Ryan Miller of Neepawa, Manitoba is involved in a family tradition competing in the sport of rodeo. He has not only gained plenty of knowledge competing at the high school level, but the wisdom passed down by his father and mother, Neil and Brenda, along with older brother Justin, has made him a better cowboy.
“My dad has competed in rodeo for years – he started competing at roping when he was 15 and competed in calf roping, team roping and steer wrestling for many years,” said Miller. “He was the steer-wrestling champion on numerous occasions within the Manitoba Rodeo Cowboys Association (MRCA) and this past October, he was inducted into the MRCA Hall of Fame.”
And like his father, his brother Justin has staked claim to a number of championships at both the high school and college level including being a top bulldogger.
“As a Manitoba High School Rodeo Association (MHSRA) member for four years, my brother won all-round championships, along with steerwrestling and calf-roping titles,” said Miller. “Upon graduation in 2006, he became a member of the Dickinson, North Dakota rodeo team, winning the all-round champion and two steerwrestling championships for the Great Plains Region. As a college rodeo athlete he competed at three finals in Casper, Wyoming and presently holds down the arena record in steer wrestling at the college finals.”
BORN INTO LIFESTYLE
Along with providing good horses that fit him to compete on, Miller has been around the cowboy lifestyle since he was born 18 years ago.
As he was already going to MHSRA events with his parents and older brother, it was fitting that Miller try his hand at certain rodeo events when they brought in the Wrangler Junior High Division in the fall of 2004.
“I decided to try boys’ goat tying and breakaway roping as a Grade 6 student,” said Miller. “Enjoying both events, I added chute dogging in Grade 7 and in my final year of junior high eligibility I entered ribbon roping and changed from breakaway to tie-down roping, formerly known as calf roping.”
Even at a young age, Miller was a role model, finishing out the Wrangler division winning the goat tying, chute dogging, tie-down roping, and all-round championships. Venturing into high school competition in 2007, Miller competed in tie-down roping and team roping, and still competes in those two events with tie-down roping being a favourite.
“Being involved in the MHSRA has put forth good sportsmanship, good friends and lots of fun,” said Miller. “Rodeo is a great pastime and I really enjoy it. With the cowboy lifestyle being a part of mine and my family’s life for so long, the mileage needed to be covered to make the show, doesn’t bother me at all.”
But at the same time, Miller finds it nice to have the opportunity to compete at a hometown rodeo.
“Hometown rodeos, such as in my case, being the Stoney Creek Stampede in June is a blessing, as it’s always nice to showcase your talents in front of family and friends,” said Miller.
Having the opportunity to be part of Team Manitoba at the Nationals in Gillette, Wyoming and the Canadians in Virden, Manitoba in 2010 was also a blessing, but a tad disappointing as well.
“Leading the tie-down roping going into the final round at the Canadian finals, I was disappointed that I missed my calf,” said Miller, who will graduate from the Neepawa Area Collegiate Institute in June. “However, I was very happy to win the second round of the tie-down roping and am proud to wear a Canadians go round buckle.
As the season plays out, Miller hopes to qualify for both the Nationals and Canadians, returning to both Wyoming and Manitoba soil once again this summer.
Last year, it wasn’t only competing against top elite high school rodeo athletes that made it extra special, Miller also had the time of his life team roping with an extra-special partner and mentor in his dad – a champion that has a passion for rodeo at various levels including high school.
– Darrell Nesbitt writes from Shoal Lake, Manitoba.