HEBER CITY — Utah High School Rodeo has made some fierce rodeo competitors and made even fiercer friendships.
That is exactly what Kaytlyn Miller and Taylour Latham displayed this weekend at the Utah High School Rodeo Finals. The extremely competitive duo competed all weekend, and both made the short round in several of their events. Competitors with the top 15 points in each event qualify for the short round.
Miller, a junior from Dammeron Valley, came into the short round placing first in breakaway roping, first in goat tying, third in team roping, sixth in barrel racing and ninth in pole bending.
In breakaway roping, Miller had a 3.57-second run. It placed her first in the weekend average and helped her win the Utah High School Rodeo breakaway roping championship.
“I backed in the box, and I was a little nervous,” Miller said. “I wasn’t 100 percent sure what my calf was going to do. My dad told me there’s one thing I’m here to do, and it’s to win.”
And Miller did just that. Not only did she win the breakaway title, but also the goat tying championship. Unfortunately her other events didn’t go as well. She had a penalty in barrel racing and pole bending and received a no time in team roping, which took her out of the average in those events.
Even though Miller’s barrel run in the short round didn’t go as planned, she made several good runs throughout the weekend. Her barrel horse was injured at the beginning of the spring rodeo season, and she had to borrow Latham’s barrel horse.
“I let her borrow my horse, and I know she’d let me borrow hers if I needed one,” Latham, Miller's best friend, said.
Latham, a senior from Uintah Basin, came into the short round right behind Miller in the breakaway roping and goat tying, taking second in both. Latham also competed in pole bending and team roping in the short round.
In the short round, Latham said she came to redeem herself after the rest of the weekend didn’t go quite as planned. She had a 2.31-second run in breakaway roping, which earned her the reserve champion breakaway roping title. Latham also had a great run in goat tying, winning the reserve championship title with a 7.7-second run. In pole bending, Latham had a 20.361-second run, placing her in the short round.
Latham said she and Miller have been friends since junior high. “We cheer each other on, help each other compete,” she said. “We’ve been really good friends, and it is awesome that we are competitors too.”
On July 16-22, the two friends will travel to Gillette, Wyoming, to compete at the National High School Rodeo Finals.
Miller said she was excited to go to the finals, especially with her best friend. “There is no better feeling than having your best friend right here winning with you,” she said.