Virden resident and wrangler, Justin Miller, has had quite the week at the Calgary Stampede, claiming the Go-Round Winner in Steer Wrestling. This isn't Justin's first rodeo, as he placed second in all of Canada in last year's Steer Wrestling event!
Miller says he placed #5 in his pool of 11 contenders. The first 4 will automatically compete on Sunday. But the remaining 5 compete on Saturday in the Wild-Card round. If Justin gets in the top 2 on Saturday, he runs for the $50,000 on Championship Sunday. "We missed the top 4 by a little bit, but I get in on another round on Saturday and hopefully get to compete on Sunday," he says.
The 33 year old Manitoba cowboy grew up on the family farm near Neepawa. Miller says he started his career in professional steer wrestling in 2013 when he won the Rookie of the Year in the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association. In 2019 and 2020, he took some time off from the rodeo run, but his wife, Alice, encouraged him to get back to his passion of steer wrestling. "So, we went to the rodeos last year and I qualified for Calgary, and now we're here!"
"She's a great supporter of me and her and my son, Levi, they come along to almost all of the rodeos so they get to experience it all! She is probably more excited about it than I am some days!" he laughs.
Miller shares how grateful he is for his sponsors, saying they are a huge part of what he does, and with the rise in fuel costs, the extra help has been much appreciated. Virden sponsors, Heartland Livestock and Crossfire Oil and Ag Services are in his corner cheering him on - as is his Brandon sponsor, Kelleher Ford.
"Being from Manitoba it's basically a 10-hour drive so having them guys helping me out is a huge asset and if it weren't for them we probably wouldn't be going to the rodeo here in Calgary," he adds.
Competing on a grand scale with the best of the best at the Calgary Stampede has been great, shares Miller. "I've been here a couple of times before and I'm definitely more relaxed this year than I have been in the past, and this year I've got my young family with me so that makes it quite a bit more special too!"