Jesse Bratt 1916-2001
Inducted 1998 Curling, Hockey
Jesse Crawford Bratt, the youngest of five, was born on the family farm just southwest of Gray. He officially started farming in 1935 with his father Llew and two brothers Lyle and Elwyn. On June 29, 1940 he married Edythe Hendrickson at her farm home north of Milestone. Together they farmed and raised their family of three daughters on the original 1889 homestead of his grandfather Jesse Bratt Sr. (the municipality of Bratt’s Lake was named after Jesse Bratt Sr).
He learned to skate alongside Raymond Hannan on Bratt’s Lake. Jesse began skating by wearing his older brother’s skates with several pairs of socks in them. Unfortunately, the skates were still many sizes too big but he persevered and became an exceptional speedster. Jesse always said that if he could have handled the puck as well as he skated, he could have really gone somewhere in hockey. Jesse was a junior skating racing champion in Regina. If he was in first place at the first corner, he never lost a race. He even beat senior racers as a junior skater. He was recruited by speed skating coaches who encouraged him to race in interprovincial meets. Accepting their invitation meant he would have to forego playing hockey - he chose hockey.
Jesse enjoyed any sport that involved speed and agility. He tried barrel jumping on skates but after a couple of really rough tumbles and no protection decided not to do that anymore. He loved bike racing at the Regina Exhibition Grounds during his public and high school days. He said that he could reach speeds of 35 miles per hour on the dirt track. He was a speedball on his bike as well as on his skates! He played junior and senior football while attending Central Collegiate in Regina. He also played a type of soccer but wasn’t too crazy about it. Jesse would have liked to have played baseball but since it was a summer sport and there was always work to do on the farm he wasn’t allowed to play unless the team hired somebody to work for him.
Jesse was a well-rounded athlete but hockey was his favorite sport. He played for teams in Regina including the Knox Metropolitan Shamrocks and the Presbyterian Church Team and between these two teams won six city championships. He went on to play and travel throughout the province on various Intermediate, Junior and Senior hockey teams. They often traveled in the back of a three-ton truck with a tarp over it. After the games they usually didn’t even take time to change; just took off their skates and headed home. It’s a wonder they didn’t die of cold or pneumonia. When he played Junior hockey with an Army and Navy sponsored team, he always wanted to ride in Bill Chadwick’s car (one of the Army and Navy owners) because Bill drove really fast and whoever went with him could be dressed and on the ice before the other car arrived. They even took the train to some playoff games. Jesse was asked to play with Notre Dame College Wilcox but his dad would not allow him—too much work to do. When Jesse started farming full-time, he played defense with a very good Gray senior team.
Jesse enjoyed curling as an adult. In his early years of curling he and Morris Husband were the “young” front end for Bob Montgomery and Gene Hendrickson. He later curled with Earl Lewis, Fred Van de Kamp, Corky Lafoy and others. Both Jesse and Edythe curled in the regular draws at Gray and in a number of area bonspiels. In later years Jesse curled competitively with Norton Frei, Ken Hendrickson, and Ron Lewis in the Massey Ferguson playdowns and in the Regina Men’s Bonspiel, where they won many events and the Grand Aggregate twice.
Jesse and Edythe were long time Roughrider season ticket holders and cheered for the Riders throughout their lives. They were also avid supporters of all the sport endeavors of their children and grandchildren— hockey, ball, figure skating, track and field, swimming, skiing, karate, triathlons, or golf. Sports were always an important part of Jesse’s life!