Kubricky Construction Corp.'s Olin Ellsworth is the Definition of a True Cowboy
By Andi Paradis
Some may know KCC’s Olin Ellsworth as a project manager, and some may know him as a rodeo cowboy. But what most don’t know is that he utilizes his connections in both parts of his life to bring joy to children with physical and/or mental disabilities. Through two very special organizations, he has met two children who have, in his words, “stolen my heart.”
Olin volunteers for two rodeos dedicated to children with disabilities and other life-threatening conditions, the Children’s Exceptional Rodeo in Harrisburg, PA, and the Magical Moon Foundation’s Little Kids Rodeo in Marshfield, MA.
Roping dummy calves, climbing in and out of a bull fighter’s barrel, meeting cowboys and rodeo clowns, and sitting on a real bull are some of the highlights of each organization’s programs. Both events are run solely by volunteer cowboys, to which Olin says, “it’s as much fun for us as it is for the kids. That’s why we’re here year after year.” Cowboys are matched with a child to teach each event to, and Olin Ellsworth has had the same two matches, Marissa and Parker, each year.
Olin first met Marissa, who is deaf and also diagnosed with dwarfism, when she was 5. Marissa is 10 now and never misses an Exceptional Rodeo. “Neither one of us is that great at American Sign Language,” laughs Olin, who takes ASL classes when he can, “yet somehow it just works.” Marissa not only participates in the Exceptional Rodeo, but her family cheers Olin on in the finals the following day. Olin usually skips what’s called a ‘walk through’ rehearsal of the rodeo, and instead lets Marissa join him in warming up his horse, taking her for laps around the arena.
Olin first met Parker, diagnosed with Leukemia, through fellow colleague Sue Battis when Parker was 4. Parker attends the Magical Moon Foundation’s Little Kids Rodeo, and though he is a brave little boy, he is afraid of horses. Olin’s horse, Karl, is high strung, energetic, and wild. Yet when Parker came around Karl, he dropped down and bowed his head. Olin, Parker, and Karl are now three peas-in-a-pod.
Parker’s family has had a social media support system for Parker dubbed #ParkerStrong. The hashtag and social media pages are inundated with red shoes. Red shoes are Parker’s ‘thing,’ and to Olin - a reserved, traditional cowboy who wears no patterns or outrageous colors during the rodeo - the idea of red shoes was out of the question. After meeting Parker, however, and seeing the support he receives via red shoes all over the country, Olin got on the phone with one of his sponsors who makes the splint boots for his horse and requested the next pair be red (pictured below).
When Olin isn’t participating in rodeos, he still does his part to give back in any way he can. When the Adirondack Stampede comes to town in the fall, Olin volunteers his time reaching out to suppliers he knows through his time in the construction industry for dirt and materials for the rodeo, and donates his time moving dirt in and out of the facilities.
“It’s tough not knowing which kids will be there the next year,” says Olin. “I take rodeo very seriously. I spend all of my free time and about the same amount of my money on it. The kid’s rodeo is more important to me. I’m getting older, and the sport is rough on your body, but I can’t stop yet. I could never miss out on these kids.”