Meet the Member BJ Billingsley
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 […]
story by Michele Toberer
Winning the 2018 Arkansas Cowboys Association, All-Around Champion Cowboy title was an accomplishment that 19-year-old Blaine Turner will cherish for a lifetime. Winning it the same season that his step-mom, Alex Turner won the All-Around Champion Cowgirl title made it even sweeter for the Turner family. “My step-mom has been really supportive, and us both winning the all-around titles at the same time was a pretty big deal.” Blaine had visions of winning an all-around title since beginning his rodeo career as a 5-year-old, fourth generation cowboy; and went into season finals confident that his performance in calf roping and team roping throughout the season had positioned him with such a lead that his victory was already secured.
Growing up near Magness, Arkansas, family members surrounding him have not only been mentors and trainers for rodeo, but also inspirations. Blaine’s dad, Travis Turner competed as a team roper and calf roper, winning the 2000 ACA Calf Roping Champion title; and was instrumental in teaching Blaine all about calf roping. Travis’ father, Wesley Turner, competed for years in cutting and reined cow horse competitions. Blaine’s mom, Mary Lee Power, competed as a breakaway roper and barrel racer, following in the footsteps of her parents, Burt and Diane Power who competed in rodeo as calf and team ropers. “My mom is my biggest supporter and fan. She hauled me everywhere and taught me that I could dream big and achieve my goals if I set my mind to it. She introduced me to the owner of Fast Back Ropes when I was 13. Fast Back has sponsored me through their Grass Roots Program ever since. I’m honored to be a part of the Fast Back Family.” Growing up, Blaine’s stepdad, Mark Lee, along with his brother, Jeff Lee, were both instrumental in helping him with team roping. Blaine now has a 3-year-old brother, Braxton, that’s beginning to follow the footsteps of his big brother. “He loves to hang out at the arena with us and tries to ride but can’t make his horse go too good yet.” Blaine feels blessed to have the support from so many that have been there for him through his life and rodeo career so far.
Since starting out competing with the ACA as a 12-year-old, Blaine has competed in breakaway roping at the 2011, 2012, and 2013 ACA season finals, and in 2015 he started competing as header. He stepped away from the ACA in 2016 and 2017 while he was busy competing as a point guard on the Quitman High School basketball team as well as competing on the golf team his senior year. He also competed in the Arkansas High School Rodeo Association before graduating in 2017.
“In team roping I came into the finals in fifth place, with my cousin, Dalton Turner leading it and my best friend, Rodey Burford, in second place. I didn’t have great runs and ended the year as the seventh-place header. My cousin Cooper Lee placed in both rounds and won the average at the finals so that was cool.” Blaine is excited about the horse he’s heading on, a sorrel, 5-year-old mare he purchased last year, “I just call her ‘my mare’ but she’s my baby, she is just good. I really like heading on her, and I’ve already been offered a lot of money for her.” Blaine competed in the calf roping finals on his cousin Laken Caldwell’s red roan gelding named Spanky and won third in the average, helping him to finish as the fifth-place calf roper for the season. “Spanky is little-bitty, he’s only 53” tall but he has a big heart and does great.”
“You have to stop the clock to win,” advice Blaine’s Uncle Jeff Lee has imparted on him and stays on his mind before he leaves the box at every rodeo. Although it’s been mostly family that have shaped the cowboy, determined to make rodeo a huge part of his future, there are a couple of the professional ropers that stand out to him. “Kaleb Driggers is a gunslinger, he just goes at it every time, and Trevor Brazile is just the greatest, so you just have to respect that.”
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