Saddle bronc regional champion heads to CNFR
Colton Miller, a recent graduate from Central Wyoming College (CWC) in Riverton, spent ample time on campus in the week prior to the College National Finals Rodeo, just to get a few more practices in before the big event.
Following the tradition of rodeo in his family, Miller is a third generation saddle bronc rider from Lance Creek.
“Everyone in my family has something to do with rodeo. Both my dad and my granddad were saddle bronc riders, and I grew up watching my dad rodeo,” says Miller. “I started riding when I was a sophomore in high school, and it just went from there.”
Choosing to compete in saddle bronc was an easy decision for Miller to make when he started.
“I had seen pictures of my dad and my granddad riding when I was growing up, and it stood out to me as one of my favorite events,” says Miller.
The road to CNFR
Gaining momentum throughout his rodeo career, Miller won the saddle bronc event at the Wyoming State High School Finals Rodeo in his senior year of high school and has won the regional title in the Central Rocky Mountain Region both years he attended CWC, also in the saddle bronc event.
He claimed the 2013 title with 795 points.
“Colton has had an outstanding season,” Andrew Schrock, head coach for the CWC Rustler rodeo team, says proudly. “He had a decent fall, but he dominated this spring and is doing really well right now.”
Both regional titles guaranteed him qualification to the CNFR for 2012 and 2013. He placed 15th in the 2012 CNFR with a no score in the first go.
“I’m pretty excited about going to the CNFR,” Miller says. “It is the Rose Bowl of college rodeo.”
Preparing for the competition, Miller has been practicing with broncs at his home at CWC.
“Before I get on my horse, I like to go through what to do in my head,” say Miller. “I just keep telling myself to keep lifting and charging.”
Three Rustlers qualify for CNFR
Miller will be joined by two of his teammates, Blain Mathews, a saddle bronc rider, and Shaylee Hance in goat tying, at the CNFR.
“Blain came in this year and had a really good fall,” says Schrock. “Blain just has an outstanding attitude and never hangs his head when something doesn’t go his way.”
Mathews tied for third in the region for saddle bronc with Travis Nelson of Gillette College with 475 points.
“Shaylee is our women’s team captain and is such a hard worker. Goat tying is definitely her forte,” continues Schrock.
Hance won the regional title for goat tying, with over 130 points separating her from second place Jordan Thurston of Gillette College.
Schrock says he is proud of all of the Rustlers that are going to the CNFR this year and they all have the potential to do really well in the competition.
“The Central Rocky Mountain Region is a tough one, and I am really proud of every one of them,” Schrock adds.
Continuing to rodeo
Miller recently completed his time at CWC and will be heading to Tarleton State University in Stephenville, Texas in the fall to be coached by Mark Eakin.
In addition to rodeoing for the college, Miller will be pursing his degree in rangeland ecology and management.
However, after graduation, Miller plans to rodeo professionally.
“Once I get out of college, I plan on getting my rookie card and going at it hard,” Miller adds.
Kelsey Tramp is assistant editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.