story by Lindsay Humphrey “I was born carrying a rope.” It’s a bold statement from 14-year-old Gunnar Tipton who’s been roping calves and heels competitively […]
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Meet the Member Teagan Miller
story by Lindsay King
Named the all-around rookie of the year in the NMJHSRA last year, Teagan Miller was also the only sixth grader to finish in the top ten in the breakaway roping. The Artesia, New Mexico, seventh grader also runs poles, barrels, ribbons and ties goats. “My favorite events are breakaway and goat tying, they get my adrenaline going the most. Since I have ran barrels since I was five, my focus has been on those two events for the past couple of months,” said the 13-year-old. The daughter of a bull rider, Robby Miller, Teagan fell in love with barrel racing from watching her cousin. Though her mom Jennifer was never directly involved in rodeo herself, she, along with the rest of her family, are Teagan’s biggest fans. “My parents are always there for me and they push me to be the best I can be. We basically practice every day.”
Though it was the Artesia high school rodeo coach, Kerrie Pitts Cage, and her daughter Kenna Sullivan who essentially trained Teagan. There are several other’s who have contributed to her success, including roping help from Travis and Tauna Alcorn. They have all given her the opportunities she needed to excel. “I love the competitive nature of rodeo and that I get to be around my friends and family. But it has taught me nothing comes easy and that you have to work hard for anything you want in life.” The hard work paid huge dividends at a Loveland, Colorado, rodeo where Teagan qualified for the JrNFR. The national stage gave Teagan the opportunity to overcome her fear of performing in front of a large crowd. “It was packed, everyone was there it seemed. It was easy to put a lot of pressure on myself, but it was a good fear to overcome.” Astride a brand new horse, it was their first rodeo together. “It wasn’t the best run we ever had, but all the barrels were standing. My second run in Vegas was on the horse I qualified on. Going to Vegas was definitely my proudest moment. It was kind of a waiting game at the qualifier, but I was really excited and proud when they announced I made it.”
Running multiple barrel horses is common for Teagan. “When I was 8, I ran three different barrel horses, so I have to keep my mental game focused on the horse I am riding.” It’s a step-by-step process for Teagan where she only has 0.2 seconds to think about the next part of the process. Though that all comes down to training, the part Teagan considers the most difficult of rodeo. “Training yourself and your horse to make sure you are perfect and flow together is tough.” Though this level of horsemanship is something Teagan admires in her rodeo role model Sherry Cervi. She aspires to train her own set of colts for barrel futurities one day.
She also has plans to become an anesthesiologist. “On my dad’s side of the family there are a lot of people in different parts of the medical field. I have wanted to become a doctor my whole life, but I never knew which one.” Her older brother Tyler Mansell, 19, put the idea in her head. Luckily, Teagan got to explore her future career path further when wrote a report about it, ultimately confirming her interest. Teagan looks forward to school every day because she is excited about going to college. She’s an avid fan of the Oklahoma Sooners, but is also looking at Texas Tech University so she can continue to rodeo. When she isn’t studying or riding, Teagan is hunting. “Whatever I have a tag for I am happy to shoot. If I have a tag I am going out to hunt. I just got my first white tail deer, they are rare in New Mexico.”