Southeastern Livestock Exposition Rodeo: Bull riding in Miller's blood
Mar 10, 2013 (Montgomery Advertiser - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
The life of a bull rider is a lot like a major league batter. There's always more failure than success, leading to a philosophical approach to the last event and a quick look ahead to the next one.
That was instilled in Jay Miller at an early age. As the son of championship bareback rider Harold Miller, Jay was naturally drawn to the rodeo arena.
"I went to all the rodeos," said the 20-year-old Miller. "And then I started riding sheep. As I got bigger, so did they."
His father was a four-time Southern Rodeo Association bareback rider, and the athletic ability and savvy to stay on bucking stock flow through Jay's genes as well. He didn't follow his father into the world of bareback riding, however. He decided to try his hand at bull riding.
"It just always caught my eye," he said. "I looked at all the events and bull riding just stood out the most. It's what I wanted to do."
By age 12, he was riding bulls. A few years later, he won the South Carolina High School Rodeo Association bull riding championship. As he moved on up in the ranks, there were others from Liberty, S.C., and surrounding towns like Easley that followed him into the sport.
"In Liberty, there isn't much to do around there anyway," Miller said. "I've always been friends with those guys since I was little and I kind of got them into it. It's kind of something you can fall in love with. We've been rodeoing together ever since."
Last year, he competed in the International Professional Rodeo Association as a rookie and two months ago, in the International Finals Rodeo, he "won a pocket full of money and all kind of stuff" when he won the bull riding finals.
But as he knows too well, the highs don't last long and are soon replaced by the lows. As fellow 2012 IPRA rookie Winston Quesenberry of Muskogee, Okla., was recording a pair of eight-second rides on Friday night and Saturday afternoon at the 56th Southeastern Livestock Exposition Rodeo, Miller was being bucked off early in both rides.
The Saturday afternoon ride on "Roll Tide" ended even worse for Miller, whose left leg was caught in the bull straps, resulting in broken blood vessels in his left foot but hopefully nothing worse.
As he sat in a chair at Garrett Coliseum, his left foot being inspected by trainers and physicians, the only thought on Miller's mind was getting to the Okeechobee (Fla.) Cattlemen's PRCA Spring Rodeo this afternoon for another bull riding event.
"When it's good, it's good, and when it's not, it's not, but I love it," he said. "I don't know what else I would do in my life."
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