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Cottonwood woman earns world title for barrel racing

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COTTONWOOD, Calif. - Cottonwood's Nellie Williams-Miller is the new World Champion for barrel racing. She also beat the National Finals Rodeo's average record at 137.32 seconds. 

After ten runs at the Thomas Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nellie moved to first place overall, earning her a world title at the National Finals Rodeo. 

After taking part in rodeo events all year long, Nellie was one of 15 to make it to the National Finals Rodeo. Her ride of 13.52 seconds for $20,731 pushed her ahead for the finals.

Nellie said it was a huge honor for her and a win for her entire family, who were proud to have witnessed her success.

"It's pretty nerve-racking and pretty exciting. The horses are just ready to go." explained Nellie as she described the adrenaline she experiences coming out of the shoot. She said she knew her 9-year-old mare, named Sister, felt the same rush. 

"I've known her since she was a baby so, it's really rewarding. This is definitely the biggest thing that we've won."

Nellie went into the competition ranked third in the world, but the small town cowgirl was in it for the win and her family, including her father, said they always had faith in her ability to win.

"She's always been able to perform the task needed at the time, no matter the pressure. And once again she pulled it off," Sam Williams said as he spoke highly of his daughter.

Nellie hopes to be an inspiration to other women who compete in rodeo events. 

"Just remember, it doesn't happen overnight. Don't get discouraged because it takes a long time to get to this point," said Nellie. 

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