March 6, 2022 — ARLINGTON, TEXAS — The barrel racing only got faster as the day went on inside AT&T Stadium, and HR Fameskissandtell ran the fastest of them all in the Final Four with owner-rider Shelley Morgan on board to win The American Rodeo in 14.609, worth a lucrative $100,000.
“How exciting is $100,000 in two runs?” Shelley exclaimed. “My husband Rex just texted me and said, ‘I’m so happy,’ and I love that more than anything. He’s my teammate—I just get on my horse and ride!”
As a Women’s Professional Rodeo Association top-10 invited contestant, Shelley and “Kiss” still had to make it through the snake pit of a Contender Round inside Fort Worth’s Cowtown Coliseum on March 4. Their 13.751 Friday night in Fort Worth advanced to The American Rodeo at AT&T Stadium in the No. 8 qualifying position.
The pattern this year inside the Home of the Dallas Cowboys in Arlington featured an offset alley and a wide-open first barrel in the middle of the arena, which caused problems for multiple horses throughout the day. Shelley says being able to get into the arena for early-morning barrel practice that day paid dividends. In their first run in the long round, Shelley and Kiss clocked a 14.941 for third, good enough to advance to the championship Final Four that same day.
“The first run, I really got in Kiss’ way, and as the announcer said, she dropped her shoulder at the second barrel. Well, I take credit for that, because I wasn’t up there riding her,” Shelley admitted. “My second run, I know what Kiss can do and that she’d rather do it on her own, so all I tried to do in the Final Four was push her to her spot and leave her alone. My husband made a good point between runs—he said, ‘Watch your videos and see how much you handle Kiss. You don’t even move your hand.’ When I want to make a good run, I leave her alone.”
Shelley says she dropped her hand and ‘unleashed the beast’ in the second run, and the resulting 14.609 made her $100,000 richer.
“Obviously in the first run, I wanted to be clean, and I think sometimes I concentrate too much on that. I wanted to get back to the Final Four, so it worked, but the second run I threw it all out there,” Shelley said. “When I want to throw it all out there, I give it to Kiss and let her take care of it.”
The three-time Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualifier knows how unique a horse like Kiss is—she compared the mare to a Super Bowl quarterback during her interview on stage after the win.
“I think Kiss loves running barrels, and that matters. Just like a person, if we enjoy what we’re doing, we’re better at it. I try to cater to what she needs—she has a different personality, and I’ve learned what she likes and doesn’t like. I try to keep her quiet and away from the action, so when she gets down here she can concentrate, do her thing and be the best,” Shelley said. “I think her having the drive and loving what she does makes a difference. Obviously the athletic ability and speed you’ve got to have, but she was so easy to train she pretty much trained herself. She’s always loved it, so if I can keep her loving it and healthy, that’s a big deal.”
The $100,000 paycheck thanks to The American is especially meaningful to the Eustace, Texas, barrel racer and former teacher and high school basketball coach.
“Wow, it’s really cool. This is the most I’ve ever won in my life [from one run],” Shelley said. “It helps so much in my future rodeo as we go down the road, especially these days with gas going up 50 cents every two days. I love to rodeo, so that money is going back into what I do, and it helps tremendously. You can win that much at the NFR and obviously a whole lot more, but it takes you more runs, so to win that much in two runs is really helpful. It’s a big step forward for the world of rodeo.”
The American Final Four Championship Round Barrel Racing Results
- Shelley Morgan, HR Fameskissandtell, 14.609, $100,000
- Jordon Briggs, Famous Lil Jet, 14.612, $25,000
- Devin Young, Jettin To Docs Bar, 14.767, $10,000
- Charlie (Maas) Johnson, Phoenixonthecimarron, 19.921*, $5,000 *denotes penalty
The American Long Round Barrel Racing Results (top four advance)
- Devin Young, Jettin To Docs Bar, 14.691 (2014 gelding, Rosey Joe Doc x Jettin In Rosebuds x Rosebuds Boy Cody)
- Jordon Briggs, Famous Lil Jet, 14.909, (2014 gelding, Dash Ta Fame x Blazin Black Beauty x Blazin Jetolena)
- Shelley Morgan, HR Fameskissandtell, 14.941 (2014 mare, CEO x Fames Fiery Kiss x Dash Ta Fame)
- Charlie Johnson, Phoenixonthecimarron, 15.087 (2010 gelding, Popular Resortfigure x Special Dashing Lady x Bully Bullion)
- Tasha Welsh, Seis Smashin Fame, 15.187
- Hailey Kinsel, DH Jess Stellar, 15.339
- Oceane Veilleux, Heavens Guy, 15.866
- Laura Mote, Reb Hot Redbull, 16.520
- Molly Otto, RF Back For The Cash, 18.250
- Amanda Welsh, Miss Smart Dash, 18.549