Matthew Ellender has been around the rodeo atmosphere his entire life.
"It started with his dad, they worked cows first. And then they took a vacation one year to Pueblos, they were already interested in Rodeo's so they took a vacation down there and watched the finals." -Kathryn Engel (grandmother)
"I got started rodeo-ing with my neighbor Richard. He's a calf roper and I would go down there and hang out with him when I got off of school, and I just started roping wit him." -Matthew Ellender
That was when he was twelve years old, ad the rest is history. Ellender competes in 4 events:Team roping, calf roping, and bull-dogging, but says saddle bronc is his favorite.
"You got your brown saddle, and chaps, and vest, get on him in the shoot, nod your head, and ride him for 8 seconds. Get off on a pick-up man."
And at only 17 years old, he is ranked 1st place in all of his events going into the National Little Britches Rodeo Association.
"To do so many events, to do 4 events is really an accomplishment. And I don't know of any other that do all four that are doing as well as he is."
And to top it off, Ellender heads into the Louisiana high school finals rodeo, held here at Burton, 1st in Saddle Bronc, as well as top 10 in his other events, where he will compete for a chance to go to the National High School Finals Rodeo in Rock Springs, Wyoming.
"It's a pretty big deal, I just want to go in there and make good runs and stay in the average."