Pratt cowboy follows father's footsteps to the top of PRCA ranks.
At the age of 24, Cole Patterson has defied the odds in many ways, from making it to the National Finals for the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) in the steer roping event, winning Rookie of the Year for the PRCA, to his horse winning the Horse of the Year Award.
Patterson is a resident of Pratt, and is the son Shelly and Rocky Patterson. Rocky is a four-time World Champion Steer Roper. Taking after his dad, Patterson has been involved in the rodeo industry for as long as he can remember.
Though Patterson has been rodeoing for his whole life, he hasn’t been steer roping his whole life.
“I think I was 14 or 15 when Dad let me tie my first steer, and he only let me tie about two or three,” Patterson said in an interview with ProRodeo Sports News. “He told me that was all I could tie until I graduated college.”
Using his father’s words as some of his motivation, Patterson got his associate’s degrees in agriculture and in business from Western Oklahoma State College, then transferred to Northwestern Oklahoma State University where he got his bachelor’s degree in agriculture business in May of 2018. During his time in college, he participated in team roping and tie-down roping, as he did when he was in high school.
After he graduated from college, he decided to try professional rodeo. Right away, he had a goal most people would think unimaginable: to qualify for the National Finals to compete with his father.
“It was a goal from day 1 to qualify with him. It’s very rare that you get to compete with any family members at that,” Patterson said. “Very few people get to experience something like that.”
Patterson has traveled all across the midwest and the west for rodeos. The Cheyenne, Wyoming rodeo was his biggest success this year, where he took home a little under $7,000.
With all of his earnings from the 2019 season, Cole will go on to compete at the National Finals; a goal he says every cowboy has.
“Everybody when they start out at the beginning of the year has one goal, and that’s a world championship, just like any other sport,” Patterson said.
The National Finals, being 10 rounds total over the course of two days, will take preparation, both physically and mentally.
“Lots of practice, try to get in the best shape possible, try to have my horses as ready as possible, and try not to overthink it,” are what Patterson said he will do to prepare. “The same thing we’ve been doing all year.”
Since this was his first year doing professional rodeo and he had so much success, he was named the PRCA Rookie of the Year for his accomplishments. Along with this, his horse was chosen by the top 25 cowboys in the world as the Horse of the Year; a huge honor for both the horse and the cowboy.
“There’s so many great horses out there,” Patterson explained. “For the top 25 (cowboys) in the world to think that my horse was the best Horse of the Year is a pretty good honor.”
Patterson said training his horse wasn’t a simple task.
“There’s a lot of work that goes into it,” Patterson said.
Patterson has enjoyed his first year in professional rodeo, and he struggled to think of just one aspect he enjoyed most.
“I don’t know if I could narrow it down,” Patterson said, “I enjoy the whole thing. It’s so challenging that knowing that you’re part of an elite group is probably the most satisfying part.”