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 Randy Emerson
story by Lindsay Whelchel
Back in the 1970s, Randy Emerson picked up a rope with some cowboy friends and started roping calves and team roping. Back then he relished the competition. But then he became a father, and he quickly realized rodeo was about much more than winning a check.
“For my kids, it teaches them morals and keeps them out of trouble. I think it just helps their way of life. You learn how to live right. You’re guided the right way hopefully,” Randy says.
Soon, his fatherly duties to his daughter Mandy and son Cody, outweighed his own rodeo schedule, and Randy set his rope aside. “My girl got big enough to barrel race, so I started taking her to the high school rodeos and the little stuff and kind of put my roping on the side. Then I roped a little more between her and my son. Then I raised my son kind of the same way I did my girl. He roped steers and calves in high school,” Randy explains.
His efforts with his kids paid off in their own rodeo successes. His daughter won in Arkansas High School Rodeo and even set an arena record at the International Youth Finals Rodeo in Shawnee, Okla., and Randy’s son Cody, is a 2012 World Champion Bullfighter who is now having a good 2015 by winning at Salinas, California and Mercedes, Texas.
But it’s now that his children are grown, that Randy has been able to get back into the arena on his own with the Arkansas Cowboys Association. He competes in the 50 and Over Team Roping. It’s an opportunity that has allowed another important benefit to rodeo to really impact his life.
“I love the friendship now. I used to love the competition, but I’ve made lots of friends in this ‘over 50 thing.’ It’s just amazing how they were friends before 20-30 years ago [and] we’ve refurbished our friendship. It’s just unreal.”
When he’s not at a rodeo, Randy is still with his horses. He retired from a 30-year-long career in the factory to now shoing horses on a fulltime basis and work with the family breeding operation.
“We raise babies, and then most of the horses we ride are horses we bred and raised. We have very few horses here we actually bought,” he says.
Randy’s life is guided by his Christian faith and enriched by rodeo.
“It’s always been a family deal,” Randy says of the sport. And now days, that family group has gotten a lot bigger with his friends in the ACA.