Taylor Munsell’s Hotrod Song AKA “Colonel” Wins Team Player of 2023 NFBR

Taylor Munsell leads the average following day one of NFBR competition—narrowly missing hitting the dirt in Round 4 thanks to the agility of teammate “Colonel.”

Taylor Munsell jokingly waves her hands following her near-miss in Round 4 of the 2023 NFBR.
Taylor Munsell jokingly waves her hands following her near-miss in Round 4 of the 2023 NFBR. Photo by Jamie Arviso

Taylor Munsell rules the South Point Arena, winning a smattering of go-rounds at the 2022 NFBR and taking two of the five go-rounds on day one of the 2023 NFBR with the help of Hotrod Song, known as “Colonel.”

The pair has won $12,027 together so far and still has five rounds left to cash in.

HotRod Song’s background

The pair first united in 2021 when Tommy Johnson send Colonel to Munsell for some training. He’d been heeled on and shown in the tie-down roping at the AQHA World Show in 2020 by Newt Nipp—and it was time for him to add another skill to his repertoire.

“When I got him I couldn’t even lope a circle on him,” Munsell recalled. “He was so feely that he would switch leads on me. He left him with me and after a few months I thought ‘I can’t watch someone else beat me on him, so I got to own him.’”

The pair went on to win Munsell’s hometown rodeo that year—the Woodward Elks Rodeo in Oklahoma.

“He’s a great rodeo horse,” Munsell said. “He’s what you need. He scores, runs and is strong. He stops super hard and can be fast. In breakaway you don’t want your horse super tight, but sometimes they have to be to get those sub-two-second runs.”

Colonel became an integral part of Munsell’s string alongside iconic bay gelding “Monster” and palomino gelding Pals Star Shine, called “Ray.”

Fast forward to Las Vegas 2023

Munsell had to make the difficult decision to leave Monster due to a nagging injury. Colonel was the No. 1 pick and the pair started day one off with a bang—winning Round 1 with a 2.0-second run.

Winning Round 1 was definitely the most memorable,” Munsell said. “I wasn’t going for the round win like I was last year—but this year I was ready to score smart and let Colonel make up the ground. It happened to work out great. I maxed the barrier out on that run and winning the first one really sets your finals up.”

The pair sunk another round win during Round 3, Munsell roping in 2.0 seconds once more. At this point, she went to the lead in the average with a time of 7.1 on three head.

Let the fun begin

When Munsell was stopping Colonel at the calf run-through Monday evening she noticed the ground towards the middle of the arena was on the sticky side, but didn’t think too much of it. That was, until Round 4 when Colonel went to the ground and his back feet (which have small sliders) totally stuck. To an onlooker, it looked like he may have intentionally shorted her—but Munsell insisted that he’d tried his best.

“It was a good run—my horse felt great running up to the calf and through my delivery,” Munsell explained, “I feel like Colonel was running super hard and just hit and stuck. I all BUT fell off. The only reason I stayed on was because I was pushing on Colonel’s forehead. All I could think was, ‘Get your slack and let it break off the horn before you fall off.’”

Hotrod Song, known as "Colonel" hopped back underneath Munsell as she almost came off the right side during Round 4 at the 2023 NFBR.
Hotrod Song, known as “Colonel” hopped back underneath Munsell as she almost came off the right side during Round 4 at the 2023 NFBR. Photo by Jamie Arviso

Colonel tolerated it like a saint, even hopping back underneath Munsell after the initial jam in the saddle popped her forward and out of position. Despite all of the antics, they still split the No. 6 spot with a time of 2.9 seconds, winning $292.

“Someone said ‘Could you imagine falling off at the Finals?’ and I was like ‘I’ve already won two rounds,” Munsell recalled. “It doesn’t matter as long as that rope went tight around that calves’ neck and I got a flag.’”

Munsell plans to get back on Colonel for day two—unless she draws a soft calf in which case she’ll call on Ray.

In-depth coverage of NFBR horses and beyond is supported by Vitalize Equine.

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