Kaytlyn Miller, an Enterprise High School freshman from Dammeron Valley, just roped her way into the spotlight with a first-place finish in Breakaway at the National High School Finals Rodeo in Rock Springs, Wyoming.
She was named the All-Around Cowgirl and All-Around Rookie Cowgirl for accumulating the most points of any girl in the entire rodeo. She finished at the top with 1,600 points—second place in All-Around Cowgirl went to Kelly Valdez (La Junta, Colorado) with 1,065 points.
Miller posted a Breakaway Roping average of 7.87 for the fastest average time of any other girl in the competition. Her performance, grouped with others from the state, helped propel Utah to a team national championship ahead of Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Arizona.
“I had good confidence going in, and it worked out,” Miller said. “I went up against a bunch of tough girls, and the way it was going it went well. I felt my best on the first day. That was the time to be fast and go.”
Miller rode her horse, Shorty, which she has ridden since she was 10, for both Breakaway Roping and Goat-Tying, and the pair got the job done.
“I put an equal amount of focus into each of my events in the practice pen,” she said, “but when it comes down to being in the arena I would say I put more into Breakaway.”
In other events, Miller placed fifth in Barrel Racing and eighth overall in Goat-Tying.
She still has three more years of competing in the National High School Finals Rodeo. She said she hopes to be back in the same position next year, but understands the difficult road required.
“It takes the hours you’re to put into the day and the focus you put into the practice pen,” she said. “You have to leave everything out there or you won’t know what you’re capable of when the time comes to be quick.”
Miller said her parents made the big difference in how she approaches her competitions and getting into the right mindset.
“My parents have really encouraged me throughout the way,” she said. “They’ve made sure I put in the hours and hard work and also made sure I stayed humble and maintained the right state of mind.”
No Utah rodeo team is complete without a Wright from Milford making a name for himself. Ryder Wright scored a 232 in Saddle Bronc last week to place first, winning the national championship in the category. His points helped contribute to both the Boys team championship, and overall team championship for Utah.
Follow Richard Briggs on Twitter, @BriggsRich.