Soar High Friend! Remembering Amarillo Radio Legend Shotgun Kelly
One of Amarillo's radio legends passed away over the weekend.
John Fulton passed away over the weekend. Now, John Fulton might not ring a bell for most, but the name Shotgun Kelly, you probably know pretty well.
John got his start in radio, KLUR in Wichita Falls in the early 70s but made his way to Amarillo as fast as he could to become Shotgun Kelly, and work for KDJW, KQFX, KBUY94 FM / KTNZ (1010 AM), KATP, and so many more.
Amarillo radio listeners LOVED Shotgun Kelly. He was just that type of radio guy that people fall in love with.
I had the privilege of working with Shotgun in the early years of my radio career. I was a young kid in college working for Kat Country 101.9, now known as 101.9 the Bull.
I learned a lot from Shotgun, and I learned a lot about what not to do as well. He was an amazing radio personality who Amarillo loved.
I was thinking a lot about him when I heard the news this weekend. Here are some of my favorite memories:
I had just graduated college, in fact, my graduation ceremony was the night before, and I walked into the radio station, which was on Winners Circle at the time, he met me at the door. He asked me, "so how does it feel?" To which my response was, "great, I graduated!." He followed up with, "How does it feel to know, you wasted $30k on a degree you won't ever use." I just laughed and walked to the studio.
Oh, and just so you know, my degree came in handy during my 2-year hiatus from the radio. This leads me to, some advice he once shared. He told me that radio gets into your blood, it never leaves. You may have a moment in life where you run from it, but it will drag you back in. He was right. Once it is in your blood, it's in your blood.
Another great memory, of Shotgun, was this man loved his cowboy boots. However, the sneaker/cowboy boot was invented, and when he didn't have his boots on, he had on his sneaker boots. When he walked into the building with those boot sneakers for the first time, he had no problem showing them off.
We had a CD release party for Cooder Graw, he pulled his smoker into the parking lot the morning of the event, he fired it up before he went on the air to do his morning show, then after he made sure we had some good grub to celebrate these guys and their new CD. This was also the day, I thought I would be smart and try to take my truck up a steep hill at the station and end up high-centering it. Shotgun walked to the back of the building, and looked at me, "Well what did you do that for?" Pulled his truck around and freed me.
Nearly every year I worked for him, he would host a 4th of July party at his home, and we'd crawl on his roof and watch the fireworks. He was always gung-ho about competing in the Chamber BBQ and the Make-A-Wish Chili cookoff. That man could cook a brisket and a big pot of chili. It was the best brisket ever and I've yet to find another like it.
I was introduced to so many people because of Shotgun Kelly, and I'm so very thankful for the doors it opened. Not only that, but he introduced me to some of the best country artists and songs in the history of country music.
He loved radio and he loved his listeners. He loved his community and was involved in many organizations.
After getting out of radio, he worked for the Potter County Sheriff's Department. At the time of his death, he was the Chief of Police at Lake Tanglewood.
I'm sad that I lost touch with him over the years, but I'm glad I got to know him. I'm very blessed I got to work with him and I'm so glad I got to learn radio from him.
I spent most of my evening trying to find all my pictures from my early radio years (they were actual pictures that you had to take with a camera and then go develop). However, I didn't have any luck, they are in a box somewhere in my home. I have a ton of pics with Shotgun (and his sneaker boots). Maybe one day I'll find them and share them.
He will be truly missed. Hopefully, he found a mic and a radio station in heaven to spin all that great classic country.
Sending all the love to Jan and his son John in this heartbreaking time.
Funeral Services will be Thursday, July 14, 2022, at 2:00 PM at Lake Tanglewood Community Church.