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Rodeo: Saddle up – Boyd junior defends all-around title

By Reece Waddell | Published Wednesday, June 6, 2018
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BACK ON TOP – Boyd junior Hadley Miller defended his North Texas High School Rodeo Association title in Alvarado two weeks ago. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Hadley Miller wasted no time adding three more saddles to his already extensive collection.

The Boyd junior got off to a fast start at the North Texas High School Rodeo Association Finals in Alvarado two weeks ago with one goal in mind – defend his all-around title.

In his first event of the day, Miller came out of the gate strong, quickly roping his calf to give him a slim cushion on the rest of the field.

“The calf roping was neck-and-neck,” Miller said. “I was the first person out. I went and caught my calf and tied him – made a good run. The kid that was 43 points behind me missed, so that set me apart.”

Despite getting bucked off both of his bulls, Miller held on to defend his all-around title with a total of 4,791 points. He claimed single event titles in tie-down roping and bull riding, as well.

“I was bucked off both [my bulls], but I was far enough ahead to where they couldn’t catch me,” Miller said. “My gameplan going into finals was do the best I could do. And if they beat me, they beat me. It felt awesome that I was able to do what I set out to do.”

Practice time is precious for Miller, who has to balance school work and the several events he competes in. His ability to master several events propelled him to the top.

“I started roping calves the end of my eighth grade year,” Miller said. “I struggled for a long time trying to get them caught. It’s a different loop than team roping. I’d rope them around the ears a lot.”

While Miller is proud of being the all-around champion, bull riding is what he enjoys the most.

Miller won the 14-17 division in bull riding at the Junior National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas last December. He posted scores of 76, 70.5 and 86 to claim the buckle.

“You don’t have any control. I just like it,” Miller said. “You have to react.”

The 5-4 cowboy starting riding bulls in 2007 and draws inspiration from former PBR competitor Ben Jones.

Miller’s horse, a 13-year-old named Pistol, has been with Miller for both of his NTHSRA titles.

“He’s a great horse, but he has an attitude,” Miller joked. “You’ll hear him snorting over there and stuff. He’s feeling his oats today. He’s a little guy but he tries his hardest and is the real deal.”

Miller has one year left of high school and has already started looking at several colleges. Among those on his list are Weatherford, Cisco and Clarendon.

He hopes to receive a rodeo scholarship to one of the schools, join the rodeo team and eventually turn pro.

For now, Miller is focused on closing out his final year of high school with his third straight all-around title.

“I plan on trying to make it a three-peat,” Miller said. “It would feel great. That’s what the plan is. We’re going to go try to get it done.”

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