Jayci Miller is raising the bar. She is daring fellow high school rodeo competitors to challenge her newly set Texas High School Rodeo Association record.
The 15-year-old freshman, who is moving with her family from Ozona to the Cowboy Capital of the World this week, has made THSRA history.
Miller is the first girl to qualify for the National High School Rodeo Association Finals in three events - breakaway roping, goat tying and pole bending. Miller's efforts at the state finals also earned her the prestigious title of All-Around Cowgirl honors, a title she considers significant because she bested other girls, freshman through seniors.
Miller said she has always wanted to win the All-Around honor.
“It's always what I went for,” stated Miller, who competes in Region III of the THSRA. The top four qualifiers from each event at the state finals travel to the national competition, this year held in Springfield, IL.
Miller is a high school rodeo competitor that other girls keep their eye on. She didn't stop with winning the All-Around honors in Abilene. She also captured the “Rookie of the Year” award. All freshman rodeo athletes go into the state finals with a clean slate, starting with zero points. The rookie award is then given to the contestant with the best results at the end of the finals.
Miller prefers the excitement of breakaway roping to the other events she competes in, practicing for it the most. Within the last year, she has added team roping to her slate of events and admits it's more challenging than she anticipated, working the heading end of the team.
Miller is anxious to come to Stephenville, especially because of the central location and ease in getting to area rodeos.
“In Stephenville, I can go to two ropings a week where it takes three hours to get somewhere from Ozona,” she said.
Miller just started a home school program through Texas Tech and hopes to finish her high school education within a year and a half. She said she has gained more practice time by switching from public school to a home school program. Miller wants to continue her rodeo career as a Tarleton State University rodeo athlete, perhaps pursuing a degree in nursing, specializing in neo-natal nursing. Her long-term goal though is to qualify for the PRCA's Wrangler National Finals Rodeo with a barrel racing horse that she has trained herself.
Miller said her parents, Kim and Rod, haul her to each and every rodeo, stating “they are there for me every time.”
Jayci's older sister, Victoria, is already attending Tarleton and competes in breakaway roping.