The National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame is honoring the late 1987 Cowgirl Honoree Betty Gayle Cooper Ratliff with a new award. The Betty Gayle Cooper Ratliff Fast-Time Award also celebrates the inaugural National Finals Breakaway Roping (NFBR) during the Wrangler NFR at Globe Life Field Dec. 8-10. The NFBR is an exciting event for Women’s Professional Rodeo Association (WPRA) ropers. It is the first time cowgirls have been invited to rope alongside the Wrangler NFR.
“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.”
Betty Gayle Cooper Ratliff
The late 1987 Cowgirl Honoree was a nine-time world champion. Her titles included 1989 breakaway champion and four tie-down roping championships. Born into a rodeo family, she won her first championship at 12 in junior calf roping.
Ratliff worked as rodeo director of the WPRA, helping to strengthen the sport and 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.
“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.”
The award is decided by the cowgirl roping the fastest time in the first round. In case of a tie, the award goes to the roper who qualified with the most money. The winner will be awarded a beautiful custom, one-of-a-kind Montana Silversmiths buckle.
The Museum also partnered with the WPRA to present the Jerry Ann Taylor Best Dressed Cowgirl Award. It goes to the NFR Barrel Racer who exemplifies the style and spirit of the late Jerry Ann Taylor. Fans vote on the winner of this award after each NFR round (1 through 9). It is awarded before the final round.
National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame
The Museum celebrates the Wrangler NFR being hosted in Texas, and invite rodeo fans to visit the Museum Dec. 3-12. The Anne W. Marion Gallery will feature Girls Rode Association (GRA) artifacts, NFR Barrel Racing, NFBR Breaking Roping Qualifiers, and the barrel racer’s qualifier saddles. A discounted admission of $8 will be offered to rodeo fans, plus 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.
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. It 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, and rare photograph collection. They also feature 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 Horse exhibition. National Cowgirl Museum is located at 1720 Gendy Street in Fort Worth. Hours of operation are Tuesday – Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, please visit cowgirl.net or call 817-336-4475.