Nellie Miller and Rafter W Minnie Reba at the 2019 Cheyenne Frontier Days. BHN photo by Kailey Sullins

World champion Nellie Miller shares a few of her favorite holiday traditions and memories.

By Nellie Miller with Kailey Sullins

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday just because it’s kind of all about the food. Christmas tends to get crazy, especially when you have kids, because of buying all the stuff. I feel like Thanksgiving is kind of a pure holiday and I feel like everybody looks forward to their Thanksgiving meal.

The meal is an important part of Thanksgiving. We always have those staple items on our table. We have turkey of course, and stuffing – I usually cook the stuffing that’s my job and I usually make a pie. Then we have sweet potatoes with marshmallows on top and green beans – just green beans, no green bean casserole – and then fruit salad, mashed potatoes and gravy, and cranberry sauce. It’s one of my favorite meals. I wish we didn’t only have it once a year.

On Christmas we always as a kid and even now we celebrate on Christmas Eve. That’s when we open all our presents, have everyone over to the house, and it’s been really fun the last few years, because the kids are old enough to enjoy it and really get into it which is fun to watch as a parent. They are at the perfect age for Santa and all that mysterious stuff – the last few years we had Santa knock on the door. The kids get a big kick out of that.

On Christmas Day we have a huge breakfast and we have this special breakfast we’ve always cooked called Goldenrod Toast. My grandma always cooked it so we still have it for my Dad because he loves it and he only gets it once a year. It’s hard-boiled eggs and bacon crumbled up in gravy, and there’s a specific way you’re supposed to pile it on toast. That’s our breakfast tradition on Christmas Day is to have Goldenrod Toast. Christmas Day is just a low-key, family day. We spend time together and then eat later on in the day as well – it’s kind of all about eating.

The thing I appreciate most about the holidays is that it’s a time for family. It’s a good excuse to get everybody in the same house at the same time and that’s what it’s about. I feel like especially after having kids Christmas is a lot of fun and they remind you what Christmas is all about. They are just so happy during that time of year it’s just really fun to watch.


Nellie Miller is the 2017 WPRA World Champion and rode her home-raised and -trained 11-year-old mare Rafter W Minnie Reba (KS Cash N Fame x Espuela Roan x Blue Light Ike) - affectionately known as "Sister" - to the title. Miller has amassed $625,517 in Equi-Stat recording lifetime earnings. Email comments or questions to [email protected]

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