Riggins full of pride for Leighton Vander Esch

Posted at 12:32 PM, May 01, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-01 19:21:32-04

Idaho is full of Leighton Vander Esch fans, but you'd be hard-pressed to find a place where he's more loved than in his hometown of Riggins. 

Vander Esch was drafted in the first round of the NFL Draft on Thursday. The former Boise State linebacker was selected at No. 19 by the Cowboys.

"We've gotten an idea of what his favorite foods are, and It's definitely that fudge brownie a la mode," Pam Vollant said. 

Inside the River Rock Cafe, the food is good, but you might catch Vander Esch fever if you visit. The staff watched him grow up. 

"He's just getting bigger and bigger," Janeen Eggebrecht said. "We just watched him grow into quite the fine young man."

Like most in Riggins, the women who work at the cafe followed Vander Esch's career from high school to Boise State. 

"He comes home on break, and he goes to the high school," Bert Tumelson. "He'll ref the ball games for little kids. My children, grandchildren love him to death. He's humble. He's humble, and he's all about what Riggins is. "

Now, they'll watch him take the field for The Dallas Cowboys. 

"I watched the NFL draft on TV for two hours, and I wasn't leaving the TV until I saw Leighton's name called," Vollant said. 

Vander Esch might be playing for America's Team, but to Vollant, Eggebrecht and Tumelson, he'll always be their Riggins boy. 

"This is huge for our town, but it's huge for Leighton," Eggebrecht said. "We're really proud."