Log In or Register
HomeLocal NewsState NewsSportsOpinionObituariesAgriculture
Quick Links
  Home
  My Bulletin
  Contact The Bulletin

Marketplace
  Display Ads
  Classifieds
  Dir. of Advertisers

Opinion

Ricketts: Reduce property tax burden

Legislature report: cattle, RR crews, marijuana & aging

More opinion

Ag News

Nebraska SRM conference set in North Platte

4S Goat Expo set: Educational seminar, show, sale

More Ag News


Email Article | Print Article
News - State/Regional News
 
Student moves from chemistry lab to rodeo arenaTell North Platte what you think
 
Courtesy Photo­Image
Elkanah Riley in the saddle

Elkanah Riley can relate to the guys on the television show “The Big Bang Theory.”

NebraskaLand National BankYou've got a
facebook Request!
CLICK HERE!

And it doesn’t bother the Brule cowboy one bit.

The 18-year-old is a self-proclaimed “science geek,” who enjoys science but is involved in many other activities. As a senior at Ogallala High School, he is a steer wrestler, team roper, and tie-down roper in the Nebraska High School Rodeo Association.

He is also the leader of his school’s Science Club, captain of the Quiz Bowl, a football player, wrestler, and 2012 State Power Lifting Champion in the 132-pound division.

Science and engineering are his future, and he has a good start on it. The school’s Science Club competed at the Science Olympiad, and did well in its first year of competition last year, finishing “in the middle of the pack,” Elkanah said.

He and a partner finished fifth in the state with their gravity vehicle.

This year, the team is making a wood and paper elastic glider launched with a rubber band.

His favorite class is calculus and chemistry lab, and his favorite teacher is Mr. Jason Glenn.

“He can command an audience in the classroom, and he knows how to add just the right amount of seriousness and fun into a class and it makes it great,” he said.

Elkanah knows that liking calculus makes a person a math nerd.

“You have to embrace the fact that if you’re sitting in that (calculus class) seat, you’re a nerd, and he understands that. With the kind of comedy we throw out, you can only understand if you’re smart, and that’s what makes it the best part,” he said.

Last year, Elkanah also took part in the International Space Settlement Design Competition at NASA in Houston. Students were given 21 hours to design a business proposal for building a space station to orbit the moon.

It was mentally taxing, Elkanah said, but good for him.

“I was thoroughly exhausted, but looking back, it was a really good opportunity to see what it was like,” he said.

That experience has helped him decide to pursue a career in aeronautical engineering, and he hopes to be accepted to the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. He’s received two nominations, one from Representative Adrian Smith and a second from Senator Ben Nelson, and he has fulfilled all other obligations. If he attends the Academy, he’ll compete on the rodeo team there.

What drives him? He likes to win, but he also likes the sense of accomplishment.

“You only live once, so you need to make the best of what happens, every day. You want to look back and say, you did everything you could,” he said.

Elkanah, whose name is from the first chapter of First Samuel in the Bible, has competed at the Nebraska State High School Finals Rodeo in Hastings three years, and looks to go back again in all three of his events in June.

He didn’t grow up in a rodeo family; his mother was a farm girl, and his dad was from Seattle. At age five, he wanted a horse and neighbors Brad and April Harms promised him, when he was eight, they’d help him learn to ride.

So, two weeks after his eighth birthday, April called Elkanah’s mom from a horse sale, and said, “Bring the checkbook. He’s got his horse.” They have helped him learn to ride and have mentored him through rodeo.

And when he watches The Big Bang Theory, he often recognizes the science things written on the white boards in the background.

“Sometimes I can look at a white board (on the show) and know, ‘Oh, we’re going over that in class.’ As far as the things they find funny, I can relate, because you know what they’re talking about,” he said.

But unlike the guys on the show, Elkanah gets the girls every time.

“Yeah, right,” he chuckles.

He is a member of the National Honor Society, Spanish Honor Society, and is a Junior Leader of Archery in 4-H. He is the son of Shawn and Kim Riley.


Like this story to send to your facebook

The North Platte Bulletin - Published 4/16/2013
Copyright © 2013 northplattebulletin.com - All rights reserved.
Flatrock Publishing, Inc. - 1300 E 4th St., Suite F - North Platte, NE 69101
 
Show me Talk Back during this visit
 
 

Copyright © 2003 - 2014 northplattebulletin.com
All rights reserved.

Flatrock Publishing, Inc.
1300 E 4th St., Suite F
North Platte, NE 69101

 
Your Ip Address - 54.92.241.157
North Platte, Nebraska