I was able to catch up with Nellie Miller, in between runs at Rodeo Houston, and ask her a few questions!
Hometown: Cottonwood, CA
What horses are you traveling with?
I am traveling with rafter w Minnie Reba aka sister. I chose to bring her by herself because I feel like she hauls better alone and is focused on me instead of another horse.
What is your greatest accomplishment?
My greatest accomplishment was making the NFR in 2010. It was my goal from the time I was a little girl, and to fulfill something that is so difficult and challenging and to have so many ups and downs along the way, that when you finally make it happen it is just the best feeling in the world.
What is your favorite rodeo and why?
There are so many to choose from but my favorite rodeo is Salinas, CA. I grew up going to this rodeo with my family and my dad won the team roping in 1980, and I was able to win it last year so it is very sentimental for us because we have so many years of good memories there. Not only that, but the weather is beautiful and you get to stay longer than you normally would anywhere else. The hospitality is great so it's like a vacation while you are still on the road.
How do you prepare for different arenas?
I prepare differently for each arena. It really helps if I have been there before because I already have a feel for it. I really focus on the entry into the arena and my approach for the first barrel because it sets up the whole run. If I am able to watch a few girls go it helps me get a feel for what the setup is and how the ground is, and I ride my horse according to each different condition.
What thoughts go through your head before you enter the alley?
I try to keep things positive and I just try to focus on what I have planned for my run. Sometimes it's hard to push down negative thoughts but I try to plan for things to go the right way instead of being scared that something bad will happen.
What is the hardest thing about rodeoing?
The hardest thing about rodeoing is trying to balance everything. There are so many factors like making sure your horse is feeling my good, taking care my family on the road, making sure everything is taken care of at home, managing the truck and trailer etc. There is a lot of management and I definitely could not do it without a team.
What is your favorite place to eat on the road?
I love to eat so I really am not too picky but it seems like a treat when we get to have a Cracker Barrel breakfast. It tastes like home on the road!
What place do you try to avoid eating at while on the road?
I definitely try to avoid truck stop fast food. I try to avoid fast food in general but truck stop fast food tastes extra bad!!
There are sooooo many people that help me. My sponsors: Wrangler, Professional Choice, Oxygen, Total Equine. And I could not do it without a strong support team, my entire family helping in every single aspect and friends that are there for me whenever I need to ask a favor. It all matters and it all makes such a difference in my success.
Nellie will be running barrels in the finals at Rodeo Houston on Saturday, March 25th and has pocketed a little over $5,000 through the qualifying brackets. The California cowgirl is currently sitting 9th in the WPRA world standings with $19,579.37.
We wish you the best of luck!
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