Remembering Roping-Horsemanship Star Almosta Boom

Melinda and Robbie Kelly’s special gelding lost a battle with salmonella on September 17.

The American Quarter Horse Journal

Melinda Mays, Almosta Boom and Robbie Kelly (Credit: Journal)

Almosta Boom unexpectedly fell ill with salmonella and colitis, and after a courageous two-week battle, he was euthanized on September 17.

Better known as "Little Al," the 1999 bay gelding found his forever home in August 2005 with Melinda and Robbie Kelly of Weatherford, Texas. By Boomernic and out of Paulas Little Lena by Doc O’Lena, Little Al was bred and trained by AQHA Professional Horseman Al Dunning of Scottsdale, Arizona. With his breeder, Little Al earned money as a 3- and 4-year-old in reined cow horse competition before moving on to the roping pen.

Robbie successfully roped on Little Al to several AQHA World Championship Show qualifications, a performance Register of Merit and an All American Quarter Horse Congress reserve championship in amateur heeling. 

Above: Melinda and Little Al Compete in horsemanship. Below: Danielle Olafson and Little Al at the 2010 Youth World Cup. (Credit: Journal)

Melinda decided to try a different avenue with Little Al – amateur horsemanship and all-around classes. In amateur horsemanship, the duo earned a performance Register of Merit, then AQHA Superior, plus a National Snaffle Bit Association reserve world championship, three Congress finalist medals, two AQHA World Show qualifications, an AQHA Regional championship and reserve championship, as well as multiple circuit awards. 

Expanding to more all-around events, Melinda and Little Al won three Texas Quarter Horse Association champion of champions classes, five all-around awards, three reserve all-around awards and earned points in seven diverse events, ranging from showmanship to hunt seat equitation and trail. These were pretty unique accomplishments for a “cow pony.”

One special highlight from Little Al's all-around years was the 2010 American Quarter Horse Youth World Cup in Oklahoma City. Working for Team Canada, he won medals in several classes, culminated by winning a gold medal with Danielle Olafson in the horsemanship showcase event.

Returning to his cow horse roots in recent years, Melinda and Little Al qualified for the AQHA World Show in amateur ranch riding three years straight, 2014-2016. They were also nearing a Superior in amateur ranch riding at the time of his death.

This year, Melinda and Little Al also discovered Versatility Ranch Horse competition. They were already qualified in several events for the Zoetis AQHA Versatility Ranch Horse World Championships in March 2016 in Houston, and they had rediscovered Little Al's love of cutting and herd work. Excited about their future in VRH, tragically, their dreams were cut short. 

Melinda and Robbie have decided to try to make sense of this tragedy by donating to the American Quarter Horse Foundation in honor of Almosta Boom, with a focus on research of infectious diseases in hopes of saving the next horse stricken by salmonella.

The Kellys add, “We bid farewell to Little Al as he slides into heaven to enjoy endless green grass, to chase fresh cows and to change leads until his heart's content!” 

The Journal accepts submitted obituaries for horses and humans who were part of the American Quarter Horse industry. Obituaries in the print magazine must be 300 words or less and can include a photo. The Journal’s editors reserve the right to edit for length and style. You may submit your obituaries with or without photos to

Almosta Boom (Credit: courtesy of Melinda Mays)