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 Emily Pate
story by Lindsay Whelchel
This past season, Emily Pate took the Arkansas Cowboys Association by storm. At their finals for the year, she won the championship, both rounds and the finals average, in goat tying and the Rookie of the Year in breakaway roping. Emily’s wins netted her over $1000 in prize money and to top it off, she even secured the All Around Cowgirl title for the season. Oh, and did we mention she’s just 16 years old?
Emily grew up riding horses. Rodeo was also in her blood. Emily’s dad Mark rode bulls and qualified for the International Finals Rodeo in 1990. He passed his love of rodeo on to his daughter who plans to buy her permit and pro rodeo once she turns 18. Emily entered her first barrel race at the age of 4 and qualified twice to the national finals for Little Britches in barrel racing, goat tying and breakaway roping. She hopes to make the IFR one day like her dad.
“She could ride a horse before she could walk. It’s been her passion all her life. She’s always wanted to rodeo and loves horses,” Mark says of his daughter’s drive to make rodeo a part of her life.
“I just always try to keep God first and family second, then rodeo and always try to find a way to do it,” Emily says of her life motto and her sport. And while rodeo may be Emily’s focus when it comes to competition, the sophomore at Salem High School, who also competes in high school rodeo, is active on several other school athletic teams too. Emily runs track and plays softball and was on the basketball team until this year when she chose to let the game go to focus more on rodeo.
The Pate family is close knit, they say. In addition to Mark, Emily has one older sister Bethany who is studying to become a teacher and her mom Holly, who support her in her rodeo career.
Mark describes Emily as a happy-go-lucky kid who always has a smile on her face. Emily makes it a point to try to ride her horses daily and practice when she can. She has four competition horses currently and credits rodeo for teaching her responsibility and dedication when it comes to caring for her animals and pursuing her goals.
The 2015 season in the ACA will mean one change for Emily, she had to graduate up to the next level from juniors in barrel racing, but, like in her other endeavors, she is taking with her an attitude of complete commitment.
“I’ve always just known that whatever I do, I just try to give 100 percent,” she says. No matter what the future holds for Emily, she’s confident it will involve horses and rodeo, so look out because this cowgirl has her eye on the prize.