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Meet the Member Billy Barnett
story by Lindsay King
Roping with the greats is the only way to truly reach your potential. This holds true for Billy Barnett from San Tan Valley, Arizona. “I roped with Ben Johnson before he passed away. He and Ben Miller helped me get into roping quite a bit,” said the header and calf roper. “To be able to sit around as an 18-year-old kid and listen to the rodeo stories of those guys was an opportunity not many get in their lifetime. I was blessed to have that in my life.” Billy looked up to Clay O’Brien Cooper and all the other top guys, but had a personal relationship with Miller and Johnson, making them his favorites then and now. “I have known a lot of world champion ropers and absorbed a lot of knowledge just by watching them.” Billy started out by riding bulls in junior rodeos but has roped his entire life. “My dad owned a feed store and horse stables way back when, so I have always enjoyed being around horses. When I was younger and did not have much money, it was easier to get into the rough stock events. Once I got older and could afford to rope, I have done just that.”
For the last 20 years, Billy has owned and operated Rattlesnake Arena in San Tan Valley, putting on ropings, barrel races, team penning events, junior rodeos and roping clinics. “My greatest accomplishment in rodeo are the people I get to help through the sport. I love giving lessons and watching my students learn and grow. Just knowing that I am good enough to give advice to someone and they can take that and win with it is in a league of its own when it comes to accomplishments.” The people Billy has met and places he has visited because of rodeo are the most important aspect of continuing the sport. “The NSPRA is a lot of fun just for the simple fact that it is not really about the money to be won. There are a lot of friends that I get to compete with and it is neat that we are still able to rodeo and compete at a high level.” Many NSPRA competitors own businesses and simply do not have the time to rodeo full time. “This association allows us to still compete for the big buckles alongside our family and friends.”
In 2005, Billy started All-Around Hauling, moving anything he can with his dump trucks. “My father has owned his roofing business for more than 50 years, I went with him and did a lot of the grunt work when I was in high school. As I got older he started taking me with him on the bids, teaching me the sales and customer service side of things. I did not really want to roof in Arizona, so I started my own thing.” Billy has always enjoyed driving, so he went that route when starting his business. In 2004, he married Yvette and they have three daughters: Katie, Presley and Cheyanne. Olivia, their three-year-old granddaughter, is their pride and joy.
After getting tired of being beat up in the bull riding, Billy took up heading and calf roping. If he had to choose a favorite event, he can’t. “There are a lot of variables for both events. Team roping can be frustrating because if you are on, usually your partner is not. But calf roping everything comes down to you and if you did all the things you needed to or not.” Billy rodeoed professionally from 1999 to 2005 in the Turquoise Circuit. “I quit rodeo for almost ten years, so I could make a better living for my family. In 2015, I picked up a rope, got a horse and started competing again.” For Billy, rodeo is all about being with friends and family. “And trying to make a living of course, that is why we are there, is to compete and win money and qualify for the circuit finals every year. I love being around my friends and family most of all though.”