story by Ruth Nicolaus Quinten Hayden has faced some challenges in his life, and he’s come out swinging. The Colorado Pro Rodeo Association member, a […]
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Meet the Member: Heather Ratterree
story by Magie Downares-Nevius
A season of competitive running for the year-end title found barrel racer, Heather Ratterree, stepping into the winner’s circle to be crowned the 2015 Colorado Pro Rodeo Association (CPRA) champion with a pleasing pocket of over $7,000 in winnings. Taking on a second term with her equine partner, Heather credits the 15-year-old gelding (“Dunny”) for the outcome, as the pair jumped in the money early on and began their climb to the top. “Dunny is a very special horse, who you can do pretty much everything on. He just kept getting better and better and everything came together for an awesome year,” Heather described.
A front runner entering into finals competition, Heather encountered a setback with a hit barrel in the first-round, but found redemption with back-to-back money earning runs in the next two rounds to finish the year with a $1,600 lead. “He made two great runs after that and I’m very grateful to hold the title,” Heather said.
The partnership between the 29-year-old cowgirl and her dun mount began only two falls ago. “He came from my best friend, who had just had a baby and was unable to ride him at the time. I brought him home with no intentions of keeping him, but fell in love and bought him,” Heather said. “He is my first great horse and I hope that next year will be even better.”
The large animal vet technician from Peyton, Colo., has been hitting the cloverleaf pattern since she was 5 years old. “My mom (Rita) was always into horses and got me into it,” Heather said. While she is the only sibling of an older brother, older sister and a younger sister to take interest in the sport, Heather says that it is the family support that keeps her rolling. “My mom and stepdad (Terry) support and help me in all areas. I truly couldn’t rodeo without them,” she said.
As an apprentice jockey, Heather’s skills grew as a contestant of the National Little Britches Rodeo Association and the National High School Rodeo Association. By 18 years old, she became a member of the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association, where she was able to finish 14th in the 2015 Mountain States Circuit standings. “The CPRA was my main goal this year, but I plan on focusing more of my time to the PRCA and try to make it to my first Circuit Finals,” Heather said.
With rodeo taking precedence in her life, Heather has held a membership with the CPRA for approximately 10 years. “It is a great association and I think it’s one of the best ran and best known organizations around. I love the amount of rodeos we are able to hit in one season. I would have to say that Brush is my favorite though, because it was my biggest win this season, but was also the fastest run we have had on a standard pattern,” she said.
Having a 2-year-old coming up and on the lookout for a younger backup horse, Heather fully intends to continue on with the CPRA and is hopeful of defending her title next season.