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Meet the Member Matt Elliott
story by Lily Weinacht
Matt Elliott is a two-time M-SRA tie-down roping champion, securing his most recent title during the 2016 M-SRA finals. “I was sitting pretty good in the standings going in to the finals, but everybody had to rope their game,” he says. The 38-year-old from Valentine, Nebraska, started competing with the M-SRA as early as high school and purchased his card several years later. Additionally, he’s a member of the NSRA, where he won the year-end tie-down roping in 2016 as well.
Rodeo is widespread through Matt’s family, and following junior and high school rodeoing, he competed on the college rodeo teams for Oklahoma Panhandle State University and Central Wyoming College. He went on to ride saddle broncs on the PRCA Prairie Circuit, which he retired from around 2008. Soon after, Matt went from bronc rein to rope, returning to tie-down roping and even team roping. A heeler, Matt competes with Terry Graff, but names tie-down roping as his favorite. “I’d like to compete in the USTRC or World Series ropings someday, but that will probably come when I’m too old to run down the line,” he jokes. “I enjoy the combination of everything in tie-down roping. You have to have a good horse, and I love the way a good calf horse works. It’s also one of those events where whoever wants to work the hardest can be good at it.”
“I’ve had a lot of people help me through the years. My mom and dad both helped me along and made sure I got where I needed to be,” Matt adds. “My aunt, Patti Stalley, helped a lot with my roping, and her husband, TR, got me started riding saddle broncs. I also worked for Brian Fulton for nearly ten years, and he helped me a bunch with my roping.”
Matt ropes daily, whether practicing on his own horses, or training outside horses. “I start quite a few colts, so that’s basically what I do all day. I have a little yellow mare, Lulu, that’s coming seven this year. I hauled her last year, and I took her to the Mid-States finals since I sold my other horse just before that.” Matt goes to rope with his partner, Terry Graff, on occasion, and practices several times a week with his niece, Mataya Eklund, who high school rodeos and competed in the M-SRA last summer.
Matt is home on his ranch outside of Valentine, Nebraska, as often as possible, riding colts, but he does enjoy an afternoon fishing. “I’m living on the same place I grew up on, and we have a few cattle, but we keep more horses than anything.” This time of year, Matt is also working calving jobs in the area, while he and his fiancée, Lynde Frew, are planning their wedding. They met through mutual friends, and Lynde travels with Matt to several of his rodeos.
His goal for the summer includes competing in the M-SRA and NSRA again. “I always like the rodeo in Valentine. It’s very close to home, and they have a great slack that a bunch of people come to. Rodeo season starts the first part of June, and I have a young mare I’d like to start roping on before the rodeos get going. My main goal is seasoning her this summer.”