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 Gigi Robey
story by Michele Toberer
Gigi Robey is a small-town Arkansas cowgirl that is carrying on the family tradition of roping in the Arkansas Cowboy Association. “I was born and raised in Mountain View, a little town with only two stop lights, I think I’m related to everyone in town!” Growing up, she spent time between Mountain View, where she lived with her mom, Tonya Robey, who works as a bail bondsman; and her dad, Andrew Robey, who lived 30-minutes away in Batesville, Arkansas. “My dad is a farrier, and he grew up team roping and training cutting horses. He was the youngest judge ever accepted by the National Cutting Horse Association. We always have been lucky to ride horses he raised and that we trained ourselves.”
Gigi spent two years rodeoing in the Arkansas High School Rodeo Association while she attended Mountain View High School, but it was after she graduated high school that her rodeo skills really took on a new level. While attending Three Rivers College in Poplar Bluff, Missouri on a rodeo scholarship, the rodeo coach, Cale Emmett, made a huge impression on the cowgirl’s roping prowess. “I had a lot of fun rodeoing there and learned a whole lot. Under Coach Emmett, I learned to trust myself and he really taught me to always be aggressive. It’s something I have taken with me and still use today, to always stay competitive and aggressive whether I’m roping the dummy, at practice, or at a rodeo.” Gigi studied business management during her two years in Missouri, and after trying a career in the insurance industry for two years, is now working towards new goals she has set for herself. She currently works nights as a dispatcher, for both the Sherriff’s and Police Department, at the Independence County Dispatch. But she is working towards enrollment into a chiropractic program, hoping to one day become a chiropractor, working as an equine chiropractor as well.
Gigi has enjoyed being a member of the Arkansas Cowboy Association since she was just 13 years old, and after a decade in the association, the people of the ACA are family to her. “They take care of me, I’m one of theirs and it really helps, because sometimes I’m hauling by myself and it is great to know I have people there I can rely on. They are my rodeo family.” Gigi has been the breakaway roping event director the past two years, and she competes as a breakaway roper and team roper. “The ACA has a 50-plus roping division, where I can rope with either another woman roper or a man, if he’s over 50-years-old.” She heels as well as breakaway ropes on her buckskin gelding, Little Spot, named for his little birthmark spot hidden under his mane. “My dad gave him to me when I was 11, and he’s amazing. He’s been to college with me, and done so much for me, but now that he’s 20, we’re going to retire him after this year and he’ll live with my sister, CJ and nephews, Rixon, 4, and Ryder, 6.” Gigi also has a palomino mare named Blondie that is the first horse she broke by herself. Blondie has been more of a back-up horse so far but will soon be taking over the starring role.
Gigi also enjoys spending time with family, including her other sister Jessica, and nieces Victoria, Peyton, Robey, and Madeline. “My nieces and nephews come watch the rodeos sometimes, Peyton rodeos and my nephews are crazy about it.” Gigi’s dad still team ropes in the ACA occasionally, when his schedule allows it. “I really appreciate my family’s support.”
The ACA finals in October is what Gigi has on her mind right now, as she is currently sitting in the number four spot in breakaway roping. “The spread between 1st place and 4th place is very close, so I’m really focused on doing all that I can to win the title this year. The 2018 ACA Champion Breakaway roper gets an automatic spot in the Rope For the Crown event in Las Vegas, Nevada in December. To get that chance to win a world champion title there would be amazing.”