Elza’s education was similar I imagine to many of the cowboy members of his era. When he was 4 years old his family moved to Harden Montana where he attended school for 1 or 2 years. The family returned to Rock Springs where he attended school up to the eighth grade. He quit school and got a job herding sheep south of Rock Springs. It was there where he eventually got a job with the Blair & Hay Sheep company and remained employed with them for the next 45 years.
He became an accomplished saddle bronc rider and for over 10 years spent the summers at Pacific Springs south of the Sweetwater River near Highway 28 between Farson and Lander. Here he ran wild horses and broke them to ride and others to pull the sheep wagons. Winters were spent in the Bittercreek area of Eastern Sweetwater county still breaking horses. He won several competitions in saddle bronc riding from Rawlins to Lander to Evanston.
Blair & Hay Sheep co. had about 36,000 head of sheep and he eventually became one of the sheep foreman. When Blair & Hay was divided between two brothers, Elza stayed with Leonard Hay and continued his ranching career.
In the early 1900’s Elza’s uncle Roy Eversole who worked for the Cow Creek Sheep Co, homesteaded a ranch 20 miles south of Bittercreek. Anytime away from his job with Leonard Hay would find Elza at his uncle’s cattle ranch. Since the small cattle ranch barely made ends meet, Elza would use his sheep wages to help with the ranch finances. In addition he helped financially by trapping and selling wild horses. In return he was to become partners in the ranch. Roy and his wife Emma retired in 1956 and Elza would buy out the other half of the ranch. He and his wife Lois worked and owned the ranch until 1980 when their son John and his wife Debbie leased the ranch and eventually became the owners. The ranch continues to run cattle today.
Elza was an avid chariot racer, a member of several agriculture groups and a member of the Rock Springs Grazing Association.
It should also be noted that although not a wealthy man, he financially helped his father, mother, two brothers, two nephews and friends in the Bittercreek area. Indeed he personified the “shirt off his back” to any who asked.
From his early days of running and breaking wild horses at Pacific Springs to the end of his career riding his old mule Festus, he was truly a cowboy.