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National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame Creates a New Award

FORT WORTH, TEXAS (November 23, 2020) – The National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame is pleased to announce the creation of a new award in honor of the late 1987 Cowgirl Honoree Betty Gayle Cooper Ratliff. The Betty Gayle Cooper Ratliff Fast-Time Award is in celebration of the inaugural National Finals Breakaway Roping (NFBR) during the Wrangler NFR. 

National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame Creates a New Award betty gayle cooper ratcliff
Betty Gayle Cooper Ratcliff pursues a calf (2012.201.B0143.0104, photo by J. Argo, Oklahoma Publishing Company Photography Collection, OHS).

The NFBR is an exciting advancement for Women’s Professional Rodeo Association (WPRA) ropers. This is the first time cowgirls have had the opportunity to rope alongside the Wrangler NFR. The event will be at Globe Life Field in Arlington, TX, Dec. 8-10.

“We are thrilled to see the increased interest in breakaway roping from the larger community and creating this award was a natural next step,” said the Museum’s associate executive director Dr. Diana Vela. “We are excited for all the competitors who qualified this year and will eagerly watch results during this year’s Wrangler NFR.”

Born into a family of rodeo stars, the late 1987 Cowgirl Honoree Betty Gayle Cooper Ratliff was a nine-time world champion, which included 1989 breakaway champion and four tie-down roping championships. She won her first championship at 12 in junior calf roping. 

Ratliff worked as rodeo director of the WPRA to strengthen the sport and helped reorganize the American Junior Rodeo Association. She coached the men’s and women’s rodeo teams for Southeastern Oklahoma State University to win national titles.

National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame Creates a New Award Betty Gayle Cooper Ratcliff Cowgirl
Betty Gayle Cooper Ratcliff Cowgirl

“Betty Gayle Cooper Ratliff is one of the reasons we are here today,” said 2021 Inductee and champion breakaway roper Lari Dee Guy. “What an honor to be here roping and being able to continue to carry the torch she and many other strong women lit for us.”

This award is determined by the cowgirl that ropes the fastest time in the first round. If there is a tie, the award will go to the roper that qualified with the most money. The winner will be awarded a beautiful custom, one-of-a-kind Montana Silversmiths buckle.

In addition to this new award, the Museum, partnered with the WPRA will present the Jerry Ann Taylor Best Dressed Cowgirl Award to the NFR Barrel Racer who exemplifies the style and spirit of the late Jerry Ann Taylor.  This award is fan-voted on after each NFR round 1 through 9 and awarded before the final round. 

The National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame celebrates the Wrangler NFR being hosted in Texas and welcomes rodeo fans to visit the Museum, Dec. 3-12. The Anne W. Marion Gallery will feature Girls Rode Association (GRA) artifacts, NFR Barrel Racing and NFBR Breaking Roping Qualifiers and the barrel racer’s qualifier saddles. Also, discounted admission of $8 will be offered to rodeo fans, as well as live music, membership specials, The Shop at the Cowgirl sales and more. The Museum will be closed for private events Dec. 3 and Dec. 7.

About the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame

The National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame honors and celebrates women, past and present, whose lives exemplify the courage, resilience and independence that helped shape the West, and fosters an appreciation of the ideals and spirit of self-reliance they inspire. Established in 1975, the Museum is considered an invaluable national educational resource for its exhibits, research library, rare photograph collection and award-winning distance-learning programs for grades K-12 and adults. In 2019, the Museum opened the Kit Moncrief Galleries and It’s Never Just a HorseTMexhibition. Located at 1720 Gendy Street Fort Worth, Texas 76107. Hours of operation are Tuesday – Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more news and information visit www.cowgirl.net or call 817-336-4475 and follow on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube. 

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