SPECIAL TO FREEDOM NEWSPAPERS
The family of Rolland Ellsworth Jr., an Eastern New Mexico University student killed in a bull-riding accident Oct. 2, remembers him as a loving brother and a son who “lived life with no regrets,” according to a Tuesday release from ENMU.
“We know it wasn’t an accident. We know it wasn’t a freak accident. We know it was the calling of the Lord, the Heavenly Father calling him back because he takes the best of champs,” said his father Rolland Ellsworth.
The 18-year-old freshman is survived by his father; his mother, Ella; his younger brothers, Dallas Ryan, 16; Olin Jay, 14; and Nolan Ryan, 12; and his aunt Nettie Lee.
Olin Jay said Ellsworth was a good brother.
“He taught me how to play the guitar and answered a lot of my questions. I can’t say enough about him,” Olin Jay said.
He added that his brother — called “Rojo” by friends and family — was a happy person, who believed that making plans ruined everything.
“Everything was last-minute for him, but it always worked out,” he said.
His family said Ellsworth had played high school football and had run track. He was an honor students, a member of the Nazarene Church band and a volunteer wild-land firefighter. But bull riding was, by far, his favorite activity, they said. He was attending ENMU on a rodeo scholarship.
“You’re never really prepared for something like this to happen. Of course, it’s a very tragic loss to the rodeo team and Eastern. Rojo is going to be missed very much, but his spirit will live with us forever,” said ENMU rodeo coach David Browder.
Browder said the university’s rodeo team has dedicated the 2003/2004 rodeo season to Ellsworth’s memory.
Funeral services are scheduled for today at the Ramah High School football stadium.