Family Tradition: Spratt cousins compete at national high school finals
Shoshoni – The Spratt girls didn’t start rodeoing on a whim – these girls were riding horses long before they could walk.
For cousins Coralee and K.L. Spratt, growing up rodeoing was just part of life. The two girls are five days apart in age, and seem to be inseparable, as they learned how to ride together, walk together and rodeo together.
Coralee resides in Shoshoni year round with her parents T.J. and Jennie Spratt, and she’ll be a senior at Shoshoni High School this fall, where, in addition to being active in rodeo, she also plays basketball.
K.L. is the daughter of Ace and Shelley Spratt, and her family spends their summers in Wyoming, moving south for the winter months. Although she splits her school year between Wyoming and Arizona, K.L. makes sure to be in Wyoming for the high school rodeo season.
Being so close in age and other aspects of life, the girls are often associated together and are compared to each other.
“We try not to make it too competitive. Everyone tries to compare us all the time, but that takes the fun out of it. We just try to ignore it and have fun,” says Coralee.
Both girls travel to rodeos every weekend, and they have been neck and neck in the standings over the 2010/2011 high school rodeo season.
“We’ve been going back and forth all year. One week I would be first in the all around, and the next week KL would jump ahead. It was close right up to the end,” says Coralee.
The girls work very hard not just during the rodeo season, but also year round. They practice every day, and understand what it means to work for what they want.
“I practice every day. People don’t realize how much work rodeo really is, but even if you’re tired or whatever, it’s got to be you that goes out and practices. You have to push yourself,” says Coralee.
Coralee earned her title as Wyoming High School Rodeo All-Around Cowgirl this year by doing just that – she participates in five events, including barrels, poles, breakaway roping, goat tying and team roping.
“This year was tougher, I got hurt in the goat tying, and but I still managed to finish in the top six in goats,” explains Coralee.
For the Spratt family, rodeo is more than just a hobby – it’s also tradition.
“I don’t know if we ever really had a choice – we were just brought into it, which is fine because it’s so fun! Our families have always rodeoed, so when we practice our whole families are involved, including our grandparents, which is neat,” says Coralee.
Both girls plan to continue with rodeo into the future, continuing the tradition.
“To be honest, rodeoing is what I really aspire to do, ever,” jokes K.L.
The girls come from a long line of rodeo participants – their families make regular appearances at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, the National High School Finals Rodeo, the Junior High National Finals Rodeo and other rodeo circuits across the country.
“We’ve been rodeoing forever. When we were little and our parents were at the pro rodeos there are pictures of us riding around double on the little pony we had,” laughs Coralee.
“It’s cool to be able to share something like this with my family, especially since Coralee and I are so close. It’s great to have someone there to support you at all of the rodeos, too – someone to cheer for you,” says K.L.
The girls are not only good at what they do, but they are good sports about the competition, as well.
“It’s cool, because your best friends are your competitors, too. You learn to be not only a good winner, but a gracious loser, as well. You want to support everyone and just try to help, because of course you want to win, but you also want to do it fairly. Of course you want everyone to do well, you just want to do better than them most days,” says Coralee.
“Rodeo teaches a lot of great values, like being a good sportsman and the ethics of competition,” adds K.L.
Coralee will ride her horse Twister at the National High School Finals Rodeo in Gillette this year, which runs July 17-23. Her parents breed horses, and Coralee has raised Twister since he was foaled.
“It’s really cool having raised him, and growing with him in the rodeo world. We’ve been through a lot together, so it’s really rewarding to be able to ride him at the finals,” says Coralee.
Going into her senior year, Coralee is looking toward the future, as her basketball skills leave additional options beyond rodeo in college.
“I’ll always be able to rodeo, so I’m leaving my options open for college. I just want to do what I love and learn something along the way,” notes Coralee. Her immediate focus, however, is on the finals and doing her best.
K.L. is also focusing on the finals, where she will compete in three events – breakaway, goat tying and cutting.
“I’m pretty excited. With three events I will hopefully have a pretty good chance at the all-around,” she says.
Coralee and K.L. will continue to rodeo throughout next year on the high school circuit, and even with their successful seasons this year they hope to continue onward and upward with their rodeo careers.
For more information on the National High School Finals Rodeo, visit nhsra.com. Tressa Lawrence is editorial intern for the Wyoming Livestock Roundup and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.