ALVA, Okla. – Like every good athlete, Shayna Miller has brilliant aspirations.
Miller, a Northwestern Oklahoma State University senior from Faith, S.D., would like to be part of three Central Plains Region championships: Goat tying, the women’s all-around and the women’s team.
She and the Rangers women made a significant move toward those goals this past weekend at the Oklahoma State University rodeo in Stillwater, Okla. Northwestern won the team championship, while Miller earned the all-around crown while contributing points in both goat tying and breakaway roping.
“It was pretty exciting for me, because I’ve been having trouble making my short rounds work out,” said Miller, the reigning region goat-tying champion. “I’d do well in the long rounds, but I wasn’t getting it done in the short rounds.
“To get four runs put together was a pretty big deal to me.”
In all, Miller accounted for 190 of the Rangers 450 points, so she was far from alone. Elli Price of Leady, Okla., dominated the breakaway roping, winning both rounds and securing the aggregate title in Stillwater.
Miller, meanwhile, was one of three Northwestern goat-tiers in the championship round. After finishing tied for second in the opening round, she split the short-round victory and finished second overall. Tearnee Nelson of Faith finished fourth, while Laremi Allred of Kanarraville, Utah, placed sixth in the first round.
Barrel racer Sara Bynum of Beggs, Okla., placed third in the first round but a downed barrel in the final round took her out of a top spot in the average.
“After we won the region last year, we’re all kind of held up to higher expectations,” Miller said. “We’ve got to get things rolling. Hopefully it’s all turned around, and we can keep winning rodeos and win the region again.”
Through three events of the 2015-16 season, the Northwestern women sit second in the standings.
“I think we’re pretty solid,” Miller said. “We all have to do our part individually. At the rodeos and at practice, we can encourage each other, keep our heads on straight and take it one rodeo at a time.”
The Rangers men finished sixth overall in Stillwater but had a strong contingent in the championship round, especially in steer wrestling.
In fact, seven of the short-round qualifiers wore the Northwestern black vests, led by Joby Allen; he finished tied for fourth in the first round and was second in the short round to share the average victory with Cody Devers of Garden City (Kan.) Community College, both finishing in a two-run cumulative time of 8.8 seconds.
Allen and Devers were just one-tenth of a second faster in than Northwestern’s Jacob Edler of State Center, Iowa, who also leads the region standings. Maverick Harper of Stephenville, Texas, finished fourth, and Grayson Allred of Kanarraville, Utah, placed sixth. J.D. Stuxness of Appleton, Minn., and Ty Batie of Rapid City, S.D., both placed in the first round.
Meanwhile, team ropers Hunter Munsell of Arnett, Okla., and Sawyer Barham of Barnsdall, Okla., placed second in both rounds and the average, and tie-down roper Wade Perry of Lamont, Okla., finished third in his discipline.
“I think our matches help us a lot,” Miller said. “They put you in a position where you have to perform under pressure.”
That’s part of the plan laid by coach Stockton Graves and his staff as they prepare both the men’s and women’s teams for the rigors of the tough Central Plains Region.
“Stockton knows how to win,” she said. “He may not know a lot about goat tying, but he knows how to win and makes us feel good about ourselves and gets us pumped up about the weekend.”
It worked in Stillwater.