story by Siri Stevens photos by Jake Hodnett/Jake Brakes Pics Jake Hodnett started taking rodeo pictures after his dad, Jim Hodnett, asked for help at […]
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Meet the Member Billy Peters
story by Lindsay Humphrey
Long-time Sublette, Kansas, native Billy Peters is a self-proclaimed late bloomer in the world of rodeo. Compared to his peers at the time, high school seniors, he was definitely behind the ball, but he’s proven that it’s never too late to get started in the toughest sport on dirt. “I’m not even sure what originally drew me to team roping, I think I had some friends who were doing it and I just got the idea from them somehow,” Billy said. “I came across F Diamond Quarter Horses online and called asking about rope horses.” The owner, Randy Fischer, was fresh out of rope horses, but he was curious about this high schooler diving headfirst into the sport.
“Randy asked me all about what I was trying to do, and I told him I had absolutely no knowledge. He invited me to the very first Journey to the Cross Rodeo Bible Camp.” The camp has since grown from less than ten kids to over a hundred each summer. Billy credits that camp as the springboard into his current rodeo career. “When I got to camp, I met Randy in person and he introduced me to Doug Smidt. They found some horses for me to borrow and taught me from the ground up.” Unofficially Billy’s rodeo mentors, Randy and Doug taught him the very basic fundamentals of riding and horsemanship as well as the finer details of roping in more recent years.
Only a year after throwing his first loops horseback, Billy was at Garden City Community College competing for the team. He’s what you could call a walk-on athlete because he didn’t get a scholarship until the following spring semester. “When I was roping in college I was still learning about the barrier and how to read and handle steers. It wasn’t until a few years after college that I was at a level that I could start shaving seconds off a time with those skills.” Even today Billy is still a sponge, soaking up anything and everything he can from those around him. He’s spent the last two years building up his business – Liberal Concrete LLC – at home so he could get back to the roping pen every weekend like he used to do.
This spring has found Billy searching for his next great head horse. It’s a tough market for buyers, especially when you’re hunting for a finished head horse that doesn’t cost six figures. Billy’s optimistic that he can be mounted well enough to enter up in the Prairie Circuit alongside his wife, Skyla. They’ll also be at CePRA, NSRA and KPRA events this season. Billy’s been a KPRA member for the last six years. It’s the most accessible association for him. “Every weekend, all summer long, I can go to a KPRA rodeo within driving distance and still be able to compete somewhere else the next day and go back home that night. I’m right in the central area of most of the KPRA rodeos.”
As the crow flies, the KPRA president, Leon Winfrey, lives only ten miles away from Billy and they rope together on a regular basis. He’s also continued to rope with Randy who still lives just down the road from Garden City Community College. Billy roped with Randy almost every day when he was in school. He’s forged a strong relationship with him. So much so that Randy married Billy and Skyla last summer. That’s what keeps Billy coming back to the KPRA: the community he’s built in just a few years. “There’s just a lot of good people in the KPRA. Good rodeos, good stock, good payout, and good people. That’s what the KPRA is all about.”