Barrel racer sues for barrel of money

The SE Texas Record Nov. 20, 2011, 1:38pm

We don't know much about barbering or barrel racing, but we naturally assumed that the latter is a little bit harder than the former.

Holding on to a fast-moving, quick-cutting horse has to be more difficult than holding on to a pair of scissors and a comb – no matter how fast the clip.

The only way to know for sure, of course, is to ask a barrel-racing barber.

That's a fairly select group, but we do know of at least one.

Denise Morgan is the owner and proprietor of Denise's beauty salon on Interstate 10 in Orange – and an accomplished barrel racer with 30 years' experience.

As a result of a riding accident two years ago, however, her barbering days may be over.

Morgan was exercising her mount at a roping arena in Beaumont on Nov. 14, 2009, when the horse suddenly slipped and fell while making a cut. She claims to have broken her wrist in the fall and no longer can hold scissors to cut hair.

Early this month, two years after the incident, Morgan filed suit in Jefferson County District Court against John Shackelford Jr, owner of the roping arena and sometime sponsor of Denise's barrel racing competitions.

She alleges that John failed to disc and plow the arena properly, leaving a patch of grass on which the horse slipped.

Morgan is suing for past and future medical expenses, mental anguish, pain, impairment, disfigurement, and lost wages, plus all court costs.

Her injury may have put an end to her barbering career, as she contends, but it hasn't kept her from barrel racing.

Just this year, on April 30th, with John as her sponsor, Morgan competed as Draw # 126 in the National Barrel Horse Association's Liberty Texas Open, completing the course on Poco San Peppy Smoke in 16.174 seconds.

You can purchase a video of her ride online at

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