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A Cowboy Rides Away: Roger Elder


Roger Dale Elder, 71, passed away peacefully surrounded by his family on January 19, 2021. He was born on November 3, 1949, in Byrdstown, Tennessee to Dale and Ovella Elder.

Roger Elder on horseback on his 70th birthday, Nov. 3, 2019
(November 3, 1949 – January 19, 2021)

Roger Elder was a cowboy. Easy to smile and quick with a joke or a story, his life was patch worked with tales of road life adventures, cowboy escapades, a strong work ethic, deep devotion to children and horses, an uncanny ability to fix anything with hay string, and he could teach anyone to two-step.

He rode through life on a horse, a tractor, or down the highway behind the wheel of a truck. Roger’s family was big and included generations of kids and boarders at Elder’s Last Lap Ranch in Maryville, Tennessee, hundreds of 4-Hers and American Quarter Horse Association members, and his own cherished family.

He gave a lot more than he got, but he would say that his life was rich with the joy of helping others and the love of family. He had the goal of helping people find the love of horses, and showed them what that love would bring back to them tenfold. If you look through the photos on Elder’s Last Lap Ranch facebook pages, you will see lots of happy children with horses and ponies.

The love of Roger’s life was his wife Sandra. They shared a life full of family and horses – from rodeo bible camps to covered arenas.

When their daughter Sarah was in college at MTSU and on the Equestrian Team, Roger and Sandra spent a lot of time helping out with the team, going to shows, and helping do whatever Coach Ann Brzezicki needed done.

He was the owner of Elder’s Last Lap Ranch and Double R Sales and Associates. He was an AQHA Director, Judge, Breeder, Steward, the AQHA National Youth Committee Chairman, and he sat on two Tennessee Governor’s commissions for horse racing and animal welfare.  He was on the Animal Science Advocacy/Advisory Committee for the UT Horse Program. He was inducted into the Tennessee Quarter Horse Association Hall of Fame in 2018.

Roger is survived by his wife Sandra Elder; his son John Elder and his wife Julie and their children Ty and Will; his daughter Sarah Elder Chabot and her husband Andy Chabot; and his brother Doug Elder and his wife Rhonda.

The family would appreciate donations in memory of Roger Elder to the American Quarter Horse Foundation at, or the Roger and Sandra Elder 4-H Horse Endowment For Blount County at:

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