Billy Bob Brown won back-to-back National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association team roping titles heading for Logan Medlin in 2013–14, and in 2022 was inducted into the Tarleton Rodeo Hall of Fame in Stephenville, Texas. Brown, who just turned 32 on September 2, 2023, had a career-highlight win this summer at the Cheyenne (Wyoming) Frontier Days Rodeo with fellow Texan Kirby Blankenship.
Q: Is there a cool story behind your 3B cowboy name?
A: When I was born, they were having a lot of trouble with me. I was a miracle baby in 1991, and my mom (D’aun) was going through so much pain at the time. My grandpa came in there and named me. His name is Bill Brown, and my mom was like, “Billy Bob Brown—that’ll work.”
Q: How long have you been roping, and who taught you how to rope?
A: I’ve been roping as long as I can remember, and my dad (Kris) was pretty much the one who taught me everything growing up. He had steers at the US Finals and other ropings, so I was around everybody since I was a baby. My dad roped, but when he rodeoed, he rode bareback horses.
Q: Did you grow up with big roping dreams and roping heroes?
A: Yes, roping was everything I wanted to do, and my dream was the same as everybody else growing up. I wanted to make the NFR (National Finals Rodeo) and be a world champion. I had a lot of heroes. JoJo (LeMond) was one of my good buddies when I was little. Trevor (Brazile) was around the ropings, too. I got to know them pretty good, and really looked up to them. When I got older, I rodeoed with Charly (Crawford) my first year, and he mentored me a lot.
Q: What was the first big win of your life?
A: Having life was my first big win. Then when I was 15, I won two trucks, a trailer and, like, 20 saddles. I was just at the age when everything was starting to click. I had a couple really good horses, and things just fell my way.
Q: You were born with a heart condition that gave you perspective early in life. Tell us a little more about that.
A: When I was born, my lung collapsed and my heart moved into that lung cavity. The doctors had never seen that before. They went in over on the right side of my ribs and aired that lung back up, hoping it would move my heart back over into place. I had tubes and hoses sticking out of me. They called me a miracle baby, and my tough start in life has been a blessing. I want to give others hope when they feel like there isn’t any. I’ve visited a lot of children’s hospitals over the years, and taken kids cowboy hats to give them a little light when they don’t have that much. Some of those kids have rarely been out of a hospital. A cowboy hat gives them a lot when they don’t have much.
Q: You won the College National Finals Rodeo two straight years with Logan Medlin, who’s since roped at three NFRs. How hard have you rodeoed since college?
A: I won rookie of the year the year after that, in 2015. I rodeoed for five years pretty strong. The last three I really haven’t. We run cows back home, and do some farming and ranching. I’ve been amateur rodeoing, and riding and selling horses. I moved back to the family ranch to get things together and get a horse seasoned.
Q: Do you have a favorite circuit rodeo highlight?
A: I’ve lived in Texas my whole life, and this is the first year I’ll make the Texas Circuit Finals. I won the Columbia River Circuit roping with Garrett Jess in 2015, when I was rodeoing up in the Northwest.
Q: What was the best part about winning The Daddy this summer?
A: Cheyenne is just a legendary rodeo. Winning it was absolutely, by far, my career highlight. Everybody wants to win Cheyenne. The coolest part about it was ever since I’ve been rodeoing my dad’s never come out. That was the first time, and my family got to be there. Realizing what it meant and how prestigious it was took the breath out of me. It was the 127th annual, so only 126 other guys have ever gotten to do that. To live that dream out in real life was pretty crazy.
Q: Tell us something about Kirby Blankenship we don’t already know.
A: The Cheyenne short round was the first time he’s ever pulled back.
Q: Is it true your family has lost a lot to the Texas wildfires in recent times?
A: Yes, it’s been bad. We’ve actually had multiple fires in the last few years. The one in March of 2022 was the worst. Me and Kirby were practicing when I got the call from Mom. It burned up a lot of cows and pasture, and 25 miles of fence we just now got done rebuilding on the ranch. The town of Carbon pretty much burned to the ground. It looked like a tornado hit.
Q: More life perspective that takes a little pressure off of rodeo results, right?
A: Absolutely. I hate fires. They move so fast, and there’s nothing you can do about them. It’s pretty tough to see cows that have died in a fire, because you couldn’t get to all of them.
Q: Have your roping goals changed over time? What do those look like today?
A: Yes. The last three years or so my goal was just to stick around the house and keep working at it. I was producing the UPRA (United Professional Rodeo Association) rodeo in Eastland, which is about 10 miles from Carbon, and a bunch of team ropings. I’ve also been training and selling some horses, and the ranch is a huge part of my life. After the win at Cheyenne, we kept going to try and get into next year’s winter rodeos.
Q: What’s the plan for 2023?
A: Hopefully to rodeo full time. That’s the plan right now. We had a pretty decent winter just sticking around home, then came out and clicked a little bit. Winning Cheyenne really made making the buildings next year possible. Winning $50,000 at Houston would be a game-changer and a life-changer. It’s too good a rodeo to be watching on the Cowboy Channel when you want to be there. TRJ