls & Brews at anchor.fm/johnse-hatfield. And here's a piece we did a while back on homophobia in pro sports!
Got more time on your hands during weekends? Lounging and binge-watching your favorite TV shows seem like a great way to spend your downtime, but so is playing sports like golf.
Whether you’re a novice or someone looking for a productive way to spend the weekends, don’t miss an opportunity to hit the links in Nashville. There are various golf courses to explore alone, with your significant other or colleagues.
If you can afford a tee time, book in any of the following courses in the Music City:
Harpeth Hills Golf Course
The Harpeth Hills Golf Course reigns as one of the top golf courses in Nashville and the entire state of Tennessee. Set against the backdrop of the beautiful rolling hills of Percy Warner Park, this course is an ideal base to hit some balls and practice your swings. It features bentgrass greens in great shape, Bermuda fairways, two putting greens, and a driving range, making it the perfect playground for starters and experts alike. After playing, make sure not to pass the opportunity of grabbing a bite in the clubhouse.
Gaylord Spring Golf Links
Situated in northeast Nashville, Gaylord Spring Golf Links has got everything you need to relax and unwind after a stressful week—a 7,007-yard course, a stylish clubhouse to accommodate the best moments of your life, and jaw-dropping views to adore. This 18-hole course is deemed one of the best public courses by Golfweek magazine. With significant challenges every fairway bend, majestic natural sights, and friendly staff, it’s not hard to believe why it’s one of the best courses in Nashville.
Belle Meade Country Club
If you want a more exclusive experience, this course is the best place to practice hitting your golf balls. Haven of the Masters Golf Tournament, Belle Meade Country Club provides private, top-notch services and accommodation to members and their guests. This 18-home course spans more than 6,732 yards of the city’s most delicate greens. Register in their membership and have the chance to indulge in their member-only exquisite dining room.
Richland Country Club
Snugly situated between the lush Brentwood and beautiful Green Hills, Richland Country Club is teeming with history and elegance of Nashville. If you desire a luxurious, top-of-the-line service, this course is the place to be. It’s the perfect haven to relax, enjoy golf, and reconnect with nature. Premium amenities include the 18-hole, par 72 course, fitness center, tennis courts, swimming pool, and dining rooms. It’s the perfect weekend relaxing getaway to enjoy with a significant other.
Temple Hills Golf Club
Lush greens, challenging hazards, and relaxing fairways are what wait for you in the Temple Hills Golf Club. Featuring 27 holes, the first-rate amenities and staff of this country club offer a relaxing retreat away from the hustle and bustle of the city. A spacious course paired with extremely low membership fees? Best believe you’ll have a great time playing here. Just don’t forget to wear your hat to protect yourself from the scorching heat of the sun!
Are you ready to elevate your weekend on a relaxing course? If you can’t wait to level up your time off, gather your golf clubs, wear your most relaxing yet stunning outfit, and hit the links in any of the courses mentioned!
About the author
Jordan Fuller is a retired golfer who loves to travel around the globe for golf. During his off times, he writes about golf on http://golfinfluence.com/. His enthusiasm for the sport started at an early age when his father brought him to a local course. For more tips and tricks, Jordan has a lot to share on his site.
Second generation drag racer and out and proud Phoenix native Travis Shumake has been busy blazing a trail as the world's first ever openly gay drag racer. He’s also the former development director at LGBTQ youth nonprofit, one n ten and is continuing his mission to support Phoenix LGBTQ+ organizations as he takes on the world of racing.
But along with the excitement and exhilaration can come danger. We caught up with Travis to catch up with the thrills...and the spills.
Travis, we heard you recently had a crash: Are you okay?
Travis: I’m doing much better now! My broken ribs are feeling much better. This was my first racing accident. It came at such a bittersweet moment as just an hour earlier I had completed all the steps and requirements needed to earn my professional license with an unheard of 3.96 second pass. Typically you wait years to have a sub-four-second pass, so to do it on your licensing attempt put me over the moon.
Tell us how it happened.
Travis: It was a day of ultimate highs and lows. I was doing a “moderate” testing run, meaning not all the way to the finish line under power. I got out of the groove (the groove is the sweet spot 6ft wide in the center of the 30ft lane) and I over-corrected to get back in the middle. I crossed over the centerline and a timing device on the track got into the steering of the car and put me into the opposite wall at 298 mph. I sheared off the front left tire and destroyed the carbon fiber shell of the car before it ultimately came to rest on fire at the end of the track. I broke two ribs on impact and the G force meter in the car recorded a swing in lateral G forces of 18 Gs. The safety equipment in these cars is amazing making me very lucky to have walked away with such minor injuries.
Travis as a kid, with his dad Tripp Shumake
When did you come out and how did that go with your family and your dad, Tripp Shumake, in particular?
Travis: I came out to my friends in high school and my mom early in college. I was always the token gay of my teen years. I never had the chance to talk with my father about it before he passed away but several have confirmed he knew and that while he loved me it was a struggle given our family's strong Southern Baptist beliefs. My dad was my biggest cheerleader in life and I know we would have been okay, but I never had the chance to show him my authentic self before he died when I was 15.
Was there ever a time you had difficulty balancing your sexual orientation with the racing profession?
Travis: It’s an ongoing struggle. While my sexuality doesn't define me, it’s an important piece of the story given the lack of representation in motorsports. When I am strapped into an 11,000 HP rocket no one cares about who I date, but when it comes to sponsorship conversations and marketing opportunities to help get me on the track it is a differentiator that is important to embrace and highlight.
Racing is a fairly conservative and heteronormative sport — have you had any blowback from being out and proud and now the fastest gay on earth?
Travis: I really haven’t had any major pushback. The NHRA, its fans and drivers have welcomed me with open arms. I use to joke that I hoped soon we would be talking about me being a crappy driver more than me being gay...and now that I have wrecked a race car at 300 mph my dreams have come true (laughs). The talk isn’t about my sexuality, now I am just one of the bonafide boneheads who has crashed someone else’s race car. It’s not my favorite look, but it’s a new piece of my story.
How did growing up in Arizona shape who you are?
Travis: Arizona will always be home. I am a CenPho boy through and through. I think of these 3 years I’ve been in NYC as an exchange program. I am here sharpening my skills and life experiences so I can come back someday to make our state and city a better place. Arizona shaped me as a leader through programs like Valley Leadership, Suns Charities 88, and the opportunities I was afforded working at one-n-ten.
Phoenix recently had its Pride festival for the first time in two years — did you attend and how do you normally celebrate?
Travis: I was so excited to attend Pride this year since it was just a few days after the testing I was doing in Las Vegas. Unfortunately, because of the accident and my need to rest/recover we didn’t make it down. I was thinking about it the other day and because of the timing of my move and then quarantine this was actually the first Phoenix Pride I have missed since 2005. My first PHX Pride I rode on the Flagstaff Pride float, in a speedo, with gold body paint from head to toe...I take Pride very seriously (laughs).
Where do you find and how do you connect with your LGBTQ community?
Travis: One-n-ten is my forever home and family. Starting as a volunteer, then as a board member, and finally as the director of development not only did it shape my experience in Phoenix, it completely changed the trajectory of my life. One of my goals in racing is to use space on my car to feature/highlight LGBTQ+ non-profits in each of the 22 cities we race in over the season.
How did you spend the holidays, Christmas and the New Year?
Travis: My partner Daryl and I split the holiday between Phoenix and Sun Valley. We love coming home to the West to be with our families.
What's coming up for you in terms of racing?
Travis: I am deep into the hunt for sponsorship now. With all my licensing complete the only thing keeping me off the track is cash. I am turning over every rock looking for opportunities. The reach of the sport is huge and LGBTQ+ marketers and companies could do a lot in the space. Depending on the type of car and the number of races I do next season, sponsorships could range from $15,000-$3MM...that’s a big range and a lot to tackle, but I am not worried!
To keep up with the fastest gay on Earth, visit travisshumake.com.
"Hold it in babe, I'm coming!" Taurasi said live on ESPN while she was court-side and on-camera, referring to her wife Penny Taylor, who was due to deliver their second child at any moment.
Taylor was in Phoenix, ready to give birth, and following the Mercury’s 87-84, defeat of the Aces, Taurasi left the court and flew from Las Vegas to Phoenix, making it just in time to be by Taylor’s side.
A baby girl arrived at 4:24 a.m. on Saturday. She is the couple's second child after their son, Leo, was born in 2018.
It was a close call, timing-wise, but also the cherry on top for champ athlete Taurasi who led Phoenix in Game 1 of the WNBA Finals best-of-five series against Chicago on Sunday. The teams played the first two games of the series in Phoenix.
Taurasi was drafted by Phoenix first overall in the 2004 WNBA draft. She was a three-time NCAA champion at UConn, graduating to the WNBA in 2004. She has spent her entire career with the Mercury and is the WNBA’s all-time leading scorer.
She married Taylor, her former teammate and Phoenix’s current director of player development and performance, in May 2017.
Congratulations to the lovely couple!