Matt Grant admits his priorities were not always set correctly growing up.

He did just enough to get by until one fateful day in December, 1991.

Grant, then an 18-year-old steer wrestler and student at Laramie County Community College in Cheyenne, was practicing in the rodeo pen when a steer cut in front of his horse and sent the lot into an end-over-end tumble.

“I was in the middle of it, and it drove my head into the ground,” Grant recalled. “The horse got up and was fine and the steer got up and I just laid there.”

Grant spent five days in a coma at a hospital in Cheyenne and then nearly another two weeks in the intensive care unit.

Short-term and long-term rehabilitation spanned two venues in two states during the course of approximately 60 days. When he was discharged, Grant was told he’d never go back to school and he’d never learn anything again.

“I took that as motivation to return to school that fall,” Grant said. “After I had my accident, it really changed my focus, and I figured out that I need to pay attention and take stuff seriously. I graduated with a degree in economics from the University of Wyoming in 1996.”

More than 15 years later, Grant still spends plenty of his time learning.

The manager of public and government affairs, he is a lobbyist at the state level for Rocky Mountain Power.

When the Legislature is in session, you’ll find him testifying at committee meetings in Cheyenne. When out of session, Grant monitors the state’s list of interim topics and spends weeks preparing for various committee meetings throughout the year.

“He’s a man of integrity and very strong character,” said Mary Lynne Shickich, a long-time colleague of Grant as a lobbyist for the Wyoming Medical Center. “I think he exhibits the values that we talk so strongly about, the Cowboy code of ethics, in Wyoming.”

Grant says he draws from past experiences and learns from past mistakes. Shickich said that’s not only for the benefit of Rocky Mountain Power, but also keeping the best interests of the state in mind as well.

Part of that includes teaching the next generation about the benefits of the energy industry.

Grant, a former assistant director with the Mining Association, spoke at schools about that industry as well. The husband of Susan Geringer Grant and the father of three sons, he’s also a member of the Boys and Girls Club’s Foundation Board, a member of the recently formed March of Dimes board of directors and volunteers as a member of a watchdog program at Summit Elementary School.

“It just makes me feel good inside to volunteer either at a school or other organizations,” Grant said. “I overcame a lot of the things people said I would never be able to do. I used that as motivation to always be a leader.”

Contact sports reporter Eric Schmoldt at eric.schmoldt@trib.com. Follow him on Twitter @ericschmoldt. Check out his blog at trib.com/cowboys

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