JOSEPH — It may have been a dismal year for most spring high school sports, but Wallowa County still had one athlete in the finals.
Joseph Charter School graduating senior Hadley Miller took statewide honors at the Oregon High School Finals Championships Rodeo held June 17-20 in Prineville.
Miller, who will be attending Blue Mountain Community College on a full-ride rodeo scholarship in September, took sixth overall in steer wrestling, 11th in team roping and 12th in calf roping.
“The steers were pretty good, Miller said. “I was riding ‘Salsa,’ my steer-wrestling horse that I raised and trained myself.”
In team roping, Miller was the heeler. North Powder’s Michele Williams headed the steer.
“She did a good job,” Miller said. “She’s a good person.”
Last year, he also teamed with a girl header from Baker City.
It wasn’t Miller’s first high school finals rodeo.
“I’ve been in the finals every year for the past four years,” he said. “I wish I would have placed a little higher than I did. But rodeo’s rodeo and stuff happens.”
He, like the other Oregon high school rodeo competitors, competes through a rodeo club — for Miller, it’s the Northeast Oregon Rodeo Club that includes athletes from Union and Baker counties.
Miller isn’t done with rodeo for the summer, however. After returning home from Prineville on Sunday, June 21, he and his family packed up and headed out the next day for Ogden, Utah. Miller will compete in a Kickin’ Corona Rodeo, which started June 24, according to the event’s website.
“There’s kids from 10 states coming,” Miller said. “I don’t know how many kids will be there, but there’ll be a lot.”
Miller will compete in his specialties — steer wresting, team roping and calf roping. He’s got other rodeos lined up this summer as well, including some Idaho Cowboy Association events and hopefully, the Haines Rodeo, near Baker City, on the Fourth of July.
“It’s picking back up, which is nice,” he said. “It was kind of slow for a while.”
Miller’s Blue Mountain Community College classes start Sept. 20. But at least for the fall term, all his classes will be online.
“If they have rodeo practices, I’ll go stay over there for a while and then come back home,” he said. “But I’ll be at home for the online classes.”
Hadley’s move to college rodeo leaves his brother, “Noodle,” as the only Wallowa County youngster currently competing in rodeo.
“He’ll do good,” Miller said.