Preston Eleck Stone – New Mexico Nomination by Kimberly Stone Photography by Ranch Raised Kids Issue 73 of Inspiring Teens Magazine
Nomination: P. Eleck Stone has cystic fibrosis but it doesn’t have him. Eleck lives everyday to the fullest as if he has no disease competing in athletic events, working hard physically on the ranch and helping others. Throughout his youth he played football, baseball, and basketball until this year when he decided to start roping calves in July. Now he competes in the NMHS rodeos in calf roping. Showing kids that it is never too late to try something new and if you work hard you can be successful, even if everyone says you are years behind.
Photography by Ranch Raised Kids
What do you wish others knew about Cystic Fibrosis? The medicines are costly, and the disease management is very time-consuming. The research done because of people’s generous donations is helping to ensure that the average life expectancy is well into adulthood. As of today, there is no cure for cystic fibrosis.
What is life like on the ranch? What is a normal day like? Ranch life is special. I don’t have close neighbors, which means I can see for miles in all directions. I can see the sunrise, sunset, and all the stars every day! The priority is caring for all the livestock, ensuring it has food and water. Maintenance and upkeep of the waters and fences are performed as needed.
What do you love most about living on a ranch? I love working outside with my hands and caring for the livestock and land. I believe God placed me here to be a steward of His creations.
What is your family like? Where do you fit in and where do you stand out? My family believes in God, grit, and hard work. My grandparents and parents and generations before have set the example of working hard to care for the livestock and the land. I am a 6th generation rancher on both sides of my family; this way of life is who I am. I am thankful to be doing online school so I can be involved in the ranch, working alongside my Dad, brother, and grandpa, and being a part of the physical work. I stand out because I love the heavy lifting and manual strain of ranch maintenance.
What do you think others might not know about living on a ranch? Most of our population doesn’t know that ranching and farming comprise only 1% of the US population. I am proud to be part of the group that feeds and clothes the entire world. The way of life that folks in agriculture lead is rewarding in ways that aren’t financial. We make sure to be able to pay our bills, but the greatest reward is seeing the land and livestock every day.
What is the hardest part about calf roping? Though I’ve been around horses and roped in the branding pen since I was small, I didn’t start roping calves until this past July for the first time. The most challenging thing for me is the horsemanship involved in roping calves to ensure that my horse does what he is supposed to help me tie the calf quickly.
What do you do to practice to be successful? I practice every day, even if it is only roping the dummy and practicing tying.
What is an upcoming goal you have with it? I want to continue to improve my skills so I can have consistent runs throughout the spring semester of the high school rodeos.
Photography by Tall Blonde Photography
What else would you like to talk about? Life is not fair, easy, or predictable. Trust God, work hard, and surround yourself with good people to help you accomplish your goals. Give back to others it can change their life. At age 9, I received a wish courtesy of the Permian Basin Oilman’s Bass Invitational through Make-A-Wish New Mexico to become an Army Ranger. The Rangers I met on my trip have inspired me to be the best version of myself—especially SFC Harrison Houpis, who passed away in 2021. I will never forget the lessons he taught me and our time together.
What do you feel passionate about or could talk about forever? I am proud to be part of the 1% who produce food and fiber for the world. I am a 6th-generation NM rancher on both sides of my family. It is because of the pioneering spirit of my family’s past generations that I get to be a steward of God’s land and livestock.
How did you find your photographer, Ranch Raised Kids? What was your experience like? What did you love most about it? I was introduced to Seth Joel through the Ranch Raised Kids project for the NM Cattle Growers Foundation. Seth was a cool guy who made me feel comfortable to relax and smile.
Tell us about your football career. When did you get started and what did you love most about it? I started playing tackle football in 1st grade, and my Dad was one of my coaches along with Mr. King. They instilled a passion for the game and grit. I played every year except for this year, my senior year. My favorite thing about football was the opportunity to make defensive tackles to help my team. It was a hard choice not to play anymore, but after several concussions, it was the right choice.
What was your baseball team like? What is your favorite memory with them? I played baseball until 2021, when I decided to focus on trap shooting and football. My favorite memory is from Little League, where we won multiple league championships.
What position did you play in basketball and why were you a good fit for it? I played post in basketball, and as one of the tallest members of the team, it was a good fit for me. I rebounded well and made a strong outlet pass to encourage fast breaks. I was thankful for the time I played, but once high school started, I chose to pursue focusing on shooting and football.
If you had nothing to do and all day to do it, where would we find you? I would be roping my calf dummy or practicing tying.
What is up next for you that you are super excited about? I am excited to attend college and continue to rope calves in my free time.
What is the hardest thing you have ever accomplished, and how did you do it? The hardest thing I have ever accomplished is overcoming mental struggles with dealing with a limited life expectancy due to the diagnosis of cystic fibrosis. I have overcome those feelings with the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the support of my family and friends.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to be where you are today? Trust in the Lord and work hard.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years/what are your plans? I will have obtained a college degree, worked for a ranch or other agricultural entity, and continue to rope calves competitively.
What is your favorite activity or pastime that was not in your nomination? Since I was old enough to be allowed to have an ax, I have loved chopping down trees. Today, I cut firewood for sale and enjoy running a chainsaw and splitter.
Do you have a hidden talent? What is it? I have taught myself to play a few songs on the guitar.
3 Things on your bucket list: My bucket list includes visiting Normandy Beach, paying my respects to SFC Houpis and other veterans at Arlington Cemetery, and visiting Mount Rushmore.
Who do you find inspiring? In addition to the SFC Houpis and other Army Rangers, I am inspired by Inky Johnson, a former University of Tennessee football player who is paralyzed in his right arm and is now a motivational speaker. He looks to the Word of God at all times and perseveres despite physical challenges.
What about you inspires others/why do you think you are inspiring? I don’t necessarily think I am inspiring. Having a positive attitude and focusing on God will ensure I can accomplish anything. I hope my attitude will rub off on others I spend time with.
Is there anything else you would like to tell us? With the Lord, hard work, and perseverance, you can accomplish anything you set your mind to!
Look for Preston in issue 73 of Inspiring Teens Magazine!