Meet the Member Eva Daughhetee
story by Michele Toberer Living life to the fullest is what Eva Daughhetee is all about, and she’s enjoyed having the Arkansas Cowboys Association as […]
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 was the 2017 ACA Rookie Champion Tie-Down Roper and has qualified for finals three years so far. BJ is anxious for the green light to start entering rodeos again and has his sights set on qualifying for the 2020 ACA season finals in October. “The ACA has been great, there are a lot of really nice people and good rodeos. I can’t wait for the weekends where we can load up and head to an ACA rodeo again.”
BJ is the youngest of Melanie and Billy Bob’s three children, and was born and raised in Evening Shade, Arkansas. His older brother, Dakota, 22, also ropes calves, and it was his sister, Becky’s husband, Briar King, that turned him on to calf roping in the beginning. “Briar King is my sister’s husband, and he and I started going to Shane Goodson’s arena 5 or 6 years ago. He helped us get started with flanking and tying calves and we have never stopped. Charlie Hastings really took his time with me and taught me a lot about calf roping in the beginning; and his son Terry, and grandson Toby have both helped me a lot too. I traveled and competed with Briar for quite a while, but I have been traveling with Toby since Briar started staying home more with his family.”
While in high school, BJ played football, basketball, and baseball as a 9th grader, but once he started roping, his focus shifted completely to rodeo. After graduating from Cave City High School in 2019, BJ has mainly roped and worked at his family’s livestock yard in Ash Flat, Arkansas. “My great-grandparents, Bill and Alice Nix, started the Ash Flat Livestock Auction about 60 years ago. My grandfather, Mike Nix owns it now, and my parents and I all work there. We have livestock sales every Friday, and I do a little bit of everything there at work. I plan to continue with a career at our family’s business in the future.”
“I love tie-down roping because it is action-packed and fast paced. I like to watch the pros like Fred Whitfield, Cody Ohl, and of course Roy Cooper. I don’t really have many hobbies; I pretty much just rope and like to watch roping!”
BJ is grateful to his 23-year-old blaze-faced black gelding, Salty, for giving him a great start as a tie-down roper. Salty was his main mount while he was learning to rope and is now roaming his retirement pasture since BJ purchased his current competition horse from Reid Weber two years ago. “Mijo is a 12-year-old bay gelding, and he is just a rock star. My roping has definitely excelled since I’ve been riding him and I’m really glad to have such an awesome horse to ride.” BJ is also thankful for his girlfriend, Claire Sandy, for being his trustworthy practice partner, helping catch horses and open chutes whenever needed. “I’m also so appreciative of my mom and dad and all they do to help me.”
While the rodeo world has been put on hold due to the Covid-19 pandemic, most of BJ’s time since March has been spent in the practice pen. He is looking forward to rodeos starting back this summer so that he can get back to what he truly loves.
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