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 Ethan & Cayla Cory
story by Michele Toberer
The Arkansas Cowboys Association has been home to Cayla Cory since she was 16 years old, and she’s glad to have her husband, Ethan Cory, now competing in the association also. Cayla competed as a barrel racer during her teen years at the ACA rodeos, on her dad’s calf horse, John Henry, while her dad, Lawrence Fielder, competed in tie down roping on him. It was a family affair, and her mom, Cynthia Fielder, ran barrels at rodeos on another of Lawrence’s calf horses. Cayla’s stepbrother, Ethan Fielder is on the ACA board of directors and competes as a team roper in the association. Cayla’s younger brother, Lawson is the only one of the family group that hasn’t taken on rodeo and is instead very involved in competitive shooting. Last year, Cayla’s husband Ethan bought his card and heeled in several ACA rodeos while they were visiting family, and after a successful 2019 season, they are now ready for 2020 with the ACA.
Before moving to Texas to marry Ethan, Cayla juggled barrel racing with volleyball and spent her high school years playing on a junior Olympic volleyball team before playing for Arkansas State University while she obtained her bachelor’s degree in ag business. Cayla and her mom launched an online boutique, The Punchy Palomino, in September of 2018 and are slowly growing the business each year.
Ethan is originally from South Carolina, where he grew up in a rodeo producing family. “My grandparents, Dick and Lois Cory, both trick-roped; my grandma was a trick rider, and my grandpa announced rodeos all over. My parents, Rand and Kim Cory, had a rodeo company when I was growing up and we produced rodeos all over South Carolina. My dad mostly calf roped, but when I came along, he started roping steers so we could rope together, and we still do. My mom ropes some also, but mostly barrel races.” When Ethan was a sophomore in high school, the family moved to Texas and they’ve been there the past 14 years. He met Cayla at a rodeo in the northeast, and the couple has been married for 2 ½ years and have twin 1 ½-year-old daughters, Keslee and Carsyn.
“We go back to visit Cayla’s hometown of Jonesboro, Arkansas pretty often, and she’s held an ACA card every year since she was 16. I decided to get a card last year and qualified for the finals heeling. I roped with Dalton Turner and we won a round and split first in a round at the finals and finished as the 2019 ACA Finals Average Champions and 2019 ACA Champion Team Ropers. I look forward to roping in the ACA this year, they have some fun little rodeos.” Ethan credits his dad and family friend, Bronc Fanning, for his roping skills. “When we were in South Carolina still, Bronc would come stay at our place and he helped me with my roping a whole lot.”
In Hico, Texas the Corys compete in multiple rodeo associations and jackpots and are living their dream making a living through rodeo and horses. They buy and sell horses, taking their time with each horse they have in, to make solid all-around horses for future customers. Cayla explains, “We really believe that it’s important to make a good all-around horse, no matter what discipline they end up being used for, so we take our time with their training and we haul them and season them at rodeos to reinforce their training so they can make a good solid horses for people down the road. Right now, I’m running barrels on a little 7-year-old buckskin gelding named Shark Tank that started out as a calf horse, and we bought for Ethan to heel on. I started running barrels on him in March and now he’s a 1D barrel horse in Texas. He’s built like a tank, and not your typical barrel horse but he’s going to make a nice horse for someone.”
Rodeo brought the Cory family together, and they are enjoying the lifestyle as a family now, looking forward to the day that their young daughters are competing alongside them. Ethan says, “Like everyone, I dream of heeling at the NFR one day, but for now it’s all about giving the girls what they want and need.”