Sherwood fights through challenges to win gold buckles

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Rodeo has been part of Matt Sherwood’s life for most of his life.

Matt Sherwood
Matt Sherwood

“Rodeo, as great as it is, can be a detriment,” said Sherwood, a two-time world champion team roper from Pima, Ariz. “I was 26 or 27 years old, working and going to school in Florida, and my wife was pregnant with our third child. I thought to myself, ‘What am I doing?’

“When we moved back to Arizona, I rodeoed a little bit. I bought my first home, my first property. I thought it was time to address myself.”

He realized he needed more stability, so he set out to take car of his family. He began laying tile and carpet for his father-in-law. In fact, rodeo almost became an afterthought.

“I quit completely for 10 years until I was able to work myself into a situation that worked best for me,” Sherwood said. “It’s so expensive to rodeo, so expensive to make a living. I figure it costs you $50,000 at the beginning of the year, not including buying the horse and buying the truck. That’s a tough thing to swallow if you think you’re going to make a bunch of money rodeoing.”

How did Sherwood get to that level? Primarily working for his wife’s father, but when the opportunities allowed, he branched out on his own. That’s how he opened of Sherwood Flooring.

“I worked for my father-in-law exclusively until five years ago,” he said. “As I learned things, the construction business was going crazy in the Phoenix area. I started doing other things, all the while still working for my father-in-law. I slowly started taking more jobs on my own.”

It’s been five years since Sherwood quit being a regional cowboy and started taking his shot at the big time. In 2006, with the help of his sorrel mount, Nicks Rocket Rojo, Sherwood earned his first qualification to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. After 10 rugged nights of competition, he rode out on the horse he calls Nickolas wearing the gold buckle given to the world champion.

He repeated that tremendous feat two years later.

But none of it would be possible if he hadn’t done what he needed in order to take care of his family, which includes wife, Kim, and their seven children ages 7-17. Priorities are important to Sherwood, who takes time off the rodeo train in order to be with his family, even during the busiest times of the season.

“Yes, there’s stuff you miss,” he said. “But I try to be home as much as I can.”

Spoken like a true champion, in and out of the arena.


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