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Meet the Member Faith Miller
story by Lily Weinacht
“The people you meet along the way (are inspiring), and when you accomplish those goals that you’ve set for yourself for a long time, it makes it all worth it.” Faith Miller took home her second state title in the cutting from the 2019 KHSRA Finals in June, while her hard work in her other events of pole bending, breakaway roping, and goat tying, sent her home as the year-end reserve all-around cowgirl. “They had a Smarty roping going on all week, and there was a dance, but it was mainly fun getting to see all the friends I won’t get to see again, or maybe not until Nationals.” The 17-year-old from Emporia, Kansas, finished in the top 15 in all her events, and following the NCHA National Western Championship in Denver, Colorado, she has just a week or two to regroup and head for the NHSFR.
Faith started riding when she was 4, and everyone from her parents to her rodeo family has helped cultivate her love of horsemanship and competition. “My mom, Frances Miller, helps me in the cutting, and she keeps me mounted on amazing horses and is always driving me to be better. Ashley Baxstrom, James Davis, and Dirk Blakesley have helped me in the cutting, and Kevin Wiseman and Dustin Jilek have helped me with my roping, which has been a tremendous help. And I want to thank my dad, Brian Miller, for always getting me cattle to work and rope.”
Practice is a daily routine for Faith, and she rides with her 11-year-old sister, Hope, who will start rodeoing in the KJHSRA next year. “They’re all my favorite events, actually, because I get to ride really great horses and it makes them fun, but cutting is by far my favorite event. There’s so many nice people in the cutting world, and my mom used to cut,” says Faith. “I think it’s very important to have cutting and reining cow horse in high school rodeo. The big difference is how you present yourself. You have to be sure of yourself when you walk into the herd to cut a cow, or when you go to switch leads in the reining cow horse, you need to know exactly what to do.”
Faith’s main cutting show horse, Mister Ray Gun, turns 7 this year. “He’s super pretty, and amazing at his job. My breakaway and goat horse is T-Bone, and I just started riding him this year. My pole horse is Blue, and he’s super good at his job.” Faith’s dad also owns a preconditioned feedlot and runs cow/calf pairs. Be it checking pastures, weaning calves, or riding feedlot pens, Faith is ready for the job, on top of caring for 75 show sheep they breed and sell. Her personal project is maintaining her goat herd of 75–100 mama goats and selling the kids that she doesn’t keep for tying. Come fair time, she also shows lambs, pigs, and goats occasionally.
When they gather up in between their many activities, Faith and her family enjoying going out to eat together, and going on a yearly vacation without the horses in tow. This fall, she’s a senior studying through Manhattan Virtual Academy. “This will be my second year doing it. It allows me to travel, and I still get my homework done early or when I get back,” she says. “For college goals, I’m wanting to pursue a pre law degree and college rodeo, and a senior year goal would be to make it to Nationals in breakaway, cutting, and goats.”