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Meet the Member Mathew Greig
story by Lindsay King
“I am probably more well-known for my spurs than I am for my riding,” said Matt Greig from Slaughter, Louisiana. “Making bits and spurs is something I am really proud of outside of my riding. It keeps me in rodeo even more than I already am. I have built lots of spurs for the up and coming kids, but also for plenty of the top riders in the PRCA.” Though Matt’s spurs get his name out there, he isn’t one to underestimate when he slides his hand into a bareback rigging. Each time he rides, the dreams of the “itty bitty” boy who fell in love with the sport in the 70s come to fruition. “I was raised on the back of a horse on a small cattle ranch in southern Louisiana. I have always been in love with the cowboy way of life, mostly because of the way I was raised.” Though his family wasn’t exactly the “rodeo” kind, Matt and his brother were introduced to it at the Louisiana State University (LSU) PRCA rodeo back in the day.
“I didn’t really get started in rodeo until I was a high school junior, and I didn’t have the funds to bareback ride, so I rode bulls for two years. A couple years later I got on a bareback horse and I knew then it was what I wanted to do.” At Matt’s first rodeo on a bareback horse, he placed third. After that, he couldn’t wait for the next. That feeling has never really gone away. “I married young, so in the early 90s I had a young family and I was still riding bareback horses. I came to the decision to hang it up in ’95 (three years after his daughter was born). It was tough, but I needed to focus on raising my daughter.” Matt was just getting into the groove of rodeo when he made the tough call, it left him with the feeling that he had “unfinished business.”
Twenty years later and Matt was introduced to the NSPRA and “cracked back out” in 2014. “I decided I was going to hit it hard and chase the dream I have always wanted.” He came close that first year when he finished as the NSPRA reserve world champion in the under 40 division. “I just fell in love with the association and the people. I absolutely love it.” He finished 2015 fourth in the world. The next two years Matt took a short break from rodeo. “I came back in 2018 and finished as the reserve champ again. Starting out this season I am only two points off the lead in the world standings. I have a good feeling about this year; I think it is going to be my year to win the world title finally.”
Behind the well-deserved confidence, is the guy who elevated Matt to this point – Tait Cortez. “I came into the NSPRA not having the experience a lot of the guys I am competing against have. Most of them rode in the PRCA back in the day. I didn’t feel good enough to compete with them. Tait encouraged me and pushed me to get out there and just have fun with it.” The perfect complement to Tait’s sage advice and encouragement was Matt’s dedication and foresight to attend a bareback riding school in Wyoming last April. “Larry Sandvick was the coach there and he has been instrumental in getting my riding to the next level. He completely changed my riding and I actually started winning rodeos last summer.” Throughout the 2018 season, Matt only bucked off two horses. That is something he credits to Larry, but it has a lot to do with the hard work he put into it also. “I love every minute of it. I am finally getting to live my dream.”