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
At just 18 years old, Johnna Dixon has an affinity for racing fast horses, that she cannot ignore. Johnna’s mom, Nicole Bookout, described her daughter, “She is such a fearless rider, she just runs in the arena as fast and furious as she can go. She has matured a lot as a rider over the years, and I see her with more strategy before an event, checking the stakes and feeling the ground; but when it comes time to run, she has no inhibitions or worries, she’s just ready for speed. I think she’s addicted to the adrenaline!” Lucky for Johnna, she’s found the perfect equine partner, Amos, to get her fix.
Johnna, a senior at Mountain Home High School, has competed in the Arkansas Cowboys Association since she was 13, and riding Amos sent her to the top of the standings as the 2017 ACA Junior Barrel Racing Champion. In 2018, Johnna started competing in the senior division and qualified for finals in 3rd place. Johnna has owned the 14-year-old dun gelding for 7 years, and although she bought him as a pole bending horse, it wasn’t long before the two were turning three barrels across the country. In 2011, she and Amos competed at their first NBHA Youth World Finals in Perry, Georgia. In 2013, Johnna and Amos competed in the Arkansas Family Rodeo Association, where she won the all-around title as well as 5 saddles at the season’s end; Champion Goat Tyer, Open Barrel Racer, Junior Barrel Racer, Open Pole Bender, and Junior Pole Bender, all accomplished atop her trusty steed, Amos. That same year, she won a 6th saddle, in the 1D division of the NBHA District AR01. During 2015 they competed at the National Little Britches Finals Rodeo in Pueblo, Colorado, where Amos was named the 2015 Purina Super Horse of the Year, and Johnna and her partner Gus Howell were 7th in the World Ribbon Ropers. In 2016, she and Amos competed in Guthrie, Oklahoma at the NLBFR, making one of their fastest pole bending runs of their career.
Johnna lives at home with her mom, who is a ninth-grade English teacher at her high school, and stepdad, Clyde Bookout, who works in the oilfields; as well as her younger brother Mason, 11, who has also been competing in the ACA. Mason was recently named the 2018 ACA Rookie of the Year, with his earnings coming from his success in the open goat tying event. Johnna lives part-time with her dad, John Dixon, who lives nearby and is a distributor for Budweiser. Johnna’s older sister, Cierra, 21, grew up rodeoing as well, and is currently a college student at Southern Arkansas University, Magnolia. Cierra left home a sorrel mare named Red, that Johnna is starting to finish on barrels to give her another option on smaller barrel patterns. “Amos is big, and like a freight-train when he comes down the alleyway, so we’re thinking Red might fulfill the need when we have more compact turns to make.”
Besides her senior classes, Johnna also is involved in FFA, and enjoys her participation on the nursery and landscape competition teams as well as judging plants and trees through the program. She works part-time as a general merchandiser for Harp’s Food Store when she is not taking care of the many chores that fill a good part of her days. Johnna is considering going to school to be come a veterinary technician once she graduates.
Johnna appreciates the help of her mom and sister over the years; other than a Martha Josey clinic in Texas, and a Connie Combs clinic there in her hometown, Calico Rock; they have been the main influencers on the rider that she is today. “I just keep trying to exercise the best I can and keep my horse working. Amos always gives me his best, so I just keep trying to work to my best ability so we can help each other do great things.” Her goal for 2019 is to finish the ACA season with another champion barrel racer title added to the list.
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