Larry grew up in Saratoga, something I’ve yet to accomplish!  Saratoga has a Blue Ribbon Trout Fishing River, the North Platte flowing smack-dab thru it.  Both Larry and I find every opportunity to limber up our fly rods given the influence a place like Saratoga had on us….

After losing his parents in separate accidents, Larry was raised by his aunt & uncle (Allen & Lee Elliott) on The Flying Diamond ranch south of Saratoga.

He graduated from PVHS in 1966, where he was a State Champion wrestler on the acclaimed Panther wrestling squad.  Later, Larry attended the University of Wyomingwhere he was a member of the SAE Fraternity and wrestled intramural.  Following graduation from UW, he became a United States Marine Corps fighter/attack pilot

.           His call sign: “COWBOY!”

Larry’s fleet squadron was VMFA-324, the Devil Dogs.  FA indicates Fighter/Attack but the A-4M was primarily an Attack aircraft. The A-4’s primary mission was weapons delivery. Larry’s squadron spent countless hours practicing firing and dropping: firing 20mm cannons, launching 2.75 and 5.0 rockets, simulated bombs up to nuclear weapons, and napalm. Larry had to demonstrate proficiency in 30, 45, 60 degree delivery as well as overhead nuclear delivery. A big part of the nuclear delivery training was low level flying to avoid radar (this was probably his favorite training). He also, instructed NFO students on low level flying as an instructor pilot in VT-86.
In contrast to all this, they received minimal training or practice in Fighter missions. Our training there was mostly recognition and evasion. Although the A-4M had the fastest roll rate (720º/sec) of any fleet aircraft and good characteristics for close in Air to Air, it didn’t have much of a chance in the modern long range fighter tactics. A training session at the ECM range, China Lake, taught that a “lock on” signal was usually followed with a shoot down/ejection. 

On February 13, 1978, Larry joined Frontier Airlines where we were often paired together; first in the Convair 580 flying from Denver to Jackson Hole always detouring over our favorite home-town, Saratoga. 


We even flew a former Navy T-28 together once.  It was one of the many Davis-Monthan boneyard T-28s I took to Tegucigalpa Honduras. <> FUN STUFF!

Larry, now a retired Southwest Airlines captain, wakes up smiling’ at Rancho Elliott on the outskirts of Albuquerque NM.  There he and his wife, Sue, raise  horses and a plethora of other animals.  One, “Bear” is a dog big ’nuff for a saddle!  No coyote problems at Rancho Elliott.  A second guard dog is nearly as big!
Larry has a gift at this very specialized horse training vocation.  Here’s his story published in the MAGNOLIA magazine:


May 2023, Cheryl and I spent several days with Larry & Sue at Rancho Elliott in the shadow of Sandia Peak.  Watching Larry work, with his yearling stud colt, was pure joy.  

I was raised on a Saratoga ranch myself.  I was raised old-school bronc busting!  Buck ’em into submission!  I like Larry’s gentle handling much better.  It is truly an art and beautiful to watch.  

Larry was able to get an ornery/fiesty colt that started off trying to bite and kick Larry to where that beautiful animal would follow him around the arena like a puppy.  Larry would have the colt racing one direction, then, with a head-nod, change direction.  A WOW!

Larry’s horses are trained to neck rein where a soft touch with a rein instantly turns the animal.  Key word with Larry is “GENTLE” – no spurs needed nor are abusive bridle bits.  I’m late learning, but from what I’ve seen my pal, Larry, accomplish, neck reining is the way to go.  If I was a barrel-racer, I’d want a Larry Elliott trained horse!

May 23, 2023 The Bull Ring, Santa Fe, New Mexico, the occasion of Larry’s sister Jeanette’s “29th birthday.”  L-R:  Steve Hamblin – Larry Elliott – Billy & Cheryl Walker – Jeanette Hamblin.  

Yup, if you have the opportunity to meet Larry & Sue make an effort to see Larry work a colt, you’ll thank me for the recommendation…