Doug Miller was born in Pecos, Texas, on Jan. 11, 1940, and was raised on a large ranch 60 miles from town.
“It was big country, [and] there wasn’t roads,” he once told The Team Roping Journal. “When you went somewhere, you went ahorseback. My dad always had lots of cattle, and wet saddle blankets makes good horses. We always had 75 or 80 horses in the Remuda. We’d get to working and it would take 6 weeks and we’d have one head a piece that wasn’t crippled by the time we got through.”
Miller and his sister, Texas Hall of Famer Mary Dale “Sis” Miller, discovered their love of rodeo at an early age, but furnishing Mexican Corrientes for the industry is how Miller spent many of his career years. He also conditioned thousands of Nelson Bunker Hunt Cattle at his Pecos feedyard, while running the family ranch, too. Ultimately, Miller revealed, it was the oil business that led him to team roping.
Picking Up the Rope Again
“I didn’t rope for a long time. I was always in Mexico, buying cattle. I just didn’t have time. That finally got to where it wasn’t safe. So, I came back up here and the oil business got better, and I could afford to rope.”
Miller, husband to Glena for 45 years, took to tying on in his later years, and had a taste for good horse flesh.
“My dad went to the King Ranch and bought some mares and a couple of studs,” he told the Journal. “We’ve always had good horses. Today my favorite is High Brow Cat. I have three High Brow Cat mares. Back then, the horses my dad started with were King Ranch horses … just good ranch horses—good-looking horses. We had a daughter of King, [and] raised lots of good horses out of her.
The combo proved effective. Miller won checks regularly and, in 2018, snagged the $25,000-win and $10,000 truck vouchers in the #8.5 at the Cinch USTRC Finals in Oklahoma City with fellow Texan Clay Emmons.
“That’s a roping that everybody wants to win,” Miller said in another interview. “I was really proud and excited, but it was a few days later when I finally realized how big a deal it really was. … I got to thinking about how many thousands have run at that thing over those 28 years, and we were one of 28 to win it.”
Doug Miller Brings the Texas Rodeo Hall of Fame to Pecos
Perhaps a crowning accomplishment of Miller’s, though, was his successful building of a new home for the Texas Rodeo Hall of Fame—of which he was president—in Pecos.
“I always kept up with rodeo history. I love history. I’ve kept up with the roping and a lot of the bronc riding. They appointed me the president. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever gotten into in my life, [but] somebody’s got to do it. It darn sure keeps me busy…
“Pecos was historically a roping town. Back there in the ’40s, guys would come from everywhere to the [West of the] Pecos Rodeo and camp out and have jackpots and match ropings before the rodeo even started. We had all of the great ropers—all of them—so I’ve been knowing them for a pretty good while. In my lifetime, there have been some really good ones, and really good horses.”
Miller said his life was a blessed one, to have all the opportunities he had and to see the growth of the industry he loved.
“It certainly has changed—this High Brow Cat horse, I thought she was 8 or 9. When they handed me the papers, I would have liked to fall off of her—she was only 5. You couldn’t do that on those old-timey horses. You’d blow them up pushing them too hard too early. The way they’re broke these days, my gosh it’s so much different and better than when I was a kid. But the breed itself, it’s like everything else. It’s gotten better over time. The whole industry has.”
And while it’s hard to argue that the industry is better despite Miller’s passing, it’s certainly better because he was in it.