Association MemberJoin Rodeo News
Meet the Member Eli Woodyard
story by Jet Toberer
Second-generation team roper, Eli Woodyard, of small town Max Meadows, Virginia, has been roping since he was 8 years old, and loving every minute of it! The 14-year-old, ninth grader has been competitively roping as a header for the past two years, and doesn’t plan to quit. Eli lives in a with his 18-year-old sister Taylor, and his parents, Tana and Darrel. His sister was a past rodeo competitor, but found a passion for the boutique business, and has opened her own successful boutique, “The Branded Blonde.” Eli’s mom is a beautician and runs her own hair salon, “Salon Eleven,” and his dad stays busy managing the family business, W4 Farms and W4 Fencing. Eli helps his dad with many of the chores on the farm, and after high school, he hopes to follow in his footsteps, raising beef cattle and building fences one day.
Eli has taken the money he earned working for his dad and invested in a flock of sheep. He plans to use the venture to help fund his rodeo endeavors, as he works towards his goals. Eli is a homeschooler, whot favors math over all his other subjects, “I like math because it really works my brain.” When Eli is not roping or working on school assignments, Eli enjoys playing the guitar and tooling leather. Eli started playing the guitar when he was little, and started leather tooling about a year ago. Family friend, Dillon Lynch, from Texas, taught Eli how to tool leather, and he has been doing it ever since; building wallets and other small projects for the enjoyment. One of his favorite hobbies is hunting, and his favorite hunting partner is his dad, “I really like the challenge that comes with hunting.” Eli also loves playing with “Jeb,” his pet two-year-old Hanging Tree cow dog. Eli definitely has his plate full when it comes to the weekend, because he belongs to numerous roping and rodeo associations that really keep him busy. His favorite association is the JRSRA, “The entry fees are pretty cheap, and they always manage to have a great payout. It’s a very well-organized association!”
When Eli was young, he had a big interest in rodeo, and although he likes many of the events, he always had his eyes on team roping. His dad, who competed in rodeo when he was younger, taught Eli to rope. Eli recently completed his first year in the Junior Southern Rodeo Association, and he is very excited about the upcoming season. Eli enjoys roping on his big 14-year-old blue roan gelding “Big Easy” that he purchased when he was in Stephenville, Texas on a trip, from family friend, Chris Orr. He had to sell his previous horse, a big chestnut Quarter Horse named “S.L.,” to be able to purchase him. Eli rode “Big Easy” in the 2017 Jr. SRA season and had a very good first year, finishing as one of the top 10 headers in the year-end standings. Everyone better look out this coming season, because Eli has big plans of winning the 2018 season championship header title in team roping. Even though Eli has been roping for such a short time, he has already managed to achieve a very prestigious accomplishment by winning the 2017 Virginia Junior High School Rodeo Association Championship Header title. He dreams of qualifying for the WNFR one day, so that he can compete with his heroes at the Thomas & Mack, and win the very respected gold buckle that all rodeo kids dream of. Eli’s idol is 6-time WNFR team roper, Kaleb Driggers. “He is pretty doggone fast! There is just something different about him, I don’t know what it is, but it sets him apart from everyone else.” Eli tries to maintain a good work ethic so that he can get there, and he lives by the quote “If you ain’t first, your last.” It pushes him to be better every day, and work to be number one.