article by C.J. Aragon, 2010 NIRA Coach-of-the-Year, Odessa College Rodeo Coach As a coach I always get asked what I think students need to be […]
Matt Scruggs is a third generation rodeo cowboy who was taught to rope by his grandpa and role model, Junior Scruggs. “My grandpa was a big role model to me. I grew up around horses and cattle, and I’ve always had a lot of rodeo experience (in the family) to inspire me. One of my favorite memories from growing up is rounding up cows and calves to cut calves and spray for flies.” Matt has been rodeoing in the CSRA for two years, although he has been competing in the sport since he was 16. He competed in team roping for a time, but found his niche in tie down roping, which he has been doing ever since.
Up until recently, Matt roped off of the same horse for 21 years – a bay named Whiskey. When it came time to retire the horse, Matt, now 37, was considering retiring from rodeo himself. Then he bought Drifter. Little did he know that the unbroke two and a half year old he brought home from South Dakota would prove to be such a steady horse. In the winter of 2012, Matt trained Drifter, and took him to his first rodeo the following spring. “I was roping calves off of him only 30 days under saddle,” Matt recalls. “I pushed him really hard and he had no issues. He’s a very seasoned horse – in the last two years I’ve taken him to close to 80 rodeos.”
Matt’s primary job is running his ag. equipment repair business, Scruggs Equipment. “It gives me flexibility,” he said. Matt often takes the summer off from his business to rodeo or train tie down roping horses for clients. In 2012, he went to nearly 50 rodeos, although he didn’t rodeo quite so hard last year. Matt lives outside of Hagerstown, IN. on several acres with his son, Noah. Noah, 11, enjoys riding, and he often runs the chute when his dad practices tie down roping. Matt currently has seven head of horses, as well as several tie down roping calves. “I get along a lot better with animals than I do people,” Matt said with a laugh, which is another reason he enjoys rodeo.
When he’s not working his main job, Matt can almost always be found astride a horse in his arena. In the summer, he gets up early several mornings a week to rope a pen of steers before it gets hot. Matt enjoys hunting coyotes and fishing, but he says, “You can’t go too far away when you have seven head of horses. If I’m not working, then I’m probably in the roping pen or on horseback. I’m not a vacation person – I don’t need sand between my toes. As long as I have a horse between my legs, we’re good.”
As Matt sees the great potential of his horse, Drifter, he is encouraged to pursue rodeoing again at a higher level. “Keeping up with him (Drifter) is the problem,” Matt said. “He picks up on things faster than I can comprehend. I’d like to push and get back to where I was before changing horses. I’ve gone to a lot of IRA rodeos but I’d like to make it to their finals. I always want to improve my roping and I’d like to make it back to the CSRA finals. Drifter has taken me there twice.” To sum it all up, Matt says of his goals for the coming year, “I want to go to as many rodeos as I can and better myself.”
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