HOUSTON – To watch Matt Sherwood compete, one realizes his focus and extreme athletic talent.
But deep in his chest beats the heart of a champion, from his two Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association team roping-heading world titles to the way he carries himself and handles the challenges life hands him.
That’s why Sherwood’s faith is so important to him and his family; it’s the guiding force to the way he lives his life, in and out of the rodeo arena. He will carry it with him when he competes Tuesday-Thursday during the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo’s first Super Series of the 2011 campaign.
“I don’t share my faith a whole lot,” said Sherwood, a devout Mormon from Pima, Ariz., who ropes with Travis Woodard of Stephenville, Texas. “I have standards I try real hard to live by that our outlined by our church. Faith means a lot to me and my family. The only things you take with you are your knowledge and the relationships you have on this earth.
“For me as a father, it’s my job to teach my children those values. If my kids don’t make it to what I call the celestial kingdom, what else matters? There’s no success that can make up for failure at home.”
There are a number of challenges rodeo cowboys face just competing for their livelihood while battling for those coveted world championships. There are no guarantees in rodeo, where combatants must pay a fee in order to compete. Only the very best in each competition earn a paycheck. Cowboys will travel more than 100,000 miles in a given year chasing their gold buckle dreams.
“My challenges aren’t your challenges,” said Sherwood, who with his wife, Kim, has seven children ages 7 to 17. “How you deal with defeat or success defines you.”