National Barrel Horse Association member Kelley Carrington French juggles racing for an NFR qualification with racing monster trucks around the world.
By Blanche Schaefer
Kelley Carrington French leads no ordinary life. When she’s not loading up to hit the rodeo road with her mare Slice Of Peachfame, Kelley and her husband Robert French of Boston, Georgia, are running in a different kind of arena racing monster trucks.
“We’ve raced them all over the world,” Kelley said. “We own the trucks. We used to [produce] shows years ago, but we’ve gotten out of doing shows so now we just come with the trucks and participate in those shows.”
A multiple NBHA 1D champion and pro rodeo winner, Kelley’s competitive spirit translates well to the monster truck industry. However, you can’t draw out of a monster truck show if conditions aren’t perfect.
“They’re both very competitive. You have to rely on yourself, you have to be flexible,” Kelley said. “When you go to the monster truck show, people pay to come to the show so there is no ‘No.’ You have to do it. If something breaks you have fix it, you have to improvise, you have to please the crowd.”
She laughs that the biggest difference between the two events is the guaranteed paycheck with the trucks.
“Going to the rodeo, same thing—you want to go in there, do the best you can, please the crowd, make the best run you can, be competitive, so they’re both very similar,” Kelley said. “The only thing at the monster truck show, we actually get paid, but at the rodeo if you don’t do well you don’t get paid!”
Thankfully, Kelley has the type of horse who greatly ups the odds of getting paid. She’s won about $40,000 in Equi-Stat reported earnings by the end of 2019 in two years of running her 7-year-old mare “Slice,” including a ninth-place finish at the NBHA World Championship Show in 2018 and a fourth-place finish in 2019.
The pair recently won a go-round at the Southeastern Circuit Finals, giving Kelley an extra boost of confidence as she heads out to make a bid for the National Finals Rodeo in 2020.
“We’ve made the Circuit Finals the last two years we’ve had her. We definitely are working our way toward the NFR, to be honest—just continue rodeoing with her and see where we can go,” Kelley said. “We took her out [West] two summers ago and she did really well—she placed out in Utah quite a bit, placed in Colorado, won a rodeo in Colorado, and last summer we stayed home and I worked some younger horses and gave her the summer off. This year, we are ready to take that step forward.”
Read more about Kelley and Slice in the March 2020 issue of Barrel Horse News!
Below: Kelley Carrington French and Slice Of Peachfame at the 2018 NBHA World Championship Show in Perry, Georgia. Photo by Tammy Sronce