CHEYENNE, Wyo. (July 24, 2019) – A year ago, Nellie Miller, from Cottonwood, California was the best barrel racer in the field at Cheyenne Frontier Days. After her performance at the fifth rodeo on Wednesday, it looks like history might repeat itself.
Miller, the 2017 Women’s Professional Rodeo Association world champion, won the qualifying competition at Frontier Park last week. She and her great mare, “Sister”, had the fastest time of the 197 barrel racers that competed at 17.44 seconds. That gave her one of forty spots in the rodeo and $8,224.
She came back on Wednesday and stopped the clock in 17.28 seconds, the fastest run at this year’s rodeo so far. That added $2,611 to her earnings and advanced her from the quarter finals to the semifinals. She and Sister will run again on Friday or Saturday and hope to be among the best six from that day that advance to Sunday’s Championship Finals. Contestants get a fresh start at each division of the competition, so whoever has the fastest time in the barrel racing on Sunday will be the champion.
With Miller’s experience in this arena, and the way Sister runs in the wide-open spaces of Frontier Park, they will be a favorite to leave here as back-to-back champions. The “Daddy of ‘em All” is celebrating 123 years of rodeo history. Women have been competing in the barrel racing at Frontier Park since 1971. There has not been a repeat champion since 1997 and 1998, when Kristie Peterson and her horse Bozo had that accomplishment.
The fastest run of this year’s steer wrestling also happened on Wednesday afternoon. Wyatt Lindsay from Cuchillo, New Mexico, stopped the clock in 5.4 seconds, just three-tenths of a second off the arena record. Lindsay will compete again on Thursday. Money earned from their two days of competition is added together. The steer wrestlers with the highest total money in each group advance directly to Sunday’s finals.
Thursday’s performance begins at 12:45 with opening ceremonies and a parade of dignitaries on the track. Bareback horses start bucking just after 1 p.m. Competition in all the events will follow.