Matt Sherwood is in the hunt for a spot at rodeo's big show for the third year in a row. This year he's teamed up with the man he won his 2006 world title with–the incomparable Walt Woodard. He's less than $3,000 out of the number-15 spot with $48,942.50 won so far this year. Brought to you by CSI Saddlepads.
CS: How long have you and Walt been roping together this time?
MS: Since the middle of April at Logandale. We were going to do some schools together to try and make some money, and he's been roping really good. I have $12,000 more won than he does because I roped with Joel Bach all winter. We placed quite a bit, but didn't just do great.
CS: What horses do you have on the road?
MS: I have a horse I call Murphy that I raised and trained, and I have a horse I call Foxy that came form Cody Snow. They're both really sound. I'm still looking for a head horse, though–good ones are hard to find.
CS: You guys really went on a tear last week. What's started clicking?
MS: I don't know why we were able to do so good. My head horse hasn't worked consistently all year since I started riding her, but the week before last I ran six steers and turned five of them. She's really been working good these last few weeks, and that's made a big difference.
CS: If your horse hasn't been working the way you've liked this summer, what have you done to fix that?
MS: When I'm practicing, I try to rope really aggressively. I try to get my swing up early and reach, and if she tries to duck, I hold her in there. In competition, I try to just ride my horse really aggressive. I try to go all the way to the steer. She's worked really good doing that. My percentage has really went up. My catch percentage has been terrible until now.
CS: Did knowing you were having horse trouble affect your mental game?
MS: When you're roping, you need to have a game plan anyway. If you're afraid your horse is going to duck, sticking to SCORE RIDE and ROPE is really important. I try to really ride my horse. I score first, ride my horse and rope last.
CS: How do you manage to rope a lot while traveling?
MS: Both of us thankfully have done this quite a while, and we know people in different areas to let us rope. Last week a friend in Ogden let us rope, we went to Hermiston and roped with Jake Stanley. The problem with old horses it that they know the routine. They may feel like a million bucks in practice, but behind the barrier in the heat of the moment if you come up over the gates with your swing, they're going to duck if they duck by nature. So I've been battling that.
CS: What's been the high point of your year so far?
MS: I'm still looking for it. But if I were to say, last week we did good. We went to four rodeos and placed at all four of them. Walt had zero dollars won when we started out, and we tried to go get the Canadian Finals made, and now we have enough won to make them. The high point is getting to go there. I've never been to the Canadian Finals, and this year they're adding equal money so even better.
CS: Are you in a familiar place at this point of the season?
MS: In all honestly, I feel like Quinn and I were here in the exact same boat. I've made it the last two years. Really, it's the same thing. I have to attack every steer. I try to do the best I can on it. Whether you have $100,000 won or you're trying to make your circuit finals, you have to just do the best on the steer you draw. You can focus on the wrong things. People talk about the mental side of it. One important part is focusing on doing your job on one steer. You can't make up $10,000 on one steer. You have to hope you draw good and hope your partner ropes good.
CS: What's your plan from here on out?
MS: Walt doesn't have enough won to mathematically have a good shot at making the Finals, so we're trying to figure out what we're doing for the fall. He's going home, and I'm finding someone to rope with through the fall. I still don't know who that is yet, but we are discussing it quite a bit trying to figure it out. TRJ