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 Taylor Wells
story by Michele Toberer
Taylor Wells had a great 2019 season with the Arkansas Cowboys Association and was grateful that her 11-year-old bay gelding, Chuck, was named the 2019 ACA Horse of the Year. “It really means a lot to me that he won this award because the votes of the other barrel racers determine the Horse of the Year. It took us a long time to get where he is, and I appreciate the recognition.” Taylor described Chuck’s personality as “special, he’s not sweet like most horses, he’s pretty ornery.” It has been a challenge for the 26-year-old barrel racer, but one that she was glad to tackle. “It’s hard to know how to ride him sometimes, because it depends on how he feels, as to how I need to ride him each day. Sometimes he’s push-style and sometimes he’s a free-style runner. But I’ve had him since he was 6 years old, and I love to run barrels on him.”
Rodeo has been a very large part of Taylor’s upbringing, and her dad, Billy Wells was a longtime bull riding competitor in the ACA; and mom, Kellie, runs barrels and has been the ACA secretary since 2013. Taylor also has an older brother, Johnny, who takes a large interest in their family farm on the cattle side. “I’ve been a part of the ACA since I could run junior barrels at 12 years old. I’ve pretty much grown up in the association.” Taylor also competed in the NLBRA during her Bakersfield High School years in multiple events including barrel racing, pole bending, goat tying, and breakaway roping. But the ACA has been her primary rodeo home. “It’s nice because I know practically everyone there, and they become like family. I met my best friend, Gigi Robey, through the ACA. We went on to college together at Three Rivers Community College in Poplar Bluff, Missouri.” Taylor competed in barrel racing and goat tying while taking general education classes but has stuck to barrel racing since tearing her Achilles tendon in an accident on the river.
“I am currently an LPN nurse at Ozarks Medical Center in West Plains, Missouri. I will be start classes at Arkansas State University in Mountain Home in August to complete my education as a registered nurse.” Taylor works on the medical surgical floor at the hospital and loves the wide variety of cases she is exposed to every shift. “I am able to help with people dealing with everything including pneumonia, surgery recovery, hospice care and so many different cases. I like that you never know what you’re going to have each day. Eventually I’d like to work in the emergency room and possibly become a flight nurse.”
Taylor has been recently engaged to Tyler Reaves, a ranch bronc rider that she met at an ACA rodeo. Tyler is from Arkansas and owns a disaster clean-up company, TCHAD, LLC. The couple plans to marry on October 17, 2020. For now, Taylor stays at home with her parents, working as a nurse and a distributor for Complete Equine Performance, to save money for her and Tyler’s future. Billy works for the Missouri Department of Transportation, and Kellie is a juvenile officer for the State of Missouri. “My mom is the biggest support of my life. I would not be where I am or where I’m going to be, without my parents. They have put their own rodeo aspirations aside, to focus on me, and I’m so grateful for them.” Taylor’s brother Johnny has a 10-year-old daughter, Ellie. Taylor is sharing her focus with Ellie and is helping her get ready for her own rodeo competition soon.
Taylor’s best friend, Nala, is a 4-year-old blue heeler who is well known at ACA rodeos. She has traveled many miles with Taylor and is always by her side. Taylor and Tyler generally compete in three to four rodeos each week and appreciate the multitude of ACA rodeos she can choose from. “I am glad to be a part of the ACA and I’m so grateful for the support I have from so many. But I wouldn’t be where I am without God.”