Inducted in 1999
“I was so proud to be a part of the Ellensburg Rodeo for the twenty years I contested and judged. And now to be inducted into your great Hall of Fame means that me and my horse Shorty get to be a part of the Ellensburg Rodeo forever and ever. I’m mighty proud.”
-Gene Miles,Ellensburg Rodeo Steer Wrestling Arena Record-Holder
“The greatest bulldogger to compete in the Ellensburg Rodeo,” Art Driver once said, “is Gene Miles.” Gene Miles is a 1999 Inductee to the Ellensburg Rodeo Hall of Fame in the National Competitor Category. A resident of Klammath Falls Oregon, Miles worked the Ellensburg Rodeo for nearly two decades, returning later as a stock contractor and judge. Gene Miles is known for his gentlemanly yet highly competitive demeanor and his fine ‘dogging horse “Shorty,” who he shared with his fellow cowboy competitors.
Gene Miles was born in 1927 in Waterloo, Oregon and raised in Tygh Valley, Oregon, where he learned to break and ride broncs. After service in the U.S. Army, he hit the rodeo road in 1948, competing in steer wrestling and saddle bronc events. He placed second in saddle broncs when he won the 1949 White Salmon All-Around, and he logged in stunning 2.3 and 2.8 ‘dogging runs (no barrier) in Lake Charles (LA) and the Salem (OR) State Fair.
During his twenty-three year rodeo career, Miles won All-Around, Reserve, and Steer Wrestling Championships at seventeen rodeos, including Pendleton, Lake Charles and Baton Rouge (LA), Denver, Scottsdale (AZ), Nampa, Spokane, and San Francisco’s famed Cow Palace Rodeo.
Gene Miles was Ellensburg Reserve Champion in 1967. Among Miles’ greatest claims to fame are his Ellensburg Bulldogging titles–an amazing arena record of five titles (including one tie), in ’53, ’60, ’63, ’66 and ’68.
Gene Miles is also well known for “Shorty,” his registered quarter horse who Gene remembers “did his best every run. Very solid.” During twelve active years, Shorty earned an average $20,000 annually under respected steer wrestlers like Bill and Walt Linderman, Ross Dollarhide, Buzz Peth, Mark Schricker, L. W. DeWitt, and over forty others.
Beginning in the 1970s, Gene Miles’ career took a new course. He phased out of rodeo competition, earned a college Associate Degree, and became a rodeo judge, stock contractor, and cow cutting horse trainer and competitor. “Cow cutting was very good to me and I had many winners,” including three Finals appearances and a top ten finish.
Miles is quick to credit the role of his wife Jeanne and daughters Pam, Susie, and Sharon for their support of his career. “Rodeo was the most important part of my life,” Miles reminisced in a recent interview. “It was to my family also. I feel I have been so blessed to make a living as a cowboy all these years. I thank the Lord for a great and full life.”