Rod Miller’s great-grandfather, I.C. Miller, entered Wyoming laying track for the U.P Railroad in 1867. Perhaps tired of hammering rails, or perhaps seduced by the lush and verdant country, he stayed in Rawlins to establish some of its first businesses and build the family ranch, the ID, north of Rawlins. Rod’s maternal great-grandfather, Charley Sparks, founded a ranch south of Rock Springs, in outlaw country near Brown’s Hole, not long afterward. Both ranches remain productive cow outfits to this day. So this man’s roots are deep – very deep – in Wyoming soil.
Rod and his brother Mark grew up on the ID under the watchful eye of their parents, Frank and Betty Rose. They learned the cowboy trade, an abiding respect for family, for neighbors and for the land. As with all Wyoming ranch kids, they were doing the work of seasoned hands when they were barely into their teens; riding rougher and rougher horses, being trusted with herds of cattle on long drives, and being relied upon to get the job done. This, every bit as much as his time spent in school, was how Rod Miller was educated.
Rod graduated from Rawlins High School (Home of the Outlaws!) and furthered his education at Casper College and the Universtiy of Northern Colorado. He was fortunate enough to study under Margaret Demorest at Casper College and Tommy Thompson, at UNC, two teachers who both left their mark on his mind.
Frank Miller, Rod’s dad, used to tell him, “Son, you have roots as deep as anyone’s but they’re quite a bit stretchier.” Fatherly advice to a young man with wanderlust, who always came back home to Wyoming and to the ranch he grew up on. Miller worked on the ID with his wife, Linda, until his mid-thirties, introducing four young sons – Tom, Isaac, Kirk and Victor – to their ancestral home.
In 1984, Rod cut short his life as a working cowboy to go to work in Governor Ed Herschler’s office as natural resource staff, and stayed on through both of Governor Mike Sullivan’s two terms. In his spare time, he coached youth sports – football, baseball soccer and basketball, and ran for Mayor of Cheyenne. He then opened an independent bookstore in Cheyenne, “Joe Pages”, partly to make money, partly to indulge his deep love of books. Then those roots began to stretch, and spent time in Texas managing the Canoncita Ranch at the edge of Palo Duro Canyon, and the Art Center of Corpus Christi.
Returning to the Cowboy State, Rod managed the Remount Ranch near Buford until he turned the reins over to his son Victor and has been near the Greater Buford Metroplex since then. Rod Miller has survived an airplane crash, frostbite, snow blindness, numerous broken bones from horse wrecks and still considers himself the most fortunate and grateful of men to call Wyoming home.