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 Amber Taylor
story by Michele Toberer
“I really like everything about the ACA, it’s a great association to be a part of; the producers are wonderful, and the people that work to make it all possible are wonderful. Once you’re a part of the ACA you won’t want to leave, because you’ve just met your new family.” In 2011, Amber Taylor joined the Arkansas Cowboy Association and is grateful to have won the 2011 and 2015 ACA Champion Goat Tyer titles, also qualifying for the finals in goat tying each year she’s competed. Amber recently won the 2018 Finals Goat Tying Average Champion title. Amber goat ties on a 27-year old, flea-bitten grey gelding named Tick, “He’s a fireball, he’s just an amazing all-around horse that I can do many events on, but goat tying has been great for him since he’s older; it isn’t too hard on him but keeps him moving.” Last year after buying a finished breakaway and barrel racing gelding, she decided to add breakaway roping to her list of events. “I had always had a rope in my hands and roped the dummy, but not put it together on a horse. This is actually my rookie year in breakaway roping, and although I started a little late in the season, my confidence has grown; I’ve had a really good year and was very close to making the finals.” She credits the 17-year-old black gelding, Cricket, and her hauling partner Hannah Church, for the success she’s been having this last year. “Cricket is extremely honest and consistent, he makes it easy for me to do what I need to do. He takes all the grief out of it, so all I need to do is worry about catching. I think everyone’s dream is to go professional one day. I’d say right now, rodeo would be considered a hobby for me, but I have great hopes for the future with Cricket. I think once I figure him out it’s going to be all up from there.”
Amber spent the first 8 years of her life in Colorado before moving to Salem, Arkansas when she and her mother, Vicki, made the move from the higher Colorado altitude to help with Vicki’s health. Amber’s father, Don Taylor, stayed on in Colorado until retiring from his position as the Colorado state water commissioner, and has since joined his family in Salem. As Amber and Vicki were getting established in Arkansas, they bought a little grey Appaloosa-Welsh pony named Bill from a new neighbor, and she got her feet wet in rodeo. “Bill was my first horse ever, and I did everything on him, I just started entering and figuring things out, but soon after, I bought a bay gelding at a little higher competition level; we called him Tom Sawyer.” Amber’s horses have continued to be an integral part of what she does and what she wants to do in her future.
In Amber’s childhood, she competed in rodeos produced by Tommy Rand. “I continually run into people that all started there at Rand rodeos. My mom brought me there, and hauled me all over the place, letting me enter many local rodeos, and run in the Central Arkansas Little Britches Association.” Amber competed as a barrel racer, pole bender and goat tyer. After graduating from Salem High School, Amber spent several years working at many of the local livestock yards and riding colts for clients.
Amber has been working for the past year at United Country Diamond G Realty in Mountain View, Arkansas as an office manager, and recently obtained her real estate license. “I love it, my schedule as a realtor can be as flexible as I need it to be, giving me plenty of time to go to rodeos and be home with my horses.” Amber also works as a volunteer firefighter. “I love going to rodeos and riding my horses, but when my pager goes off, I’m always ready to head out, I just love being able to go help people. To me, even rodeo isn’t only about wanting to see yourself do good, it’s about seeing everyone do good. The people that have helped me to get better have shown me that I can always say something to someone else to help them.”