|Posted on April 10, 2017 at 3:00 PM|
It was a horse race to the finish at the 2017 Ram National Circuit Finals Rodeo and coming out on top was Emily Miller and Namgis D 35.
By Kailey Sullins
Emily Miller, a full-time dental hygienist, claimed the Ram National Circuit Finals Rodeo Barrel Racing Championship Sunday April 9, 2017, with a standout performance. Miller qualified to the semifinals after a solid showing all week and turned in a 15.51 to punch her ticket to the top four finals round. Making two runs in one day didn’t bother her standout mount, Namgis D 35 as he came back in the finals to turn in a 15.27 to take the title.
“This is my dream,” Miller said through an emotional voice after her title run. “After I made it last year as a last minute replacement it was my goal to come back and win this thing and ‘Pipewrench’ was incredible today.”
Miller struggled in last year’s Circuit Finals getting the right approach to the first barrel, however this year she was able to dial in her great mount and turn in a great showing all week. The Weatherford, Oklahoma, duo started the week strong with a 15.46 in round one, which earned her fourth in the round and $2,274.
In round two “Pipewrench,” who’s by Bucks Hancock Dude and out of Central Station by First Down Dash, led Miller to a 15.78, which was out of the money in the round, however put them in seventh in the average qualifying them to the top eight semifinals round.
The top eight contestants met back inside the Silver Spurs Arena Sunday, April 9, 2017, at 2:30 p.m., for the clean-slate semifinals where the top four would qualify back to another clean-slate finals round. In the semifinals Miller and Pipewrench crossed the timer’s line in 15.51 seconds qualifying them back to the finals round.
In the finals round Miller knew it was all or nothing and entered the arena in full determination. The duo left the crowd on their feet after turning in a smooth 15.27 to take the title.
“After [the first round] I knew I just needed to make it to today. Today is the important part,” Miller said. “So we ended up seventh in the average coming into today, but today is clean-slate. I gave it all I had both runs today and Pipewrench was amazing.”
All totaled Miller took home a total haul of $13,652, which will serve her well going into the rest of the 2017 season, because this year is the first year the payout from the RNCFR will count toward National Finals Rodeo earnings.
Tiany Schuster, Ari-Anna Flynn and Nellie Miller were the other three contestant who qualified to the semifinals round and in the finals they split a three-way tie with a 15.41 to earn $3,791 each.
EmilyMiller DSC 2086 webEmily Miller and Namgis D 35. Photo by Kailey Sullins
1. Tiany Schuster, 15.18, $7,587
2. Ari-Anna Flynn, 15.29, $5,686
3. Emily Miller, 15.51, $3,791
4. Nellie Miller, 15.55, $1,895
Finals Round Results:
1. Emily Miller, 15.27, $7,587
2/3/4. Tiany Schuster, Ari-Anna Flynn, Nellie Miller, 15.41, $3,791 (each)