Bill Parker roped to win.
It was his approach to everything.
“I love to compete,” the Huntley roper told The Gazette in 2010. “Whether it’s showing horses, cutting horses or roping.”
Parker, a three-time National Finals Rodeo qualifier and the only competitor from Montana to qualify for the NFR in both team roping and tie-down roping, died Wednesday night from pancreatic cancer.
He was 62.
Parker qualified for the NFR once in tie-down roping (1980) and twice in team roping (1979, 1982). He was also a multi-champion for both the Montana Pro Rodeo Circuit and Northern Rodeo Association.
As a team-roping header, Parker paired with David Motes at the 1979 NFR. They finished second in the average with a time of 110.1 seconds for 10 runs, Parker finished 11th in the world standings with $16,912 won.
His performance at the NFR helped him win the 1979 PRCA Team Roping Rookie of the Year honor.
The next year, Parker qualified in tie-down roping, where he finished fifth in the average with a time of 153.4 seconds on 10 head. He finished 10th in the world standings.
Parker, a graduate of Billings Senior, returned to the NFR in 1982, roping with Brad Smith, the 1978 team-roping world champion heeler. The pair placed in three rounds and was 14th in the average.
He also won roping titles at the local level.
Parker was the Montana Pro Rodeo Circuit year-end champion in team roping (1979) and tie-down roping (1984). He was the MPRC Finals all-around and team-roping champion in 1980 and the tie-down roping titlist in 1987.
Parker competed at his first NRA rodeo in 1972 and his first NRA Finals in 1975. He won NRA tie-down roping titles in 1976, 1978 and 1991 and team roping titles in 1986 and 1987. Parker was the NRA all-around champion in 1978.
Parker stepped away from rodeo in 1993, throwing his last loop with 1984 NFR qualifier Dennis Tryan.
Parker focused his attention on the nationally known horse business he ran with his wife, Jann. The two also got involved in cutting-horse competitions.
He returned to the rodeo arena in 2010, roping with 15-time NFR steer wrestling qualifier Rod Lyman of Victor that summer.
“We’re here to win,” Parker replied when discussing his return. “I worked hard to be competitive again. It was a long struggle to get back.”
After overcoming a broken ankle, a minor heart attack and having both knees replaced, Parker qualified for the 2012 NRA Finals with nephew Delon Parker.
“It’s worse now,” he said then of his competitiveness. “And I can’t tell you why.”
Parker continued roping through 2015, mentoring young cowboys. He finished 16th in the NRA standings last year and 159th in the PRCA.
Parker is survived by his wife Jann.
A funeral service is scheduled for 2 p.m. July 7 in St. Bernard Catholic Church in Billings.