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Meet the Member Jenna Pruitt
story by Hope Raley
2022 Colorado Pro Rodeo Association Year End Champion Barrel Racer Jenna Pruitt took a 5-year hiatus from running barrels, and if it wasn’t for the support from her husband and family, Jenna might’ve never got back in the saddle, at least competitively anyways. The mother to two adorable and very active children, Jenna was completely satisfied being a full-time mom, her days of barrel racing and rodeoing were a thing of the past. Or so she thought.
“When I had got pregnant with our daughter Chloe, my younger sister Nicole, took over the reins on all of the horses.” Explained Jenna, wife to NFR calf roper Riley Pruitt. “All I wanted to be was a stay-at-home mama and raise my babies. Then last year, Nicole got pregnant. After much persuasion from my family and my husband, I decided to give it a go and see how it went with two horses and two toddlers.”
Jenna started off by just dipping her toes in the water, going to some barrel racing jackpots. Then unbeknownst to her, Nicole bought Jenna’s CPRA card and started entering her.
“I’m not going to lie, trying to rodeo and travel with two toddlers tested my patience more than I would like to admit. It’s very hard, but I have an incredible support system. My parents, sister, or brother traveled with me to every rodeo to help with the kids so I could focus on my horses. I wouldn’t have it any other way though; the rodeo atmosphere is the best place to raise your kids.”
Jenna and Nicole have a unique sister-relationship, having shared barrel horses since they were young. Although they share horses, they couldn’t have more different riding styles. Jenna is a very quiet rider, while Nicole is the more aggressive rider.
“Our parents always blessed us with great horses,” Jenna explained. “We don’t take that for granted at all. And now we have a few horses that we have raised from the ground up, which is very exciting.”
The sisters didn’t come from a rodeo family, but they come by it naturally.
“My dad had racehorses and grew up on a ranch and my mom also grew up on a ranch, both in southeastern Colorado. Even though they’ve both been around horses all their life, they never got into rodeo. My sister and I started riding when we were very young and fell in love with it.”
From 4-H to gymkhanas and then high school rodeo, the sister’s climbed the ranks before eventually getting their pro cards.
Jenna is married to calf roping superstar Riley Pruitt and while the public knows him as a great rodeo athlete, he’s an even better husband and father.
“We don’t see Riley as an NFR cowboy, he’s just the same person to us in the arena as he is out of the arena. He was very supportive in my comeback to rodeo and is constantly making sure that I have everything that I need or if I need any help with the kids.”
Riley, who has been battling a torn MCL injury the past few months, hopes to be back on the rodeo trail in the new year.
Jenna’s goal when she decided to take the plunge and rodeo again was to make CPRA Finals, winning the year end was just icing on the cake.
“I was very happy to have accomplished my main goal of getting to the finals but then winning the year end title after being off for so long made it all that much more special!”