Billy and Dana Aviles met while they were riding horses at a rodeo roping event in Morgan Hill. Billy was single and had just moved to the area from Arizona. Dana had a boyfriend at the time, a relationship that had been on and off for several years. Even though Dana was dating someone, Billy caught her eye. Billy was pretty much smitten as well.
When Billy went home that night, he told his dad, “I could marry that girl.” Four years later, that’s exactly what happened.
Married for 13 years, the Aviles’ have two sons, Billy Jr., 12, and Westin, 9. The elder Billy is 45 and Dana is 42. Even though Valentine’s Day is around the corner, Billy doesn’t have anything planned—yet.
“When it comes to those big events, I’m a last minute kind of guy,” Billy says.
Says Dana: “It’s funny. Billy says he’s romantic, but he’s not that romantic.”
Dana quickly pointed out that Billy shows love everyday in a variety of ways, though, whether he’s getting her flowers or gifts, or spending time with their sons.
“He’s a great father,” Dana says. “I like that he’s very giving and honest. He’s also very patient—that is probably his best gift to me.”
Even though Billy and Dana made a memorable first impression on each other at that first rodeo, they didn’t see each other again for another six weeks. Dana was no longer in a relationship and says she purposely went to a roping event, knowing that Billy would be there. But when Billy came up to her—they were both on horseback once again—she played hard-to-get.
“He came up to me and asked how I was doing and if I remembered him,” she says. “I said, ‘No, I don’t.’ I pretended I didn’t recognize him. I know—I’m so bad.”
Giddy inside, Dana stopped playing cool and later that day the two went Christmas tree shopping before attending a party together. Knowing that time was paramount, Dana had a sense of urgency to snag Billy before some other woman did.
“The funny thing is there was this redhead [lady] who had met Billy, and that is what made me step into gear,” she says. “She wasn’t going to go anywhere, so I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, he’s going to get snatched up quick.’ That’s why I felt like I needed to move on with my life [after the breakup]. I ended up with a good person like Billy. He had a lot going for him.”
In their first several years together, Billy and Dana roped five days a week.
“Now I’m lucky to do it five times a year,” she says. “Of course, you put kids into the mix, and being a baseball mom, and we don’t rope much anymore. I always felt I was going to end up with a lifelong roper; instead, I ended up with a baseball coach.”
Billy, who owns Pinnacle Floor Coverings, is entering his seventh year as the San Benito High baseball coach. Billy played two years of professional baseball for three teams in the Independent League.
“He’s always willing to give time to the community and his players,” Dana says.
Indeed, Billy leads one of the top programs in the Central Coast Section in baseball-rich Hollister, which consistently produces outstanding high school players who end up playing college baseball, and, in some cases, at the pro level. Billy appreciates Dana for being flexible and a great mom.
“She can roll with the punches and find the best in every situation,” he says. “She’s always supportive of what we do, as a couple or as individuals.”
Billy and Dana have introduced baseball and rodeo to their kids, and both have taken a liking to the sports. They love to do the team roping competition every year in the San Benito County Saddle Horse Show and Rodeo.
Like all relationships, Billy and Dana go through their ups and downs. However, they are quick to show grace and recognize how blessed they are to have each other. When it comes to romance, particularly to how Billy proposed, Dana likes to dish out a friendly reminder to her husband.
“He needs to redo that one,” she says, laughing. “We need to redo that one.”
In the Aviles’ courtship, it was love at first rope.