story by Ruth Nicolaus A phone call in December 2020 changed Whitley Sharp and her husband’s lives. The Idaho Cowboys Association barrel racer called the […]
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Meet the Member Matt Nauman
story by Ruth Nicolaus
Matt Nauman has been a part of the Idaho Cowboys Association for two-thirds of his life.
The New Plymouth, Idaho man who is 34 years old, became a member at age twelve, and has been a member nearly every year since then.
He ropes calves and serves as the director for that event. He occasionally team ropes and used to steer wrestle.
He has also competed in the NPRA, Pro West, and the PRCA, but as a family man with a herd of cows and other commitments, rodeo takes a seat behind them. “Everything gets busy and my priorities have changed. Being gone that much (to rodeo) isn’t something I care to do anymore.”
Matt attended college at Southeastern Oklahoma State in Weatherford, and he enjoyed his time in the Sooner State. “I met good people and got to rope a ton,” he remembers. I got around tough competition, and I feel like that played a huge role in progressing my roping.”
He graduated with an accounting degree and got a job in the field. But it wasn’t a perfect fit. Having a steady income was good, but when his grandma Nona Nauman’s cattle herd was to be dispersed, he and his wife Lacey bought the herd. Matt quit his desk job and headed back to the ranch.
The original set of cows from Nona were Charolais cross with some Simmental blood, and she has books on the cows going back six or eight generations. Matt has added black Angus, making the herd nearly all black now. But he still has about two cows left from his grandma’s original set.
He loves being able to ranch for a living. “A bad day outside beats a good day in the office, anytime,” he said. It’s also good for his and Lacey’s three kids. “I get to spend more time with them, than I would going into an office every day.”
In addition to ranching, he serves as the assistant rodeo coach at Treasure Valley Community College in Ontario, Oregon, alongside head coach Drew Pearson. He loves working with the college kids. “Typically, they want to be there, they know what they’re doing, and they want to get better,” he said. “I feel like I can lend my experience, what I’ve been through, mental preparation, different setups, scores and cattle, and what they can do to be successful.” For several years, Treasure Valley has taken men’s and women’s teams to the College National Finals Rodeo.
As a director for the ICA, he’s realistic about his job, which he has held for about seven years. As a director, “I try not to make anybody mad, but that’s a losing battle,” he laughed. “I just hope to do my part to help the association to continue to grow and do well.”
In his spare time, Matt plays city league basketball with four of his wife’s five brothers, and plays with his kids, too: Klayten, age six, and daughters Kinlee, age three, and Kolbee, nine months. Klayten played t-ball this summer, so he and Matt often play baseball at the house, and basketball is soon to be added: Klayten wants to play that as well.
Matt has qualified for the ICA Finals every year since he graduated from college in 2009, and three years prior to going to college. He’s won the average in both the ICA and the NPRA.