story by Riata Cummings Heath Hammerstrom just finished his eighth grade year at Dugway High School where his favorite classes were physical education and history. […]
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Meet the Member Ean Ellis
story by Riata Cummings
Ean Ellis is an eighth grader at Margaret L. Hopkin Middle School. Ean is the son of Ryan and Britnie Ellis of Moab, Utah, where his family has lived for five generations. Ean has an older brother, Macray, who is playing baseball for his college in Minnesota. Ean enjoys hunting, fishing, playing basketball and baseball, and competing in rodeo.
Ean’s great-great grandfather was the only other member of the family to rope or ride, but Ean has been interested in the sport since he was a little boy, watching the local rodeo. A few years ago, neighbors allowed Ean to borrow horses to start roping. He has now been a competitive rodeo athlete for two years, and competes in the team roping, tiedown roping and ribbon roping through the Utah Junior High School Rodeo Association. In team roping, Ean heels for Kaden Keele and in the ribbon roping he ropes for Maddi Nielson. In his favorite event, tiedown roping, he enjoys “the pressure to go fast and the feeling of a good get off.”
Ean’s tiedown and ribbon roping horse, Boone, is a 12-year-old dun and the first horse Ean bought to compete on. His heel horse, Spanky, is a 26-year-old, steady gelding that gets the job done. Ean is also training a young horse named Cooper to become a calf horse.
Together, Ean and his horses won the Mike and Sherrylynn Johnson’s World’s Tuffest Jr. Championship tiedown roping, qualified for the 2020 Jr. National Finals Rodeo and the 2020 Jr. American Rodeo, as well as the Utah Junior High School State Finals Rodeo for the last two years. This year at state finals, Ean hopes to move up in the standings and qualify for the National Junior High School Finals Rodeo. He also hopes to return to the World’s Tuffest Jr. Championships and the Jr. NFR.
Ean practices five or six days a week, usually for at least four hours a day. He lives by the saying, “Work hard until your idols become your rivals.” The mantra reminds him that, “even though you might just be watching the good guys on TV, if you work hard enough, one day, you can be up there roping against them.”
One of the hardest things for Ean is not getting down on himself after a bad run. “I’ve learned that if you beat yourself up for missing it doesn’t make things better. Not every day will be your day. You just have to have a good attitude and work harder to be better.” He would advise rodeo contestants to, “Don’t get down on yourself. Keep your head up and keep working hard.”
Some of the greatest lesson’s Ean has learned from rodeo include “never giving up and working hard every day.” When he started his rodeo career, he “was always in the bottom half and not really the best.” However, he “started working and roping every day, and then started to win.”
Ean would like to thank his parents for supporting his rodeo career. He would also like to thank Mike Johnson and Rhen Richard for their help and encouragement, as well as American Hats and Willard Ropes for their support and sponsorship. Ean is grateful for the people who have made it possible to pursue his gold buckle dreams.