Eighteen-year-old Tanner Miller is a fifth-generation cattle producer from Gilmer, Texas. Tanner’s family has been involved in the International Brangus Breeders Association (IBBA) for almost 40 years. While his great grandfather had some Brangus cattle, it was Tanner’s grandmother who began the registered Brangus herd when her children started showing Brangus through the International Junior Brangus Breeders Association (IJBBA).
“For our family, there isn’t another breed that can even hold a candle to the Brangus,” Tanner says. “I feel very fortunate to raise Brangus cattle because after they finish in the show ring, they transition to the herd and become great producers, contributing to the bottom line.”
Miller’s father, Coy, began showing Brangus cattle in 1980. Twenty-eight short years later, Tanner got his first Brangus heifer from Cavender’s Neches River Ranch; he was nine years old.
Tanner has been involved in the IJBBA for nine years. He is, also, a member of both the IBBA and the International Red Brangus Breeders Association (IRBBA).
“Participating in the IJBBA has really grown my passion and love for the breed,” says Tanner. “Researching Brangus for the public speaking events has simply sold me on their hardiness, versatility, carcass quality, and excellent mothering instincts.”
Tanner says his favorite memory from participating in IBBA’s junior program is from the National Junior Brangus Show (NJBS). He won All Around Junior when he was 11 at NJBS. “When [they] announced my name, I just lit up,” Tanner exclaims. “[The IJBBA president at the time] was a tremendous encouragement to all the young exhibitors.”
In regard to participation in the IJBBA, Tanner says he considers it a wonderful opportunity to meet families from across the country, make great friends, and make memories. Tanner says his participation in IJBBA has improved and tested his knowledge and skills in a variety of competitions. “The [NJBS] has been a highlight for me every summer,” Tanner exclaims. “It may be hot, but it’s always fun!”
From Barnyard Olympics to Quiz Bowl, Public Speaking to Beef Skill-a-Thon, Tanner says there is something for everyone to enjoy. “I would say the best way to fall in love with the Brangus breed,” he explains, “is to go to the [NJBS], take part in every event offered, and just start meeting all of the Brangus breeders, exhibitors and supporters!”
Tanner has engaged in service to the breed on a state level, too. He served on the Texas Junior Brangus Breeders Board of Directors for three years. He finished his term as vice president, and he says he is extremely thankful to have had the opportunity to serve.
“[TJBBA] put on a great state show each year, and I had the honor and privilege of working the ring at Fort Worth and Houston,” Tanner explains. “One of the highlights and best experiences is that of meeting longtime Brangus breeders and supporters of the junior program is there are so many people that place high value on the junior program and they graciously support and encourage the junior exhibitors.”
With nine years of show experience, and more than nine years of being around Brangus cattle, Tanner offers advice to his peers: “When it comes to the show ring, I would just say that practice doesn’t make perfect, but it makes you a whole lot better. Putting in the time at home, watching great showmen, and learning from them is the best way to improve. When you win, keep your head down, and when you lose, keep your head up. When you do the best you can do, there are no regrets.”
He, also, says service through leadership is a great way to positively impact others. “Borrowing from the FFA Motto: ‘Learning to Do, Doing to Learn, Earning to Live, Living to Serve.’ Participation in organizations like the IJBBA, TJBBA, FFA and 4-H provide tremendous opportunities to serve others, gain valuable leadership skills, and prepare for life.”
Following graduation from Union Grove High School, Miller plans to attend Texas A&M University, where he will study agricultural economics and agricultural leadership and development. Equipped with a college education, he plans to pursue a career in agricultural business or sales while continuing to breed, show and sell Brangus cattle.
“Raising Brangus cattle and getting involved in the junior Brangus associations not only promotes the breed but opens doors for service through leadership, as well. When you volunteer your time, effort and abilities and work toward a goal, such as putting on a contest, event or show, it becomes very important to see that activity or event be successful,” Tanner says in closing. “Taking on a leadership role guarantees that you are committed and involved. When an activity or event positively impacts someone, it is a true blessing!”