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 Alexandra Turner
story by Michele Toberer
At just ten years old, Alexandra Turner lived in Ash Flat, Arkansas, and had no idea that rodeo would become such a big part of her life. Alexandra would ride her Quarter Horse, Hippy, around for fun, occasionally pushing cattle down the arena as she watched her dad and brother roping at Morris Hall’s roping pen on Sunday afternoons. She began riding Hippy in speed events like barrel racing and pole bending, and found a love for competition with horses. Alexandra’s 4-H Leader, Nancy Orr, and her husband Dan, brought her into the world of western pleasure horses, and Alexandra rode the Orr’s horses in western pleasure competitions until she was 18 years old. After graduating high school, she attended Ozarka College, followed by the University of Arkansas Community College Batesville, where she graduated with her Associates degree in nursing in 2014. Six years ago, when she began dating a tie-down roper, Travis Turner, a strong interest in roping began. Travis was actively competing in tie-down roping at many rodeos, and his son Blaine was a breakaway roper. With all the time she was spending with them roping, she started getting instruction from Travis and began roping also. Alexandra and Travis married in 2015, and now live in Cave City, Arkansas and have a two-year-old son they named Braxton.
In 2016, Alexandra had purchased her Arkansas Cowboy Association card for the second year, and came into the season finals as the number one breakaway roper. She didn’t have the finals she hoped for, and ended up in third place at the season’s end. This only fueled Alexandra to work harder and set special goals for the 2017 ACA season. Alexandra spent much of 2017 juggling responsibilities and passions, while as a wife and new mother, she worked full-time while continuing to practice and attend most of the ACA season rodeos, with her new young son, Braxton, as her main traveling partner. She competed in breakaway roping on her husband’s 21-year-old, sorrel, tie-down horse, Badger. “Badger is one of my favorites, he is really good, he gives me the opportunity to win every time I back into the box.” Alexandra also competed in team roping, as a header, on her big grey gelding that she’s owned for three years, known as RB. “My husband called him Ricky Bobby to tease me, because he is really fast, and I started calling him RB for short. I love heading on him because he is really forgiving and honest. He will try his hardest every time, he has no quit.” Both horses helped to bring her to the 2017 ACA season finals, where she accomplished her goals of becoming the Champion Breakaway Roper, as well as the Women’s All-Around Champion. Badger was also named the 2017 Breakaway Horse of the Year.
Setting goals is of the utmost importance to Alexandra, when rodeoing and in life. “Rodeo is hard, you have to work at it. Some people have more natural talent than others, but either way, you still have to practice to be good. I think the biggest thing is setting goals for what you want to accomplish, and then working hard to reach those goals.” Alexandra is considering adding tie-down roping to her list of events in the 2018 ACA season. She currently competes at local rodeos in tie-down roping on her childhood horse Hippy, who is now 19, and loves the challenge the event offers. “You have to think a lot, because there are several steps to it, and you have to think about and execute every step throughout the run.”
Alexandra likes the fact that competing in the ACA allows her to compete at a higher level, but still compete close to home. Many scheduled rodeos fall within a 100-mile radius, allowing her to spend the week working, but still make it to most of the rodeos. Because Alexandra travels to rodeos with Braxton, she loves the family atmosphere there is in the ACA. The association has become like an extended family to her, as she knows most of the competitors, and they see each other so often throughout the season, supporting and helping each other along the way.