LAS VEGAS – Before he was old enough to smile, Rob Matthews was quickly moving into life in the world of rodeo.
He was 1 month old when his parents took him to the West of the Pecos (Texas) Rodeo, just down the street from his home. He’s been part of the sport ever since, from riding and roping to telling stories about the sport on the Pro Rodeo Roundup, a weekday radio feature that has been picked up by 50 affiliates in 10 states across the country.
Matthews was awarded for his lifetime of work in the sport by earning the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association’s Media Award for Excellence in Broadcast Journalism during the organization’s annual awards banquet in Las Vegas. The ceremony took place in conjunction with the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, the sport’s grand finale.
“This is an honor, and it’s something that I can be proud of and know that it’s helping rodeo fans across the country stay up to date with what’s happening in the rodeo world,” said Matthews, who lives in Seminole, Texas, with his wife, Mandy, and their two children, Jordan and Jaylee. “The contestants have been great, and I thank them for always making time to do interviews, even during that busy summer rodeo schedule. Without them, this show doesn’t exist.”
The list of past winners includes world champion cowboys/rodeo analysts like Joe Beaver and Don Gay; ProRodeo Announcer of the Year Hadley Barrett; and television commentators Jeff Medders and Butch Knowles, who continue to call the action from various rodeos, including the NFR.
“To join a group like that is more than I even thought was possible,” Matthews said. “This buckle will probably never come out of the case.”
Sponsored by Cowboy Up Energy Drink, Pro Fantasy Rodeo and Capital Hatters, the Pro Rodeo Roundup is a daily 3-minute program that includes tidbits of timely information on the sport, including interviews from the top names in the sport.
“I have always followed the sport,” Matthews said. “When the idea came to me of doing a radio feature, I immediately started putting things in motion. It took several months for me to get everything in place regarding equipment and format. Once I was ready to move ahead, my first affiliate station was KZZN in Littlefield, Texas, which is owned by one of my friends, Cody West.”
What makes Pro Rodeo Roundup successful? The format works well for stations and fans, and the stories are poignant and timely.
“I try to make the program more about the cowboys and cowgirls telling the story than me telling it for them,” he said. “The fans want to hear the cowboys and cowgirls tell the story. I try to feature comments from two contestants per show. I produce and present the show, but it’s the cowboys and cowgirls that make it what it is.
“Just about everyone has been really easy to work with. There are times that they are unable to do the interview when I call, but 99 percent of the time they will call me or schedule a time for me to call them back. From rookies to multiple-time world champions to hall-of-fame inductees, everyone has just been a pleasure to work with.”
So has Matthews, which is why he’ll have a buckle recognizing him for his outstanding work.