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UW's Mattson preparing for 4th CNFR appearance

Jun. 5—University of Wyoming senior Bodie Mattson approached the spring rodeo season like never before.

In the fall, Mattson completed the required coursework toward a degree in marketing. With an elective-heavy class schedule this spring, Mattson was able put a focus on professional rodeo in addition to his college schedule.

The Sturgis, South Dakota, native said he has between 260-280 rodeos under his belt, including 50-60 per year between the college and professional circuits over the past four seasons.

The UW men's rodeo team led the Central Rocky Mountain Region with 5,355 points to claim an automatic bid to this year's College National Finals Rodeo in Casper. Gillette College claimed second place with 4,365.

"I was a part of it all last year," Mattson said. "I've been in-and-out of practice this season. The team has (continued) to work hard in the weight room and the classroom. (When at practice), we feed off each other.

"When you have the caliber of kids this team has competing every day, it levels everyone up. (Right now), everybody is performing at a high level."

Added UW coach Seth Glause: "(Mattson) supports his team and wants to see the best out of them. He tries to put people in a position (with his leadership) to be successful."

Glause thinks Mattson's ability to perform in both pro and college rodeo simultaneously is unique. Mattson became familiar with Glause during his coaching tenure with Laramie County Community College from 2018-22.

"You don't see students every day that are able to do that," Glause said. "(Mattson) has figured out a way to win and be successful at a high level. (UW's coaching staff) is excited to see where his career goes."

Mattson feels little nerves as he approaches this week's CNFR after qualifying in both team roping and tie-down roping. This year will be his fourth CNFR in as many college seasons.

Mattson has noticed the difference in how rodeos function at the varying levels of the sport. In the professional ranks, there are as many rodeos as an athlete can make it to. In college, there are just ten chances, meaning every run has to be perfect throughout the season.

"The more I competed this year, it started to feel like just another run, and (that) took some stress off," Mattson said.

Mattson finished the year as one of the CRMR's most accomplished athletes, placing second in the men's all-around standings with 1,270 points.

He dominated tie-down roping, placing first with 230 more points (760 total) than the closest competitor. Mattson also mentioned the event being one of the more physically demanding in rodeo.

"I contribute a lot of success to my horse," Mattson said. "(Horses) are very gifted and talented animals. They have to score, haul butt, and then pull rope to make our job easier.

"A tie-down roper still has to be in physical shape. You need speed, strength and whatever else it takes to handle rope (well) and maintain good fundamentals in flanking. It's a lot of work, and you have to be flawless in a lot of areas."

Mattson stays in shape by doing odd jobs such as building fences for his dad. However, he does allocate time to the gym in between rodeo and working.

In tie-down, Mattson rides a 13-year-old male named Bomber. Mattson's family purchased Bomber when he was 2 years old from the Price Family Ranch in Buffalo, South Dakota.

Mattson is also the No. 2-ranked header in team roping after amassing 510 points, despite working with a new partner along the way. He rides an 11-year-old male horse named Pendleton that was raised by his family from birth.

Mattson's team roping partner was originally UW classmate Troupe Coors, but Coors suffered a lower-body injury early in the season. Mattson was forced to find a new partner midway through the campaign.

"Mattson's dedication and willingness to do what it takes to win (is what makes him great)," Glause said. "He's willing to go head-to-head with the top guys, putting himself in position to see where he stacks up compared to the best."

He found a new partner in Casper College sophomore Roan Weil. Mattson acts as the header of the team, which takes away any nerves he may have about working with someone new.

"(Weil) is a great kid," Mattson said. "We've rode in a couple jackpots together, and we're going to practice together this week. Besides that, we don't have a ton of rodeo experience working together.

"It doesn't make me nervous. I'm the quarterback. If I do my job in giving Roan a good look at pulling the steer, it should work out. At the end of the day, my fundamentals and the basic principles of team roping stay the same."

Every rodeo athlete goes into an event with some form of a strategic plan. Once the run begins, any plans can go right out the window, leaving the athlete to rely on pure muscle memory. Mattson believes improvising is one of his strongest suits.

"(Glause) is where I go to make game plans," Mattson said. "He helps take relief off of high-pressure situations. He's a very talented and successful rodeo cowboy. (Glause) has a background in rough stock, but at the end of the day, he was a winner. He has leveled my game up."

No matter how hard someone downplays the magnitude of the CNFR, there isn't anything comparable, Mattson said. The rodeo is a large production, with many moving parts.

"Not a lot of schools get to witness or be a part of it," he added. "There's nothing like it. We've got the whole state and crowd behind us. The man that competes more will be the most prepared.

"As a senior, I'm dang sure a lot more knowledgeable and prepared then I was as a freshman."

Mattson is one of the most competitive people on UW's team, regardless of the task. He credits that trait to his grandfather, John, who is a former Olympic athlete. That side of Mattson's personality showed while playing team sports growing up, such as football and baseball.

"I'm weird. If I'm not good at something, I don't like to do it," Mattson said. "Take golf, for example. I'm terrible at it. Although, I will still put my all into it."

After the CNFR, Mattson will have one year of eligibility remaining with the Cowboys. As of now, he's unsure if he will use that or go full-time on the professional circuit.

For now, his goal after the college season is to do well enough in the world standings to qualify for winter rodeos later in the year. With pro rodeo being a pay-to-play sport, the importance to hit the ground running has never been more important for Mattson.

"My goal is to win the college finals and ride that momentum into bigger and bigger rodeos," Mattson said.

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Austin Edmonds covers Laramie High, University of Wyoming and community athletics for WyoSports. He can be reached at aedmonds@wyosports.net. Follow him on X at @_austinedmonds.