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.”
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…”
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.”
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!