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Meet the Member Mikenzy Miller
story by Lily Weinacht
“I love all the people I get to meet in rodeo and the great lifelong friendships you get to make. It’s a passion of mine and I could never see myself not doing it,” says Mikenzy Miller. “You work hard and see it pay off, and it makes you a better person, and it’s made a way for me to go to college.”
The 18-year-old SDHSRA competitor from Faith, South Dakota, started rodeoing when she was 3 or 4, following after her grandparents, Ed and Karen Miller. They rodeoed in college, and Mikenzy found her own place on the rodeo trail, competing in junior high and qualifying for the NJHFR before joining the SDHSRA as a freshman. She’s also serving as the SDHSRA Student President. “It’s been really fun, and it shows you how much work goes into it, and a lot of people give up their time to make the rodeos happen for us. We should be really grateful for what we have. We had a meeting this winter to pick out rodeo shirts and jackets for state finals, and shirts for Nationals, and we try to help the directors in the meetings when they need a member’s opinion.”
On the competitive side, Mikenzy enters the barrel racing, pole bending, goat tying, breakaway roping, and team roping with heeler Tyson Shelby. “My two favorites are breakaway and goats. Goat tying I like because you can really see when your hard work pays off, and breakaway is my grandmother’s favorite and I really like it too,” she explains. “I definitely look up to my grandparents. They’ve done so much throughout the whole process and taken me to the high school rodeos, and they’re always there to help me.” She qualified for the NHSFR last year in pole bending and breakaway roping, and Mikenzy also joined the SDRA last year. She hauls to their rodeos with her friends, and her grandparents always travel out to watch her compete.
For high school rodeo, Mikenzy loads up four horses. “King is my breakaway and goat horse and I love him to death. Stealer is my barrel horse and Stormy is my pole horse and backup barrel horse, and Blackie is my head horse. My dad trained Blackie when I was 8, and then I took him over. We also have one dog named Spade, and other than that we’re surrounded by horses and cattle.” Mikenzy’s grandparents used to run a large cattle operation, but are scaling back and plan to retire when she leaves for college.
A senior at Faith High School, Mikenzy packed her year with dual credit and AP classes, along with her required classes. She also played volleyball and basketball all four years of high school, and is attending University of Wyoming this fall on a rodeo scholarship. “I’m doing goats, breakaway, barrels, and possibly team roping. I’m still working my major out, but I like communications and journalism, or possibly counseling or education.” Mikenzy has also done numerous extracurricular activities in high school, including student council and drama club, as well as playing chess. She’s also an avid cribbage player with her grandparents.
“Because I’m nearing the end of high school, I want to finish with higher than a 4.0 GPA for the quarter. In rodeo I definitely want to make it to state and win the goats or breakaway, or both, and make it to Nationals. This fall with college rodeo, I’d like to make a good transition from high school and compete well there too. I give all the glory to God.”