Kelly Mancinelli and KN Epic Faith won the Dinosaur Classic Futurity average and over $5,200 in Glen Rose, Texas, from January 25–28.

Article by Morgan Anderson | Photos by Image Hounds

The Dinosaur Classic barrel race held January 25-28, 2024 hosted 2,081 entries and paid a total $134,734 at the Somervell County Expo Center in Glen Rose, Texas.

Amateur competitor and small animal veterinarian Dr. Kelly Mancinelli, DVM, grew up showing western pleasure horses in her hometown of Rock Springs, Wyoming. She didn’t start barrel racing until she was in veterinary school at Colorado State University.

Upon marrying her husband, Justin Mancinelli, Kelly relocated to Cleburne, Texas, where she got her first glimpse of the lucrative barrel racing industry directly in the heart of horse country.

After her first successful futurity horse in 2021, Kelly has since been hooked. Three years later, she captured her first futurity average championship on KN Epic Faith.

Morgan Anderson for Barrel Horse News: Tell me a little bit about Birdie.

Kelly Mancinelli: “I purchased Birdie from Kelsey Morehouse, who did a great job of putting a fantastic foundation on her and getting her really broke as a two-year-old. Due to my busy work schedule as a veterinarian, I sent Birdie to professional barrel horse trainer Jennilee Thompson of Seminole, Oklahoma, who started Birdie on the barrels for me and did most of her training as a three-year-old.”

BHN: How was the transition from Jenilee’s program to you as the rider and competitor?

Kelly: “I think the transition was fairly seamless because both Kelsey and Jenilee did such a good job getting Birdie really broke. Jenilee has a similar style of riding that I do, so I feel like it has been very easy for me to ride behind her. Birdie is a very confident mare that knows her job, and she is very smart and thinks things through, which I really appreciate about her. I’ve lucked out and bought some great horses, and she’s one of them.”

BHN: How has the futurity year gone so far leading up to this win?

Kelly: “Our first futurity of the year was the OKC Futurity, and we were just out of placing in the rounds and average. We then went to the Golden Buckle Futurity in Waco, Texas, where we finished 10th in the average and also qualified for the Breeder’s Challenge. It was really exciting to carry that momentum into the Dinosaur Classic and take the futurity average win there.”

BHN: What did this win mean to you and your barrel racing career thus far?

Kelly: “I am really grateful for the amateur futurity sidepots and what they have done for the industry, allowing those who don’t do this professionally to still be able to compete and win money. This win really meant a lot to my confidence as a rider, knowing that I can compete with the best in the business even as an amateur competitor.”

BHN: What do you feel has played a part in your success in riding futurity barrel horses for such a short time?

Kelly: “I think showing western pleasure for so long gave me a great foundation and background of horsemanship. The body control, softness, and suppleness of the horse that we used in showing western pleasure is the same as barrel racing, you are just going faster. I have also been fortunate to have had help along the way from several professional futurity barrel horse trainers, and I love to watch the professional trainers ride as much as I can at the futurities. There is something to learn from everyone.”

BHN: Who would you like to thank?

Kelly: “My husband, Justin, is a huge supporter of mine, and my mom, Denise Lear, has always been there for me with the horses since I was eight years old. I couldn’t have done it without her.”

Pull Quotes:

I love to watch the professional trainers ride as much as I can at the futurities. There is something to learn from everyone.”

“This win really meant a lot to my confidence as a rider, knowing that I can compete with the best in the business even as an amateur competitor.”

Dinosaur Classic Barrel Race Results:

Dinosaur Classic Futurity Round One: 1) Ashley Schafer/Move Over Ole Son/14.961/$2,277; 2)Scamper Hill Cole/Ima Epic Burr Bug/15.034/$1,771; 3) Serena Hubbell/Dew Me Famous/15.055/$$1,434; 4) Kelly Mancinelli/KN Epic Faith/15.150/$1,096; 5) Ashley Schafer/Super Sonic Sophie/15.213/$843. Dinosaur Classic Futurity Round Two: 1) Kaiden Roberts/Dash Of Vanilla Perk/15.065/$2,277; 2) Trinity Thompson/RCK Hippy Dippy Dime/15.133/$1771; 3) Leslie Richards/Asgoodasfamous/15.161/$1,434; 4) Kelly Mancinelli/KN Epic Faith/15.203/$1,096; 5) Randi Knudson/TJR Shez Jaded/15.240/$834.

Dinosaur Classic Futurity Average: 1) Kelly Mancinelli/KN Epic Faith/30.353/$3,036; 2) Kaiden Roberts/Dash Of Vanilla Perk/30.354/$2,361; 3) Ashley Schafer/Move Over Ole Son/30.382/$1,912; 4) Serena Hubbell/Dew Me Famous/30.721/$1,462; 5) Randi Knudson/TJR Shez Jaded/30.726/$1,125; 6) Leslie Richards/Asgoodasfamous/30.742/$787; 7) Jodee Miller/RDC Smitty Becall/30.791/$562.

Author

Morgan Anderson is a professional futurity barrel horse trainer and contributor to Barrel Horse News. Email comments or questions to [email protected]

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