Matt Cover sits behind a horse during the week, working cattle and fixing fences on his family’s ranch near Ashby, Nebraska. Ashby is a small town in Grant County, the heart of the Nebraska sandhills. Matt is proud to be the sixth generation to care for and work this land with Mom and Dad, his twin brother Jeff and older brother Chris. He is also proud of his involvement with the rodeo.

“My ancestors came to the sandhills in the early 1890s. I spent much of my childhood with my brothers using horses and working cattle, and on the weekends in the summer there was always a bull to ride in a small-town rodeo,” says Cover.

A rodeo fits well into ranch life. It centers on hard work and developing life-long skills in leadership, teamwork and it strengthens your self-confidence. “As a rodeo competitor and cowboy, it has allowed me to give back to my community,” he says.

Visit rodeosusa.com and search for the 2018 Nebraska rodeo schedule.

Matt also is the president of the Grant County Farm Bureau and has looked for ways that Farm Bureau can give back to his community. When Nebraska Farm Bureau sponsored the Nebraska High School Rodeo a few years back, he found the perfect partnership and had Grant County Farm Bureau sponsor the bull riding competition.

“Rodeo started out as a little weekend competition on the ranch, roping and riding with the other ranch hands, to pass the time. A small-town rodeo is great for our local economy and it’s great to see new faces in the crowd of spectators. I encourage anyone to attend a small-town rodeo this summer,” Cover says.

If you just want to unplug and experience the open spaces, the serenity, the calm of small communities, take a weekend get-away out of the big city and go to a small town and check out the rodeo. It will introduce you to a rural way of life that may draw you in for life.