story by Michele Toberer Nineteen-year-old BJ Billingsley has been a member of the Arkansas Cowboys Association for four years, competing as a tie-down roper. BJ […]
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Meet the Member Betsy Roemer
story by Michele Toberer
Reading is one of Betsy Roemer’s favorite classes at Brookland High School, where the 16-year- old is a sophomore this year. She loves the interesting books she’s assigned to read, and the way they delve into all the literary details of books like Frankenstein and To Kill a Mockingbird. Betsy also enjoys her involvement in the school’s FFA program, where she shows market goats and takes part in the FFA horse judging team. Betsy not only appreciates all she has learned about judging horse performance and body condition, she delights in the fact that she has ridden horses since she was just 2 ½ years old, spending much of her time since then in the rodeo arena.
Betsy lives in Jonesboro, Arkansas, with her parents Matt and Kerry Roemer, sister Anna, 17, and 12-year-old brother Clay. Rodeo and livestock have been a part of the family’s life for many years, as Kerry showed cattle as a child in Illinois, and Matt roped and rode horses at playdays growing up in Nebraska. Kerry’s work brought the family from Illinois to Arkansas several years ago, and now she runs the HR department for Peco Foods, in Pocahontas, Arkansas; and Matt works as a telephone box repairman for Erico. Both of Betsy’s siblings have taken part in rodeo; Anna competed until three years ago, when she became more heavily involved with FFA activities. Clay has qualified for the Junior NFR the past two years; 2016 in bareback riding, and saddlebronc riding in 2017. Betsy competes in goat tying, breakaway roping and barrel racing in both the Arkansas Cowboy Association and Central Arkansas Little Britches Rodeo Association. Because of the way many ACA rodeos are co-sanctioned, it is often possible for Clay and Betsy to compete at the same rodeos even if they’re not at a CALBRA rodeo.
Many teenagers lead busy lifestyles these days, but Betsy pushes that to the limits as she wakes up early each morning to start work, driving to a neighbor’s farm 15-minutes down the road, to feed and clean stalls. She then comes home to feed horses, cattle, her show goats and goats she uses to practice goat tying. Once all those chores are done, she heads to school, which is most often followed by teaching riding and goat tying lessons, riding horses for clients, taking a roping lesson herself, or babysitting; finishing up the day with feeding all of the animals their supper.
In competition, Betsy is grateful to have great horses to carry her in the events she loves. Derby is a special 18-year old Quarter Horse mare that Betsy bought from Cayla Cory, and she’s been the rock of building Betsy’s barrel racing skills. Cayla has been also been instrumental in helping her with Derby and keeping her tuned up and working as a team with Betsy. “She has been so helpful to me, and she is a very good person to be with, all the way around.” Betsy bought a 6-year-old sorrel mare, named Fern, in October 2017, and although she hasn’t had a chance to run her much yet, they won the open barrel racing at an ACA shortly after purchasing her. Tink is a little, 8-year-old bay mare Betsy has owned for about 3 years, and Betsy rides her for goat tying and breakaway roping. “She likes to be alone, she’s not a real fan of people, but once you show Tink her job, she does it. If she sees a goat at the end of the arena, she’s ready to turn it on and do her job.”
Betsy knows having goals are extremely important in life, and she takes setting them seriously. She’s not made a decision on where she wants to attend yet, but definitely plans to college rodeo, and would like to become an Occupational Therapist, utilizing horses in therapy for kids, one day. She wants to finish her rodeo season strong, making finals in both associations. “I really want to get stronger on the mental side, so that I am more consistent and better at handling pressure.” Betsy is proud to represent Willard Rope Company and the 2018 Outlaw Equine Youth Rodeo Team.