Nate Baldwin '98, formerly of Rexburg, is garnering national attention with his success as a calf roper in the Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association. In 2002, Nate rose as high as seventh in the world standings and entered the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo ranked tenth in the world. At the National Finals, considered to be the Super Bowl for professional cowboys, Nate won Round 6 with a time of 7.2 seconds on his horse, Piggy Bank, and left the competition with about $25,000 in earnings.
Over the past two years, Nate has won nearly $200,000 as a professional calf roper. With this success has come quite a bit of attention from local and national press. Not surprisingly he has received just as much attention for who he is and where he came from as he has because of his earnings and fast times. A recent PRCA Prorodeo article focused on Nate’s optimism, his membership in the Church, and his mission to Costa Rica. The article states: “The glass is always half full for calf roper Nate Baldwin,” who just missed qualifying for the National Finals in 2001, but “instead of dwelling on a frustratingly close call, Baldwin used his experience to build the rest of his career.” The article continues, “Baldwin doesn’t suffer the bumps and bruises of the rodeo road too harshly. Perhaps it’s because of the life experience he has had outside of rodeo.”
This life experience included missionary service to Costa Rica. “I learned to cope with everything,” Nate said. “I built a work ethic. That’s helped me in a lot of things in life.”
After returning from his mission, Nate competed in rodeo at both Ricks College and Utah State. He has a bachelor’s degree in finance. Nate is one of nine children of Nicholas ’67 and Susan Baldwin ’67. When Nate is home, he spends time roping with his father, his two younger brothers Hugh and Nicholas who are both attending BYU–Idaho and his sister Amber, a senior at Ririe High School.
Family of Russ and Jill Miller
Parents teach by example. The family of Russ ’72 and Jill Miller ’76 share a passion for horses. Russ and Jill were both collegiate competitors in the rodeo arena before they tied the marriage knot. Russ won the 1993 World Championship National Cutting Horse Association Futurity. He and Jill now operate Miller Cutting Horses in St. Anthony, Idaho. It is a team effort, and they enjoy time with their three children doing what they all love to do.
The Miller family is busy with their business, school activities, sports, church service, and keeping up with an aspiring world champion barrel racer. McKenzie ’02 is the oldest child. She edged out the defending national champion in barrel racing when she won the National Intercollegiate Finals Rodeo as a Ricks College athlete. More recently, she has taken a break from her education plans of dental hygiene school to climb the rankings in the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association. She currently stands fourth in the world rankings.
The Miller siblings share McKenzie’s drive. Younger brother Kegan competed in both rough stock and timed rodeo events earning the title of Idaho State All-Around-Cowboy for two consecutive years. Younger sister Makale, a student at South Fremont Junior High, is equally enthusiastic about horses and the sport of rodeo. She is anticipating her inheritance of Jasper, McKenzie’s back-up horse and a favorite of the entire family.
Russ and Jill have not only passed on their equestrian interests, but they also extended a shared love for the gospel. Jill teaches early morning seminary for a group of special needs students, and Kegan is serving in the Argentina Buenos Aires Mission.
The Millers have made many friends through their travels to Texas, Utah, Arizona, and other western states. Latter-day Saints on the rodeo circuit become recognized for high standards of conduct. As an associate recently said, “The greatest compliment I could give this family is to acknowledge the tremendous testimonies of their children.”
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