Hailing from Cottonwood, California is Nellie Miller who won $130,536.75 this year after 47 rodeos, and is your number three barrel racer. She is coming to Las Vegas for her second WNFR with three horses. Rafter W Minnie Reba aka “Sister” the AQHA Barrel Horse of the Year, Famous Scarlett aka “Jewel” (by Dash Ta Fame out of a Royal Go Go mare), and Reba’s Smokey Joe aka “Blue Duck” (by Mr Bar Truckle and out of a Blue Light Ike mare.)
What are your main mounts quirks?
She is a very sweet horse but she has some sassy quirks about her. She doesn’t like being brushed off, she falls asleep when I use the nebulizer on her, and she LOVES my husband for some reason which I don’t really think is fair!! Haha
What was your favourite rodeo this year and why?
I had a blast at Calgary this year. Normally we don’t really get to stay in one spot for very long and this year in Calgary I had my whole family with me and we got to stay there for 10 days and is was like a vacation for us we really enjoyed that and it helps when you do well at the rodeo also:)
What has been the best advice you’ve been given regarding barrel racing or rodeo?
I usually get my barrel racing and rodeo advice from my dad. It would be hard to narrow that down but I have figured out through the years it usually pays off to listen to him because he is most likely right!! (don’t tell him I said so though)
If you were just starting out now, who would you train under, what clinics would you be taking? Who do your morals line up with?
If I were just starting out I would focus on just good plain horsemanship and once you have a good foundation of horsemanship barrel racing will come a lot easier. There are a lot of great horse trainers out there and not necessarily barrel trainers that would be good to learn from.
With all the miles made, what kept the WNFR dream alive for you?
I was really determined to make this happen this year because I felt like the timing was right for my family and I had the horsepower to make it happen so with every win this season we got closer and closer to our goal and luckily we had a consistent year from beginning to end and we didn’t have too many emotional ups and downs.
We all know that being competitive takes mental strength. What do you do to keep a sharp mental edge in the game of rodeo? Do you do anything before a run to keep your nerves in check?
There are things I can control and things I can’t control and so when I am rodeoing I just try to keep doing the things I am in control of and not to worry about the things I can’t control. If I ever get a little nervous I try to go back and think about all of my really great runs or I will even watch videos of those runs just to keep those positive feelings in my head before I go.
Under your program, what do you do when a horse feels off to you? Who or what therapies do you include in your program?
I don’t like guessing when it comes to lameness or soreness. This year my vet, Wally Liberman, has been on speed dial which has been a big part of our success because he takes a lot of the guessing out of the equation for me. If I have a problem he and I can usually talk about it over the phone and get a handle on it, if it is serious or if it is a minor issue and then we go from there.
What would you like to see be done in the industry to better rodeo as a sport?
I think rodeo has the tendency to do the same things over and over so I would like see people shake things up a bit and try new stuff.
Nellie would like to thank her sponsors, Wangler, Professional’s Chioce, Haleakala, Oxygen, Total Equine, Greeley Hat Works, and Corral Boots.
Photos submitted by Nellie*