By Ann Bleiker
In 2017, Emily Miller of Weatherford, Okla., barely missed making the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo finishing 17th. Fast forward to the 2019 Fourth of July run known in the rodeo business as “Cowboy Christmas” and Miller is hoping the money won will propel her to her first Wrangler NFR berth. Miller was the big money winner over the Fourth of July in the WPRA with a total of $17,358 won at three rodeos.
Miller, who works as a dental hygienist when not racing around the cloverleaf pattern, picked up her biggest check north of the border at the Ponoka (Alberta) Stampede. Miller won the first round in a time of 17.240 seconds and followed that with a 17.342 in the final round to win that round and easily take the average title with a total time of 34.582 seconds. The only round Miller didn’t win was the Showdown round where she finished fourth in a time of 25.932. All totaled Miller won $14,953. Reigning WPRA World Champion Hailey Kinsel was the only barrel racer to win more money than Miller in Ponoka after winning the Showdown round and collected checks totaling $16,876. Kinsel was the second highest money earner for the Fourth of July with just one rodeo in Ponoka.
Miller edged Kinsel for the overall Fourth of July title picking up checks in West Jordan, Utah and Livingston, Mont. Miller was fourth with a 17.19-second run in West Jordan, Utah, adding $1,752 and finished lucky No. 13 in Livingston, Mont., with an 18.19-second run to add $653.
Lacinda Rose, also looking for a berth in her first Wrangler NFR, finished third on the WPRA Fourth of July leaderboard with a total of $16,795 won at five rodeos. She won $6,163 at Greeley, Colo.; $6,238 in St. Paul, Ore.; $1,960 at Red Lodge, Mont.; $2,171 in Eugene, Ore., and $263 in Big Fork, Mont.
A full recap of the Fourth of July rodeos will be available in the August issue of the WPRA News.
Top 5 WPRA Money earners over the Fourth of July
- Emily Miller,$17,358
- Hailey Kinsel, $16,876
- Lacinda Rose, $16,795
- Shali Lord, $16,295
- Amberleigh Moore, $15,340