Eighth grade barrel racer Mackenzie Miller strives to do her best in each rodeo

Mackenzie+Miller+at+one+of+her+most+recent+rodeos.+Miller+comepetes+in+all+three+events%2C+barrel+racing%2C+pole+bending%2C+and+keyhole.

Photo courtesy of Mackenzie Miller

Mackenzie Miller at one of her most recent rodeos. Miller comepetes in all three events, barrel racing, pole bending, and keyhole.

Kylie Pike, Staff Writer

Dedication, hard work, and determination helps eighth grade student and barrel racer, Mackenzie Miller do her best each day.

Barrel racing is a sport where people come together and race their horses around three barrels as fast as they can. Anyone from kids to adults can take part in this activity, challenging themselves to get first in each event such as barrel racing, pole bending, and keyhole.

“I love doing barrel races, competing, and meeting new people,” said Miller.

Barrel racing is an individual sport in which someone can grow at their own pace and time. Miller partners with a group called SNGA which she does races with.

“I also have a trainer that I see to help improve my skills, and so I know I’m ready for the next race,” said Miller.

Races take place both in and out of Nevada, so this sport is all over the country.

“The barrel races I usually compete in are in Las Vegas, Pahrump, or Mesquite,” said Miller.

One rodeo that Miller takes part in most often is oGymkhana.

When Miller competes, she usually is up against eighteen-year-olds in her category. But, even with tough competitors Miller was able to win first place this past month.

“I got a ribbon and a belt buckle, but you can win saddles and even trailers for your horses,” said Miller.

To practice competing Miller also takes part in friendly games outside of races.

“A group of riders come together, and we are put into pairs,” said Miller. “Then we are timed on how fast we can get a group of calves out of a pin into their den.”

Miller sees her horse every day and practices six days a week, but she doesn’t see her horse just to practice. Miller needs to feed her horses and other animals at the barn where she keeps them.

“I also have two goats I practice roping on, so I can rope later on when I’m ready,” said Miller.

When it comes to grooming Miller washes her horse around once a month.

“I hose him down after every practice,” said Miller, “I bathe him once a month during the rest of the year, except for the winter because it’s too cold.”

Before doing barrel races, Miller grew up around her family doing these races.

“I’ve always been around horses,” said Miller, “my mom, grandma, and my cousins all ride horses and have competed.”

Miller got her first horse, Chief, last year on her twelfth birthday.

Throughout her time with barrel racing her mom has always supported her passion for this activity.

“My mom is probably my role model,” said Miller. “She always supports me and is with me throughout every race I do.”

Miller loves being around horses and the experience she has had with barrel racing so far.

After her experience with barrel racing, Miller wants to continue working with horses in the future, and she hopes to one day become a veterinarian who specializes in horses.

Click here for PDF version: Mackenzie Miller Feature