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First-time NFR qualifier Emily Miller wins Round One of the 2019 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo aboard Namgis D 33.


December 5, 2019 — Las Vegas — It’s one thing to qualify for your first Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. It’s another to start winning the very first time your horse sets foot on the famed Thomas and Mack Center arena dirt. First-time NFR qualifier Emily Miller did just so aboard her 2010 gelding Namgis D 33 (Bucks Hancock Dude x Track Goddess x Eyesa Special), clocking a 13.63 to claim Round One of the NFR.

The Weatherford, Oklahoma, dental hygienist says she focused on riding correctly to keep a clear mental frame for the barrel run she’s dreamed of making her entire life.

“I was nervous before the grand entry, and then we got to do the grand entry which was an absolute blast, so that kind of knocked the edge off me and I knew it was time to go do what I worked all year for,” Miller said. “I kept telling myself sit up, look to your spots. I try to keep it simple and not let my nerves get to me. I know if I put that horse in the right place, he’ll take care of the rest.”

Emily Miller coming into the first barrel
Emily Miller and Namgis D 33 head into the first barrel in a first-round winning run of 13.63 seconds, worth $26,230.77. Photo by Ross Hecox

Her 2019 Rodeo Austin champion mount didn’t require much work this week. Miller used practice to breeze her other horses through the barrels to acclimate herself with the tight confines of the Thomas and Mack.

“I cruised my other two horses through just to get a feel for me,” Miller said. “On Chongo, I just kept slow work, took him down the pen. He really wants to hunt a barrel, so I just tried to keep him free and loose—I don’t think I even got him out of a trot. He knows his job, it’s just a matter of me making sure I know how to do mine with him.”

Miller, who headed into the NFR in the No. 7 spot with $98,144.73 on the season, moved up to No. 4 in the world with the round win. She says competing against the women she’s admired since she was a young girl has made this experience more than a dream come true.

“This group of women, it’s unreal to be surrounded by people I grew up looking up to, wanting to be them. To get here and compete with them, to have Lisa Lockhart holler as soon as I get back to the tent, “Good job Emily!” That is unreal. It gives me chills talking about it,” Miller said. “They’ve all been so helpful; there’s no way I could be here without everybody’s help.”

Round One Results

  1. Emily Miller, Namgis D 33, 13.63, $26,230.77
  2. Lisa Lockhart, Prime Diamond, 13.70, $20,730.77
  3. Stevi Hillman, MCM Imasharpguy, 13.75, $15,653.85
  4. Nellie Miller, Rafter W Minnie Reba, 13.90, $11,000
  5. Jessica Routier, Fiery Miss West, 13.97; Jennifer Sharp, KR Famous Tequilla, 13.97, $5,500 each
  6. Shali Lord, Freckles Ta Fame, 14.01
  7. Brittany Pozzi Tonozzi, Ima Famous Babe, 14.02
  8. Ericka Nelson, Goodfrenchmanfriday, 14.05
  9. Ivy Conrado-Saebens, KN Fabs Gift Of Fame, 14.07
  10. Dona Kay Rule, High Valor, 14.08
  11. Lacinda Rose, RR Meradas Real Deal, 14.46
  12. Hailey Kinsel, DM Sissy Hayday, 18.66*
  13. Cheyenne Wimberley, 19.09*
  14. Amberleigh Moore, CP Dark Moon, 23.81**

*denotes penalty

Aggregate Standings on One Run

  1. Emily Miller, Namgis D 33, 13.63
  2. Lisa Lockhart, Prime Diamond, 13.70
  3. Stevi Hillman, MCM Imasharpguy, 13.75
  4. Nellie Miller, Rafter W Minnie Reba, 13.90
  5. Jessica Routier, Fiery Miss West, 13.97; Jennifer Sharp, KR Famous Tequilla, 13.97
  6. Shali Lord, Freckles Ta Fame, 14.01
  7. Brittany Pozzi Tonozzi, Ima Famous Babe, 14.02
  8. Ericka Nelson, Goodfrenchmanfriday, 14.05
  9. Ivy Conrado-Saebens, KN Fabs Gift Of Fame, 14.07
  10. Dona Kay Rule, High Valor, 14.08
  11. Hailey Kinsel Lockwood, DM Sissy Hayday, 18.66*
  12. Cheyenne Wimberley, VQ Sucker Punch, 19.09*
  13. Amberleigh Moore, CP Dark Moon, 23.81**

*denotes penalty

World Standings

  1. Lisa Lockhart, $177,082.42
  2. Nellie Miller, $175,610.5
  3. Hailey Kinsel Lockwood, $158,866.64
  4. Emily Miller, $134,375.5
  5. Stevi Hillman, $130,988.67
  6. Shali Lord, $121,775.59
  7. Brittany Pozzi Tonozzi, $115,503.4
  8. Jessica Routier, $112,081.9
  9. Jennifer Sharp, $107,254.45
  10. Dona Kay Rule, $106,507.49
  11. Ericka Nelson, $103,433.24
  12. Ivy Conrado Saebens, $103,269.24
  13. Amberleigh Moore, $103,059.22
  14. Cheyenne Wimberley, $100,360.85
  15. Lacinda Rose, $98,935.85
Author

Blanche Schaefer is an avid barrel racer and associate editor of Barrel Horse News. Email comments or questions to [email protected]

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