Senior Wins USTRC’s National Finals

Competing at the national level is something that not many high school students can say they’ve done, but that’s not the case for senior Garrett Miller.

On Oct. 31, Miller competed in the National United States Team Roping Championship (USTRC Nationals). Faced against mostly adult, more experienced ropers, Miller took home not one but two national titles in the 11.5 shootout and the #10 shootout.

Team roping involves a steer, which is held inside a chute. Once the steer is pushed out of the chute, it is given a 10-15 foot head start before the ropers get a chance to chase after it on horses. The first roper must throw a rope over the steer’s horns while the other roper tries to catch its back legs with their rope.

While each team competes they are timed on how fast they get the steer to stop, which is usually around 15 seconds. Each team has the opportunity of four runs, and the team with the fastest time wins.

“I was mainly excited for the finals and of course nervous but I didn’t let it get to me,” Miller said. “I’ve competed in other small events, but this was by far the biggest event that I’ve won so far.”

I’ve competed in other small events, but this was by far the biggest event that I’ve won so far.”

— Garrett Miller

Miller and his partner at the time, Tate Thomas, caught their best time of 5.9 seconds giving them a leading score of 30.72 seconds winning the 11.5 shootout.

“It was really cool to win with two of my really good friends,” Miller said. “ I competed in another event with my good friend Joe Hughes, whom I rope with from time to time, and we earned a little bit of money in the competition.”

Miller said he is drawn into the competitiveness of roping, and that it is one of his most important hobbies that keeps him busy. Miller won $37,000 from his 11.5 shootout, but by the end of the competition, he had roughly $47,000, two buckles, two saddles, two new pairs of boots and two new cowboy hats from his other competitions combined.

“I’m just really blessed that I had the opportunity to participate,” Miller said. “My favorite thing about roping is the learning opportunities that I get because everyone is always helping or giving advice.”

Roping comes with the price of skill, horsemanship, teamwork, passion, and the luck of speed. Miller said he hopes to continue being a roper for a living, and he is working really hard to get good at what he does.

“It’s always been a dream of mine to be the best there is by becoming a pro,”Miller said. “I know it’s going to take a lot of work, but I’m willing to work as hard as I can.”