Player Profile: Matt Smith
Published: Tuesday, November 20, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, November 20, 2012 08:11
Boots, chaps and cowboy hats… nothing else matters to Matt Smith, a junior in Farm and Ranch Management who has been involved with rodeo events since the age of 4.
Some people can’t even imagine why someone would get on a wild animal and try to ride it.
“I don’t really know what made me start riding bulls. I used to go to work with my dad everyday, and there were cows and calves there, and one day after work he put me on a calf, and it is has stuck ever since,” Smith said.
Smith has been an asset to the UTM rodeo team since he has recovered from his fatal injury. Smith broke his neck his freshman year at a CBR (Championship Bull Riding) event.
“I got pulled down on the bulls head and hit under the chin,” Smith said.
He had to wear a neck brace for eight weeks and he was not able to ride for eight months.
Coach John Luthi knows a good rider when he sees one.
“Matt Smith is a nice young man and he takes care of business. He has really stepped up his game this year. He’s won two out of four rodeos, and in bull riding that’s pretty darn good for bull riding. Matt has always had talent. He has come a long way,” Luthi said.
Since his injury, Smith has had quite the “comeback kid” story. He has won two out of four bull-riding competitions and scored a 76 against Southern Arkansas and a 77 against University of West Alabama.
During UTM’s rodeo last April, Smith was the only cowboy to score any points in the bull-riding event. He had a total of 54 points on the infamous bull, Darth Vader.
To prepare for a hellacious ride on top of a huge four legged beast, Smith that he has to coax himself and relax.
“I just clear my head and visualize riding and making the best ride of my life and just tell myself to relax and react and try not to over think anything,” Smith said.
One of Smith’s favorite moments is being able to go to PBRs (Professional Bull Riders) and CBRs, and ride with the cowboys you see on TV and have the opportunity to hang out with them.
After Smith graduates, his plans are to farm with his father and rodeo for a living. The next time you’ll catch this cowboy in action will be at the 45th Annual UT Martin Rodeo, Apr. 11-13.