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 Jimmy Driggers
story by Michele Toberer
You often find generational ties in rodeo, and for the Driggers family of Pearcy, Arkansas that rings true. At approximately 7 years old, Arkansas Cowboys Association member, Jimmy Driggers, began competing alongside his dad, Bill Driggers, and the love for rodeo and sharing it as a family became something that not only filled his life growing up, but has carried on to his own children today.
Jimmy grew up in Hot Springs, Arkansas as the only child of Bill and Etha Driggers, and he watched as his dad made a living as a farrier and horse trainer. Bill began competing in rodeo with Jimmy as a hobby to give them something to do together. That hobby became a big part of Jimmy’s upbringing as he competed in team roping jackpots, and in the ACA, and went on to compete in the Arkansas High School Rodeo Association for four years in calf roping and team roping. “I qualified four years for the high school national finals rodeo; one in Douglas, Wyoming and Rapid City, South Dakota the other three years. I made the top 20 short round a couple times at nationals.” Jimmy started competing in the ACA when he was 12 years old, and has grown up in the association, with lifelong friendships with many of the members. He is glad to have raised his sons up the same, roping with Seth, 26, and Britt, 23, as his dad once roped with him.
Jimmy has been married to the boys’ mom, Lisa Driggers, for 27 years. Lisa sells insurance, and Jimmy has worked with the Arkansas Cooperative Extension for 27 years, working in several counties over the years but is glad to be back to his home county. He is the Staff Chair in Garland County and enjoys working with the youth of the 4-H program. “I enjoy helping kids with their livestock and horse projects, it’s a great program.” Jimmy and Lisa also raise cattle on their family farm.
A family that ropes together stays together, and Jimmy and Lisa both enjoy competing, and watching Seth and Britt compete as well. Seth just graduated with a master’s degree in business administration with a bachelor’s in ag education from Southern Arkansas University, and is rodeoing and earning a living as a farrier. Britt has a bachelor’s degree in ag business and is in his final year of earning his master’s degree in business administration, also working as a farrier while competing in rodeo. Both boys have competed in the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association in team roping and steer wrestling and have been NCFR competitors.
“I learned all of my horsemanship from my dad. I’ve been blessed to raise my boys just 5 miles from where he and my mom live, they’ve been married for 60-plus years. My dad taught both my boys how to shoe horses, and it is a special thing to see them making a living doing what was taught to them by their grandfather.”
Jimmy currently competes as a heeler, borrowing Britt’s heel horse, a 12-year-old chestnut gelding named Dave. “I bought Dave to ride, but Britt really liked him, so we did some trading and I let him have Dave. But, he’s gracious enough to let me ride him when I need him, and it’s handy because he’s all tuned-up for me when I use him.” Jimmy recently competed at the ACA finals and while heeling for Harold Deann McCain, won the average in the 50-plus team roping division. He also heels for Howard Neighbors during the season. “The ACA is wonderful because there is such a comradery between the contestants, and we have the chance to compete at local rodeos that are great without having to travel long distances.”
“The main thing I love about rodeo and the part it plays in our family story, is that we get to do it as a family, and the successes we have today are from the sacrifices of my parents.”