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Sisters start Cowgirl Candles

Kari Lucin / The Sun Kodie Miller, 6, left, tests the scent of a finished candle, while Ryleigh Miller, 8, center, pours wax for candles and Mackenzie Miller, 9, right, looks on.

MCHENRY, N.D. — Working together, three young sisters who love horses have made and sold more than 100 soy candles to help finance their trips to rodeo competitions.

Each of the girls contributes to the Cowgirl Candles enterprise — Mackenzie Miller, 9, Ryleigh Miller, 8, and Kodie Miller, 6.

“We kind of thought it would be fun. We were bored this winter and they turned out so good, we thought ‘We could sell these,’” said Jenny Miller, who helps supervise her daughters’ work.

To make the candles, the girls need white wax flakes, jars, wicks, scents, a thermometer and a heat source.

Mackenzie places the wick in a jar, careful to keep it in the exact center of the candle. Ryleigh pours wax flakes into an electric heater and stirs them so that they’ll melt. Their mom keeps an eye on the temperature and tells Kodie when it’s time to pour the scent in. There’s a little more stirring, and then Jenny pours the hot wax into the jar.

Recently, the girls have also started making scented wax blocks for warmers, too.

The candles solidify after a couple of hours but take a day to cure, and the wax blocks for warmers take about one hour to harden.

Mackenzie enjoys getting to smell all the different scents, and Ryleigh’s favorite part is meeting people to sell the candles when they’re finished.

“I like when people are happy,” Kodie said, and Ryleigh finished, “When they get them.”

There are 26 featured scents, some of which are fairly self-explanatory — banana cream pie, strawberry rhubarb, birthday cake and leather — and some of which have fanciful names, like Amish Quilt, which has a spicy cinnamon aroma.

Amish Quilt happens to be one of the best-selling fragrances but the girls can also make unscented candles for people with allergies.

Money from their efforts helps pay for their hobby — competing at rodeos. Mackenzie, for example, does barrel racing, pole bending and goat tying.

Barrel racing involves riding around three barrels in a cloverleaf pattern as quickly as possible. Pole bending is another timed test of agility, featuring a horse and rider weaving between a series of poles, and that’s Mackenzie’s favorite event.

“I like to work with my horse,” she said, adding that she would stay outside all night with her horse if she could.

Sometimes Ryleigh does sheep riding, though “mostly all of the events are on horse,” she said.

Mackenzie usually rides either Doc or Hawkeye in competitions, and her sisters share another horse, Daisy.

Kodie is just starting to ride full-sized horses, her mother said.

“I like to watch them in rodeos sometimes, and I like doing stick horse,” Kodie said.

Stick horse races usually involve young people “riding” a stick horse toy around obstacles just like those in events that include a horse.

And when the rodeo season draws to an end, they will still have candles to make.

So far, the girls have sold about 100 Cowgirl Candles and 100 scent blocks at craft fairs, via Facebook on “Cowgirl Candles” and on rummage sale websites.

The candles cost $10 and the wax melts for warmers are $4. They can also be shipped.

For more information, visit “Cowgirl Candles” on Facebook or email

Sun reporter Kari Lucin can be reached at (701) 952-8453 or by email at