By Madelaine Mills
Billie Jack Saebens admits he’s not the most talkative team roper going down the road. But the 29-year-old heeler from Nowata, Oklahoma, speaks volumes with his rope.
He has made the trip to Las Vegas to compete at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo (NFR) twice heeling for Coleman Proctor and is on pace to be back there this December. His 2018 season got off to a good start. As of the first of April, he is among the top five in the world standings after having a winter run to remember, including the biggest win of his pro rodeo career at the San Antonio Stock Show Rodeo where he collected over $23,000 and the championship.
Originally from Gerald, Missouri, Billie Jack is the second person in his family to rodeo, following in his grandfather, Don Pohlmann’s footsteps. His success in high school rodeo landed him scholarships for Fort Scott (Kansas) Community College, where he qualified for the College National Finals Rodeo in 2008.
In 2010, Saebens sold a rope horse to Duke Dixon. Little did he know, that sale would turn into a great opportunity to make a living out of his passion to rope. He joined Dixon Flowers Rope Horses the next year where he still serves as the head trainer when he is not competing. Having multiple highly-successful horses with the Dixon brand, Billie Jack takes pride in the horses that have helped him qualify and carried him at the NFR. Domino Lena, a gelding also known as Kevin, is his current go-to horse and an AQHA/PRCA Reserve Champion Heel Horse of the Year.
“Kevin is the horse I’ve run every steer on in the Thomas & Mack so far,” said Billie Jack “I bought him in 2014 from Clay Logan. He had been jackpotted on some, but I don’t think he’d been to many rodeos. He’s been a really good horse since day one. “
Gonna Be A Legend (Legend) is the mare that Billie Jack began his professional rodeo career on. He is also looking forward to riding another mare by the name of Sugar that he will have in his trailer in a year’s time.
“The Dixon’s bought another mare as a two-year-old, named Sugar. J.D. Yates trained her and showed her,” said Saebens. “I rodeoed and jackpotted on her a little bit after that. We plan to take one more year and show her and then I’ll rodeo full time on her.”
With a passion for training rope horses and the natural talent to catch two feet, Saebens will continue roping this year with Proctor in an effort to qualify for his third NFR and hopefully walk away with the coveted gold buckle.
One on One with the Wrangler NFR Contestant – Billie Jack Saebens
Favorite movie: Step Brothers
Dogs or cats: Neither… A dog if I had to pick. I have a dog, but I’ve got like 35 horses to feed, don’t need another dog on the feed bill.
Favorite dessert: That’s a tough one… I really like German Chocolate Cake.
Favorite card or board game: Pitch
Favorite sport, other than rodeo: I don’t really have one. This might be the most boring interview ever.
If you weren’t in rodeo, what would you be doing: I ask myself that same question a lot—I don’t know. I would still train horses. I’m not good at anything else, but I’m fortunate to love what I do.
What Super Power would you want to have: I would go back in time. I’ve made a lot of mistakes that I would fix. I’d rope a lot better if I could do that.
Best childhood memory: I enjoyed going to ropings and rodeos with my Grandpa at home. He is the one who got me going.
Favorite thing you like about Las Vegas: Money. All the money.
What do you do in your spare time? I like to hunt, mostly deer.
Music: I listen to all kinds of music. We are on the road so much, I’m not sure I have a favorite.
Best horse you’ve ever ridden: Legend taught me the most. She’s really complicated. She had so much to offer and taught me a lot. She taught me what to do, what not to do, and when she wasn’t working good, she taught me how to get by and make things work.
What belt buckle do you wear and why: Recently, I put on the San Antonio buckle because it’s my biggest win so far and it’s one of my favorite rodeos.
Favorite thing about roping with Coleman Proctor: He’s really positive and light hearted. He never gets down, never lets things bother him. He’s always got a good attitude.
What’s your strong point in the roping pen: I try to stay positive. If stuff goes bad, I’m not going to quit. I figure it out and make it work.
What would people be surprised to learn about you: I’m not as quiet as everyone thinks. There are jokes that I don’t talk, but when you rope with Coleman you don’t need to talk a lot. I just let him handle it all.
If you could give one piece of advice to a young rodeo competitor, what would it be: Have a good horse.
If you could live anywhere where would it be: If I had to live anywhere other than where I’m at in Nowata, Oklahoma, I’d move to somewhere in Texas.
Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter– Instagram. I’m not a huge social media person. I just got an Instagram account, so I’m really new at it.
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