Hadley Miller, a Boyd High School senior, has clinched the North Texas High School Rodeo Association's boy’s all-around title for the third consecutive year.
Miller snared the NTHSRA’s 2018-2019 all-around title because he was the year’s high-point cowboy in multiple events. Miller also clinched the NTHSRA's team roping heading, ribbon roping and bull riding titles.
Miller also competed in the NTHSRA Finals, which was conducted May 31-June 2 at the Shepherd's Valley Cowboy Church Arena in Alvarado, in tie-down roping, team roping heeling and chute dogging.
In this age of specialization, Miller commands respect because he's a title winning competitor in both bull riding and roping events.
“I just love it all,” Miller said. “To say you’re the best in one event is great, but to say you’re the best in all is even better.”
Miller’s success has earned him a rodeo scholarship at Weatherford College, which has a remarkable rodeo program in the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association Southwest Region, a college rodeo super conference. Weatherford College’s rodeo teams is coached by Johnny Emmons, a former National Finals Rodeo tie-down roping qualifier who also won NTHSRA titles in the mid-1980s.
Miller also has aspirations to earn the all-around and tie-down roping titles on the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association circuit. He also aspires to qualify for the Wrangler National Finals in Las Vegas in both tie-down roping and bull riding.
Miller’s parents, Billy and Robbin Miller, competed in youth rodeos. His father rode bucking horses and competed in team roping and his mother competed in barrel racing. Today, his father works for Texas Gas Service of Weatherford and his mother is employed by Twisted X Boots of Decatur.
Miller said he began his rodeo career when he was about 7 or 8 riding calves and competing in playday horse shows. As he grew older, he began competing on the Texas Youth Bull Riders circuit. He also took up tie-down roping while in middle school.
Miller said he realized he could be an all-around title contender when he was about 14 or 15.
“I was entering a bunch of Little Britches rodeos, riding bulls and roping, and that really sparked my interest when I started working both ends of the pen,” he said.
Miller’s mother, Robbin, said her son wins because he has a great work ethic and natural talent.
“That kid works hard not only in the arena,” she said. “He’s worked hard for everything he’s ever had.”
Miller’s father, Billy, said his son looks upon the best interest of others. For example, in the ribbon roping event, he makes a great effort to run the ribbon to the finish line for other ropers whom he’s competing against.
“He will beat himself out of times and places doing good for the other kids,” Billy Miller said. “He’s always trying to give his opponent a good fair shot just as anybody would want. He’s also loaned out his horses when someone else’s horses have come up sore. When someone else needs a horse, he says, ‘Here, grab mine. Go do what you can.’”
Tough bronc rider
In the world of rodeo, cowboy and cowgirl athletes are allowed to compete on the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association and the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association circuits at the same time.
One cowboy who has been making headway on both circuits this season is Riggin Smith, a Clarendon College student who competes in saddle bronc riding.
Smith has earned a trip to the NIRA’s College National Finals Rodeo, which is scheduled for June 9-15 in Casper, Wyo. Smith clinched the saddle bronc riding title at the PRCA's Old Fort Days Rodeo last weekend in Fort Smith, Ark., according to prorodeo.com.
Smith said competing on both circuits at the same time is advantageous.
“They help each other out, really,” Smith said. “You’re always doing something, you’re always working toward what you want to do.”
Smith grew up in Iowa and earned a scholarship at Clarendon College after excelling in high school rodeos. He qualified for the College National Finals as the result of clinching the 2018-2019 saddle bronc riding title in the NIRA’s Southwest Region, which is comprised of schools in Texas and New Mexico such as Texas Tech, South Plains College, Tarleton State, Eastern New Mexico and Weatherford College.
Smith clinched the regional saddle bronc title after earning 1,195 points throughout the regular season, which consists of 10 rodeos. His cousin, Tegan Smith, finished second in the regional saddle bronc title race with 1,140 points and also earned a trip to the CNFR.
Both Riggin and Tegan Smith also helped Clarendon College clinch the 2018-2019 men’s team title in the Southwest Region.
At the May 27-June 1 Fort Smith Rodeo, Riggin Smith clinched the saddle bronc riding title with a score of 85 aboard a bronc named Desert Stomper, which is owned by the Hampton Pro Rodeo stock contracting firm. He earned $2,544.
Tegan Smith also is a prize winning competitor on both the collegiate and pro circuits. During the past weekend, he clinched the saddle bronc riding title at the May 30-June 1 Cherokee Chamber PRCA Rodeo in Cherokee, Iowa. He turned in a winning score of 81 aboard a bronc named Buffalo Zinger, which is owned by the Barnes PRCA Rodeo firm.
The World Champions Rodeo Alliance drew numerous world class competitors to its tour stop rodeo on Saturday, June 1, in Green Bay, Wis. One of them was Joao Ricardo Vieira who clinched the bull riding title at the Titletown Stampede with a final round score of 87.5. Vieira, a Brazilian who lives in Decatur, Texas, earned $74,777.
Thirteen-time Wrangler National Finals qualifier Cody DeMoss, a Louisiana cowboy, clinched the saddle bronc riding title with a score of 90.5. He pocketed $50,000.
In tie-down roping, Cory Solomon and Tanner Green finished as co-champions after each cowboy turned in a no-time in the two-man final round. They each earned $25,000.
Other champions were team ropers Garrett Tonozzi and Joe Mattern, steer wrestler Stockton Graves, barrel racer Michelle Darling, bareback rider Seth Hardwick and break-away roper Shelby Boisjoli.
Boisjoli also competes on the collegiate circuit for Ranger College. She has advanced to the 2019 College National Finals as the result of clinching the 2018-2019 break-away roping title in the NIRA Southwest Region.
The Green Bay WRCA show offered competitors a $1 million purse.
The WRCA show was held in conjunction with a Professional Bull Riders Unleash The Beast tour stop in Green Bay. Cooper Davis, the 2016 PBR world champion, clinched the title on Sunday, June 2, and earned $37,775. Jess Lockwood, the 2017 world champion, finished second and pocketed $19,230. Vieira finished third and collected $17,225.
Vieira earned the $17,225 at the PBR show, a day after pocketing $74,777 at the WCRA event. His total earnings for the weekend in Green Bay were $92,002.
Vieira is ranked No. 2 in the 2019 PBR world standings with 3,120 points. Jose Vitor Leme, a Brazilian who lives in Decatur, is ranked No. 1 with 3,456.66.
Mesquite Rodeo opens
The weekly Mesquite Championship Rodeo in Mesquite kicked off its 2019 season on June 1. Three-time National Finals qualifier Clayton Hass of Weatherford tied for first in steer wrestling with a time of 4.5 seconds. The Mesquite Rodeo, which is sanctioned by the PRCA, runs every Saturday night through Aug. 17.
FW Stockyards Rodeo
Cowtown Coliseum officials announced that they will feature a PRCA rodeo each week beginning June 14 for 10 consecutive weeks in the Fort Worth Stockyards. The performances will begin at 8 p.m. every Friday and Saturday night through Aug. 17.
The Parker County Sheriff's Posse Frontier Days and Rodeo is scheduled for Wednesday, June 12, through Saturday June 15, at the Parker County Sheriff's Posse Arena. The rodeo is sanctioned by the PRCA.
Brett Hoffman, a Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame member, has reported on rodeos and horse shows for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram for more than three decades. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.