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 Members The Holt Family
story by Lindsay Whelchel
Years ago, 1978 to be exact, Marvin Holt’s brother, John, made it to the Arkansas Cowboys Association finals as a team roper. Back then, you could choose someone to join you in the arena, and John chose his brother Marvin. It was only natural to have Marvin by his side when John qualified. The two had grown up riding and roping together, their parents, Joe and Marcia, hauling them to rodeos and creating a family bond that went beyond the arena.
Now days, the same type of bond could describe Marvin’s two sons, Michael and Matt, and that’s just the way Marvin wants it. “It’s kind of a family tradition,” Marvin said and added, “It’s team work, team roping and rodeo in general, it brings them all together as far as learning how to compete and even the ups and downs. You don’t always win, you’ve got to learn how to lose too and keep your head up and go to the next one.”
Marvin too, has learned the ways of the rodeo road since his first ACA finals. He has competed in Arkansas High School Rodeo, IPRA, USTRC and some PRCA over the years, and he’s always stayed involved in ACA. Last year he won the 50 and Over Team Roping at the finals, Finals Average, and even his horse, Snake, took home Horse of the Year honors.
Sadly, with the ups, there have been downs; John passed away in March of this year after battling cancer.
But Matt, 20, and, Michael, 17, are carrying on the cowboy lifestyle and brotherly bond as calf ropers and team ropers. They have competed in the National Little Britches Association, and the family has traveled to Pueblo for the national finals the last four years. Both have been involved in high school rodeo, the IFYR and USTRC as well.
“They’re just trying to get their feet wet. It’s a good training tool, a good family environment for the kids to learn and go, that’s what we really like about it. We have several rodeos close to home, and it gets them ready to go to the next step,” Marvin said of the ACA.
The Holt family lives near Harrison, Ark., on the farm that’s been in Marvin’s family since 1947. Marvin is Fire Chief of the Harrison Fire Department. He’s been with the department for the past 27 years. “We also have a working cattle ranch too, so we stay busy all the time,” Marvin said.
Matt helps run the family fence building company as foreman, Michael still attends Harrison High School and feeds cattle every day after school, and Lisa has worked for the state health department for 21 years.
In their spare time though, the Holts like to hunt and go boating and fishing on the lake.
Above all, Marvin credits Lisa as his and the boys’ biggest fan. “She’s our biggest supporter. She makes sure we’re entered everywhere and makes sure we’re lined out on where we’re going, so she has her hand in it too,” he said and laughed that Lisa is also a good help with working the chutes. The two married after they met at an ACA rodeo in 1984 coincidentally.
The family plans to spend their summer with their longtime friends in the ACA.