Sarah and Bob MillerSarah and Bob Miller are being honored as the grand marshals of this year’s Jefferson County Fair. Unfortunately, Bob, 76, passed away on March 20, after he was chosen, but his many contributions to the fair are still being honored.

Sarah (Puckett) Miller grew up in a family with 14 kids on a farm 10 miles out of Prineville. “We had to work very hard to survive,” she said, noting they raised a huge garden, five acres of strawberries, pigs, and 1,000 chickens which provided eggs to sell.

After graduating from Crook County High School, she moved into town to see what it was like. “I got a job as a carhop at a little drive-in,” she said.

While working at the drive-in, she met a cowboy from Madras named Bob. “We went together for three months, and then got married. I was only 18 and he was 20, but the marriage lasted 56 years,” she said.

They lived at the Muddy Ranch, near Antelope, and ZX Ranch in Paisley, where Bob worked as a ranch hand.

The family grew to include daughter Kristy, and sons Mike and Kelly. But they tragically lost their oldest son, Mike, when he was struck by a pickup at age 13.

In 1977, the Millers moved to a 120-acre farm on Feather Drive on Bob’s folks’ home place. They purchased some of the land from his parents and later inherited some.

Bob quit ranch work to accept a job with Portland General Electric, where he worked in the powerhouse for 30 years. “He rodeoed on the weekends, competing in saddle broncs, and team roping. He was involved in every end of rodeo — was a pickup man for bareback and bronc riding, owned his own rodeo stock at one point, and always helped at the fair rodeo and many other rodeos,” Sarah said.

Meanwhile, Sarah worked as the head cook at the middle school for 30 years. During her summers off, she kept busy by planting five acres in front of their place with flower seed, which she continued for seven years.

Both she and Bob were active in 4-H and FFA. “Bob was wonderful with all the children,” she said, noting how he enjoyed teaching kids about horses, rodeos and ranching.

As a cowboy, he appeared in a couple of movies filmed locally, and was one of the “bandits” that rode out to hold up the Crooked River Dinner Train during performances for passengers.

For the last eight years, the Millers spent their winters in Arizona so Bob could continue to rope and ride. “His favorite thing to do was go to the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas, which we’ve done for 20 years. Getting to know some of the professional cowboys made it a real treat,” Sarah said.

As a Madras Garden Club member, Sarah helps with the flower show at the fair. “I also love the Talent Show and the rodeo, of course,” she said of fair week.

Before retiring, she started a small greenhouse as a hobby. “I’ve always been a busy person and felt I needed something to do,” she laughed. Now with three large greenhouses, her hobby has grown into a business called Sarah’s Bloomin’ Petunias, open May 10 to June 1, which sells hundreds of bedding plants and planted pots. Her beautiful petunias filled the new sidewalk flower pots in downtown Madras last year.

Today, the Miller’s son Kelly and his wife Beth live in Denver, Colo., and he works for FOX TV in Los Angeles, as the head of communications. Their daughter Kristy Miller lives nearby on the farm and works as a massage therapist in Redmond and Madras. The Millers have two grandsons, Gavin Romanick, and Preston Romanick and his wife Jenny; and two great-grandchildren, Lane and Tylie.

On behalf of the whole Miller family Sarah said, “We’d like to thank the community for being behind us through Bob’s passing and his celebration of life, and for the wonderful support we’ve had.”

Contract Publishing

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