Eagle Scout helps keep family tradition going on cattle ranch

Tyler's aunt Ronda Pletcher, Tyler's mother Lori Miller, Tyler's father Brian Miller, Tyler's grandma Carol Pletcher, Tyler's sister Taylor Forsythe and Tyler Miller. Photo courtesy of Tyler Miller.

Tyler Miller joined Scouting as a Webelos Scout and crossed over into Troop 44 in his hometown of Yuma, Colo. He served as the senior patrol leader for two years, participated in many community service projects and went on out-of-state campouts. Before he invested more time in sports and prepared for college, he earned the Eagle Scout rank.

Tyler Miller as a Webelos Scout. Photo courtesy of Tyler Miller.

“It made me more resilient, and it gave me the determination to see something through,” he says. “If I commit to something, I see it through. I want to be dependable and loyal to my commitments.”

It’s a family value that Scouting reinforced. Miller’s grandparents own a 5,000-plus-acre ranch on the edge of town, where they’d primarily raised beef cattle. Growing up, Miller frequented the family property, riding in the truck with his grandfather and helping however he could — often fixing fencing. When he was 14, his grandfather passed away from cancer.

“When he passed, my mom and my aunt made a promise to continue the farm and keep it running, so my grandma would have income for the rest of her life,” Miller says. “And that’s been exactly what’s happening.”

It’s a commitment that Miller, now 30 and living in Nashville, continues to help with when he visits his family in eastern Colorado.

A family tradition

Ranching isn’t easy work. Ranchers do their best to preserve the land and their herd — all while dealing with blizzards, droughts and wildfires.

“It’s such a challenging industry,” Miller says. “You’ve got to have responsible people in agriculture to be good stewards of the land and the animals. It would be pretty hard for us all to eat if we didn’t have the people that are the backbone of that industry.”

Like in Scouting, in which Scouts work together in patrols, families work together to keep their farm or ranch going. It’s important to trust each other to ensure everything is taken care of. The Miller family ranch has been able to thrive because of their commitment to caring for the land and animals.

Photo courtesy of Tyler Miller.

On Miller’s family ranch, everyone pitches in to raise about 500 head of yearling cattle every year while also growing corn and wheat. Since Colorado has been in a drought, they have been raising half as many cattle recently. These are the types of decisions cattle ranchers make to ensure the land is still healthy and that their cattle work hand-in-hand with nature.

In fact, cattle have a superpower of sustainability. Using their special stomachs, they take grass that humans can’t eat and turn it into beef that we can!

The land that cattle live on conserves habitats for wildlife like deer, birds and insects. Plus, that land allows people who love the outdoors, like Scouts, to enjoy hiking, biking, camping, fishing and more on. Sustainability is also a key topic Scouts learn about, either through Leave No Trace principles when they go camping or through merit badges, like Environmental Science and Sustainability. In this way, Scouts and cattle producers have a lot in common!

Moving into music

Miller went to an area junior college to study medicine. During his time there, he was a resident assistant and ran for student body president.

After earning his associate’s degree, he headed to Colorado State University in Fort Collins, where he was one of the few to be admitted into the biomedical sciences program. With the rigors of medical school, Miller began feeling burned out and took a break. He then met Johnny Day, an aspiring country musician. Miller, who played guitar at his church, realized he could work in the biopharmaceutical field while also pursuing a passion that he had never had the time for.

Sean Pauley, Andrew Kosek, Tyler Miller and Tim Cote on stage. Photo courtesy of Tyler Miller.

The two moved to Nashville, Miller serving as Day’s manager, with the goal of breaking into the country music scene. They found it’s a challenging field.

“Of all the time that’s spent to build a career, less time is spent on music,” Miller says. “There’s way more effort in building the business.”

Tyler Miller.

But the busy schedule doesn’t keep Miller from returning to the family ranch. Whenever he’s there, he understands how important it is to help.

“It’s a nice change of pace to be outside doing something,” he says. “On top of that, I try to be helpful when I’m around. It feels like my duty.”

That sense of responsibility is something all Scouts are taught.

“If you absorb the Scout Oath and Scout Law, it becomes second nature in everyday life,” Miller says.

Editor’s note: This post is sponsored by National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, a contractor to the Beef Checkoff.

 


About Michael Freeman 428 Articles
Michael Freeman, an Eagle Scout, is an associate editor of Scout Life and Scouting magazines.