Nellie Miller made big wins at the 2017 Reno (Nevada) Rodeo, St.
Paul (Oregon) Rodeo and the Ellensburg (Washington) Roundup.
This was her second consecutive win at Ellensburg. She earned
130,537 dollars at just forty-seven rodeos and will started the
Wrangler National Finals Rodeo (WNFR) in third place.
With her win record solid in outdoor pens, she looked forward
to taking Sister around the barrels in the Thomas and Mack
Center on the University of Nevada, Las Vegas campus where
she attended college.
In early December last year, it seemed the whole town of
Cottonwood and much of the North State rodeo community
had their eyes on twenty-nine-year-old Miller. It was the
hometown girl’s second advancement to the National Finals
Rodeo, and much had transpired since her first competition
there in 2010. She’d gotten married to James Miller, had two
children, and completed a college degree at Simpson University.
To qualify for the chance to compete for World Champion in
2017, Miller competed in over forty rodeos, taking first at Reno
Rodeo and placing high at the Calgary Stampede, which secured
her place among the top competitors.
Cottonwood, California, cowgirl and her homegrown mare
Rafter W Minnie Reba stormed into the Thomas & Mack Center
arena, making ten clean trips through the cloverleaf to earn
the 2017 Women’s Professional Rodeo Association World
Champion Barrel Racer title as well as the 2017 Wrangler
National Finals Rodeo Aggregate Championship. Miller and
“Sister” ran a 13.85 in round 10 to finish out an aggregate of
137.32 on ten runs, narrowly defeating Ivy Conrado and KN Fabs
Gift of Fame’s 137.40, which placed second in the aggregate.
Miller, Conrado and Lisa Lockhart on An Oakie With Cash
(“Louie”) were the only three cowgirls to stay clean all ten
rounds. All three barrel racers stayed on the same horses
the entire WNFR.
The 2018 rodeo season is already underway with the Red Bluff
Round-Up being the big hometown rodeo that holds a special place
in her heart. Husband James is the Round-Up’s General Manager
and she’s been competing on the grounds since high school.
When Nellie and daughters Payton, five, and Hadley, two, are
feeding, grooming and training with the family of quarter horses
that have taken Miller to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo
in Las Vegas twice, she knows she is passing along a work ethic
and values that have been handed down by her parents, Sam
and Roxy Williams. Miller’s young daughters are with her on her
parents’ Cottonwood ranch helping her care for horses that she
fully embodies the reason three generations of her family have
committed to the rodeo life.
Photo courtesy of PRCA Rodeo LIFE 121