For high school rodeo star Hadley Miller, bull riding is one high-octane event.
“It’s like jumping out of a car that’s going 80 miles per hour going down the freeway,” Miller said. “Everything happens so quickly. You don’t have time to think. You just have to react. Half the time, you don’t see the bull. You just see the stars and hope you stay on.”
Miller, 18, is the North Texas Rodeo Association’s top bull rider. The Boyd High School senior also clinched the NTHSRA’s boys all-around title for the third consecutive year. Brittne Thomas, 18, an Alvarado senior who thrives in the goat tying events, clinched the NTHSRA’s girls all-around title for the third consecutive year after competing in the NTHSRA Finals, which was held Friday through Sunday at the Shepherd’s Valley Cowboy Church Arena.
Miller snared the NTHSRA’s 2018-2019 all-around title because he was the year’s high-point cowboy in multiple events. In addition to bull riding, Miller also clinched the NTHSRA’s team roping heading and ribbon roping titles. He also competed at the NTHSRA Finals in tie-down roping, team roping heeling and chute dogging.
“I just love it all,” Miller said. “To say you’re the best in one event is great, but to say you’re the best in all is even better.”
Miller’s success has earned him a rodeo scholarship at Weatherford College, which has a remarkable rodeo program in the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association Southwest Region, a college rodeo super conference. Weatherford College’s rodeo teams are coached by Johnny Emmons, a former National Finals Rodeo tie-down roping qualifier who also won NTHSRA titles in the mid-1980s.
Miller also has aspirations to earn the all-around and tie-down roping titles on the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association circuit. He also aspires to qualify for the Wrangler National Finals in Las Vegas in both tie-down roping and bull riding.
Miller’s parents, Billy and Robbin Miller, competed in youth rodeos. His father rode bucking horses and competed in team roping and his mother competed in barrel racing. Today, his father works for Texas Gas Service of Weatherford and his mother is employed by Twisted X Boots of Decatur.
Miller said he began his rodeo career when he was about 7 or 8 riding calves and competing in playday horse shows. As he grew older, he began competing on the Texas Youth Bull Riders circuit. He also took up tie-down roping while in middle school.
Miller said he realized he could be an all-around title contender when he was about 14 or 15.
“I was entering a bunch of Little Britches rodeos, riding bulls and roping, and that really sparked my interest when I started working both ends of the pen,” he said.
Miller’s mother, Robbin, said her son wins because he has a great work ethic and natural talent.
“That kid works hard not only in the arena,” she said. “He’s worked hard for everything he’s ever had.”
Miller’s father, Billy, said his son looks upon the best interest of others. For example, in the ribbon roping event, he makes a great effort to run the ribbon to the finish line for other ropers whom he’s competing against.
“He will beat himself out of times and places doing good for the other kids,” Billy Miller said. “He’s always trying to give his opponent a good fair shot just as anybody would want. He’s also loaned out his horses when someone else’s horses have come up sore. When someone else needs a horse, he says, ‘Here, grab mine. Go do what you can.’”