Your Christian Cowboy Resource
Growing up all I ever wanted to be was a cowboy. When I was little I would walk around the house wearing nothing but my diaper, my cowboy hat and one boot and my family called me, One Boot Matt.
I was baptized at a young age but never knew what it all really meant or where to go next! I started riding bulls when I was about eight and from the first time I got on that's all I wanted to do! Bull riding was my life but it was much later on that I was gonna realize why God made me a bull rider.
I had a lot of success early on and it continued all the way though high school and college. In that time of my life, I was a typical teenager. A little wild and free and kind of had a wild side in me. I didn't have much of a relationship with The Lord except when it came to riding bulls, I would pray and ask God to keep me safe. You know the saying, there ain't no atheist in the bucking chutes.
When I graduated I set out on the rodeo trail and was having fun but did not know that my life was fixin’ to change in a huge way. In June of 2004, I was in Casper, WY competing in the college national finals and was sitting pretty good. I went out to the bar with my buddy's and had got drunk. Walking to my motel that night I felt ashamed of myself and what I was doing. I remember being baptized and always praying to God for help and I thought to myself how was I honoring Him with my life? I wasn't!
As I stumbled into my motel room I saw that bible laying on the night stand and I hit my knees and cried out to God to forgive me and help me to live my life for Him! And with no questions ask He forgave me and picked me up and gave me life. I felt a peace I'd never felt before. I was now living the new life! After that, I still struggled with things and didn't know at the time that it was the enemy on my back. I didn't really know what to do next, but God is so faithful and He knew my heart. 2004 was the first year I made the National Finals Rodeo and I came in to the finals in second place. I was having a good finals and had a great shot at achieving every cowboy’s dream of being a world champion. It came down to the 10th round and all I had to do was stay on my bull to win the championship–and I bucked off right at the whistle.
Coming home from Vegas, I was thankful that I didn't win cause I felt like I didn't deserve it for not glorifying God with my life.
On the outside things looked great. The next year God started doing great things in my life and He knew what I needed. He put a good friend, Dj Domague in my life to help me in my walk. That year was a year to remember and it was so much fun. God was doing a great work in my life, and I had a banner year. See, God was doing all the work in me and changing me. That year I set records and won my first world title. It was a dream come true. The next year I was having another awesome year and was leading the world by $60,000 in October going into the finals but I got hurt two months before the NFR.
I went and saw the doctors and they said I could have surgery and miss the finals or do rehab. I did rehab for two months and got to the finals and got to get on two bulls before I had to pull out cause of my injury.
Over the next year, I kind of lost my focus on The Lord. You see I was out all of the year 2007 with injury and went to worrying about if I was gonna come back as good, worrying about getting hurt again, worrying about what my family and fans would think and just started worrying about everything.
The next few years were up and down and I stayed in this worrying mode. I kept battling injures and fighting my head but in 2010 things started to turn around. I was riding like my old self and was sittin’ in the top 15 but I still had this feeling of emptiness that wouldn't leave and had fear.
Well in March, I went to Austin to the rodeo and hurt my shoulder so I took a few weeks off. I had just moved to Sulphur Springs. My dad called and ask if I would come get on some bulls so I did. That day when I left I had a storage building over there that I had stored all my buckles, saddles,trophies etc. I grabbed that box of buckles and took it to my house and threw them in the corner. I got up the next morning to go to church and I thought, I’ll clean one of those buckles up. They had been in that building for over three years.
So I took that buckle in the bath room and started polishing it and it was dirty. As I stared into that buckle I saw emptiness. The Lord spoke to me and said, “My son, when you put your identity in anything other than me, you tarnish!”
I jumped back cause I knew I had heard from The Lord. As I kept polishing, that buckle got brighter and brighter and shined like it ain't never shined before and The Lord spoke to me again and He said, “My son, when you put your identity in me then I polish you up and make you shine.”
Right there, I made my mind up to quit riding bulls. Because the truth be known, I didn't want to ride anymore but I put who I was in the approval of my family, friends and fans. I was carrying a load I could not handle.
I know who I am. I am a child of God and He is my father and He is the greatest Father in the world. And I have so much freedom in Him knowing that I can just be me. He’s real, He’s alive and He just wants a relationship with you; not just Sunday and weekly visits, but in every part of your life, daily! You will never know who you are until you come to know God as father. God is what He is, but Father is who He is!
Even an NFR win comes up feeling empty
without a strong relationship with God
3x NFR Qualifier
2005 World Champion