First attended a gay rodeo in 1989
Candy Pratt was born in Dallas and grew up in Irving, Texas. She became the owner of her first horse when she was 8 years old. With intense practice and dedication, her horsemanship skills earned her hundreds of trophies, plaques, and other awards. During this time she was part of the American Association of Sheriff's Posses and Riding Club's "Royalty Team" - not quite the same as our Royalty Team. After she attended college, she moved to Greenville, Texas where she served as president of the Greenville and Terrell Saddle Clubs.
Her father instilled the drive for performing and the motivation to practice to attain her goals. He would settle for nothing less than 100% effort, and encouraged her to be more competitive, always striving for the lowest times. In addition to performing well herself, it became important for her to help others perform to their full potential. Candy understood the value of the rodeo family, sportsmanship, and commitment to the welfare of horses.
She joined TGRA in the fall of 1989 and competed in the speed events at the Fort Worth rodeo. The following season, she began roping and competing in the camp events so that she could be an All-Around contender. That year she won her first of many IGRA All-Around Champion Cowgirl titles.
She traveled across the country to support new rodeo associations, often going to several rodeos before returning to her home state of Texas. She mentored many new riders and assisted the seasoned competitors as well, allowing others to compete on her horses. Candy holds the record with the most earned event buckles and All-Around Cowgirl titles for both the IGRA circuit rodeos and the IGRA finals.
Candy has been a member of TGRA, OGRA, NSGRA, and RRRA. In addition to her involvement as a rodeo contestant, she has also held other leadership and support positions. She served as president of the TGRA Dallas Chapter and led the membership to achieve their most successful fundraising goal for 2 consecutive years, raising over $30,000 each year. It is not unusual to find other IGRA contestants practicing and getting ready for a rodeo at her ranch. She has organized and hosted numerous practice days so that new contestants could learn to ride, rope, and ride steers.
She was honored with the TGRA Bruce Eden Award for sportsmanship and was Grand Marshal of the Cowtown Rodeo in Fort Worth, Texas. She has donated many of her buckles and awards back to her association or other non-profit fundraising events.
She has been a delegate at many IGRA conventions, served on the Rodeo Rules committee, and as a Trustee. She founded the Red River Rodeo Association in 2003 and served as President until she assumed the role of Trustee.
In 1991, she purchased a ranch in Aubrey, Texas where she resides with her partner of 16 years, Doreen Rue, and her mother, Elvira. In addition to gay rodeo she competes in other events. In 1992 she won all the speed events at the Paint Horse Congress and in 1996 she competed in the American Paint Horse World Championship show and won her first World Championship title in amateur barrel racing and the Reserve World Championship in the open barrels.
Away from the rodeo she has a business career and recently returned to school to finish her college degree after a 25-year hiatus. It has been a challenge to keep up with work, school and caring for her horses, in addition to competing in numerous rodeos. For Candy, horses, ranch work, and competing are more than a hobby; they are a way of life. She has enjoyed her involvement with the IGRA and appreciates the community support and the diverse rodeo family.