Florida Roots: Colton Matthews’ past, present, and future in ag

THOMAS EDISON — the inventor of the light bulb, among many other important things — once said, “The three great essentials to achieve anything worthwhile are, first, hard work; second, stick-to-itiveness; third, common sense.” Edison’s advice rings true for Colton Matthews, a Lakeland native headed to college at Western Texas College in Snyder, Texas, this fall on a full scholarship, thanks to agriculture and those qualities in Edison’s quoted recipe for success.

First, Colton’s roots are in agriculture, which has helped sharpen his “common sense” quality. “We have about 30 to 40 roping steers at the house that we raise up and sell and get new ones, about 30 to 40 calves, and then we have probably ten head of beef cattle turned out, that we raise,” Matthews explains. The hard work required to keep cattle was put to good use as Matthews also did well in school, earning himself a full scholarship.

Then, there’s the fact that you can’t have roping steers at home and not get your rope out a time or two. Matthews certainly practiced more than occasionally, if his rodeo record is any test. He’s won more than 20 saddles and more than 200 buckles. In 2013, he won Team Roping Heeler and All Around in the Florida High School Rodeo Association (FHSRA); in 2015, he was the State Tie Down and All Around Champion. He hasn’t let his winnings go to his head, however, as evidenced when he recalls the three-day event: “I did terrible at the finals, but I was so far ahead that I won,” he says.

He’s also won more beyond rodeo buckles and saddles. He’s headed to college with a National High School Rodeo Association (NHSRA) merit scholarship worth $500 and a FHSRA scholarship worth $1,500. “I’m going to get into Ag Business,” Matthews maintains, explaining how his uncle and other family members inspired his choices for his future. “That’s what our whole family does, just about; they’re all in agricultural-type jobs. It’s kind of in the family.” Matthews shares how continuing in an ag-focused field will most closely align with his love of the rodeo, adding that Western Texas College’s “Ag Business program is really good.”

Lastly, there’s Matthews’ determination. He spent almost his entire summer on the road at rodeos before heading off to college. First, there was the NHSRA Finals in July. He also shared that he and his family were at the Night Rodeo in Cody, Wyoming, for a few weeks. “I’m roping every night,” he explains. It’s the final piece in Edison’s puzzle of success: stick-to-itiveness. It’s another quality that Matthews has so much of he could fill a 10-gallon hat. “Since I was in sixth grade, I’ve practically lived in the practice arena,” He says. “Get home from school, go straight out there, get back in the house at midnight, then get up and go to school; that’s basically what I did for all the way until I was a senior in high school.”

It’s unclear whether Edison would have envisioned his words applying to rodeo events like roping and cutting, but there’s no doubt that Edison himself would be pleased with the display of common sense, hard work, and determination that have made Colton Matthews’ future so bright.


article by ERIKA ALDRICH

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