CSI Elite Team Matt Sherwood’s 2018 Preparations

Sherwood talks mental game and advice for upcomers.
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Arizona’s Matt Sherwood is teamed up with Walt Woodard. Sherwood and Woodard have won RodeoHouston and the Southwestern Exposition and Livestock Show in Fort Worth, Texas. He is currently sitting in the top 30 of the PRCA World Standings with $13,865.71 with hopes winning a few more rodeos before the winter rodeos come to an end. Sherwood has won two World titles and is in search for what could be his sixth trip to the Thomas & Mack come December. 

Kaitlin Gustave: How would you say your year has been so far?

Matt Sherwood: It always feels like we could do better. We won (Rodeo) Houston and we won Fort Worth (Southwestern Exposition and Livestock Show) which are two of the biggest rodeos in the winter, so that was really amazing to us to do good at those two rodeos. The winter time is also so big--all the rodeos are so big and pays so good to come out of there winning with $13,000 isn’t terrible but there’s guys with $40,000 or $50,000 won. To me the goal is to come out of winter with $30,000. We’ve had two great wins and that is great but we’re kind of disappointed with our earnings in the PRCA standings right now. 

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KG: What goals have you set for yourself this year?

MS: Our goal is to get to the WNFR. We feel like we are a top five team so we feel like we need to go into the WNFR with the top 10 guys and feel like that’s reasonable. We both have good horses and we’re both roping good so that’s what we’re set for now. Then once we get to the WNFR we’ll change our goals and then have goals to do good there.

KG: Are you and Walt (Woodard) traveling together?

MS: Well, we’re roping together and we’ll probably travel some together this summer once we get busy and things are going, but right now, no we’re not traveling together. He’s in Texas right now and I’m in Arizona, so there isn’t a way to travel together right now. 

KG: What makes your partnership work so well?

MS: We’re both don’t have other things going on when we’re rodeoing—we don’t go out at night and things like that. We both enjoy roping and we enjoy doing good so that’s what we focus on. We’re both kind of in the same spot in life so that really helps us get along and helps us do good together. 

KG: Is there anything that you have been really working on with your roping?

MS: When I first started rodeoing I practiced aggressive and roped aggressive and lately I’ve been working on my horse running to every steer. Here in the last little bit I’ve been back to trying to rope a little bit more aggressive and and roping aggressive and making a more aggressive practice runs, and being fast. Unless you have a situation where you have to be fast then you've been working on that and not just catching. 

KG: What horses do you have on the road with you?

MS: I have a horse that I call Murphy that I pretty much raised and trained. It’s the only horse that I’ve been riding for the last year. I have another mare that I ride that’s good.

KG: What do you do to keep your horses sound and healthy on the road?

MS: I try to keep them in really good shape. I turn them out a lot if I can find somewhere to turn them out and keep them fed good. I really try to ride them a lot and keep them in really good shape. I feel like just like people, they’re an athlete and they need to stay in good shape. So far she’s sound and everything has worked out good. 

KG: What do you do to work on your mental game?

MS: One of my favorite mental books to read is called Mind Gym and it talks a lot about the mental training for athletes—I enjoy that. I’ve found that if I’m doing other stuff and not riding my horses or roping the dummy then it’s harder to stay sharp mentally because you know you're not as sharp as you can be with your roping. I think it’s a lot easier to have a strong mental game when your roping game is up to par.

KG: What is something that you could tell your younger self about rodeoing that you know now?

MS: My advice to younger people would either have a good time or rodeo. Don’t rodeo so you can go out and have a good time every night. You see so many guys that come out on the scene and they rope good, but every night they go out and they stay out late. Focus on your roping. If you want to rope for a living, rope. A guy told me at Houston this year that when he was younger that he wished he would have focused more on his roping as he does now. All the time he went out and partied he wished he would have worked on his roping and made sure his horses were taken care of. My advice would be get where you rope good. If you rodeo it doesn't mean you can’t enjoy life. Don’t spend all of your time rodeoing and wasting your time and not being as prepared as you could be.