The Neff Bro.’s Golden Ticket

Texas brothers, Stanley and Matthew Neff have both earned a coveted WSTR Heartland Finale Championship title.
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Texas brothers, Stanley and Matthew Neff have both earned a coveted WSTR Heartland Finale Championship title.

The Neff brothers have found their golden ticket to the WSTR Heartland Finales. In 2014, Matthew Neff won the #10 Heartland Finale with Rene Cervantes, and in 2015, Stanley won the #12 Heartland Finale with Nick Abbott. At those two ropings alone, they brought $39,860 back to the family’s Colorado City, Texas, ranch.

Credit: Courtesy Sally Neff

Credit: Courtesy Sally Neff

“Learning to team rope has been like everything else in life. It takes a lot of time, dedication and try,” Stanley said. He and younger brother Matthew began team roping just four years ago.

The brothers have a ten-year age difference. Stanley has memories of growing up on a ranch split between Los Alamos, New Mexico, called La Voca, where they wintered and shipped their yearling cattle; and Dickens, Texas, where the family farmed dry land cotton and wintered cattle. When Stanley was about 6 years old, and his sister, Nicole, was about 3, their parents, Mickey and Sally, broke away from ranching to capitalize on the growing oil and gas industry in West Texas. The Neffs moved to Colorado City, where Matthew was born shortly after; and they built up their oil field service company, Holly Well Service, named for Mickey’s sister.

Mr. Neff expanded the company, making it one of the largest service companies in West Texas, until he sold it in 2012. Mickey and Sally returned to their ranching roots shortly after, and now own property in both Colorado City and Gail, Texas, for a combined 7,000 acres, where they run anywhere from 1,000-1,700 head of yearling cattle.

STANLEY NEFF
Despite spending his younger years on the ranch, Stanley had yet to take an interest in roping. Instead, he filled his afternoons with golf, and made the varsity golf team all four years in high school. Stan opted out of playing golf while he attended South Plains College, where he received his associate degree. He went on to study Ag Business at Texas Tech in Lubbock, before returning to Colorado City where he followed in his dad’s entrepreneurial footsteps, and built up his own company, Stan’s Well Service, which he sold last fall.

“Team roping is a pretty expensive hobby, so once I had my business going, it made it a lot easier. Matt actually started roping three or four months before me, and he is the one that really encouraged me to start,” Stan said.

Stan is currently engaged to Mandy Smith, and they are set to marry next May.

MATTHEW NEFF
Like his brother, Matthew also played golf all four years in high school, as well as playing football for his first two years. His junior year he traded his helmet for a cowboy hat and began roping, at the age of 17. From there, he went on to Western Texas College in Snyder, where he competed in the Southwest College Rodeo Region for two years before transferring to Texas Tech in Lubbock. Matthew has one more year of college rodeo eligibility, and will graduate in December with a Bachelor Degree of Ag Science.

“I have really liked going to the college rodeos,” Matthew said. “You get to see everybody and connect with people from different schools, which is something you don’t normally get to do if you just go to a team roping.”

Now days, the brothers are closer than ever, but Stan couldn’t help but laugh when asked if the two fought as children.

“Oh yeah. We fought all the time as kids, we didn’t really start getting along until Matt graduated high school,” Stanley said. “I remember one time he was bugging me to drive the golf cart around the ranch, so I told him to go ahead and go get in it. Sure enough he went and t-boned a tree. I got to meet my dad’s Tony Lama that day.”

As children, Matthew admits he may have been at fault for a few of the times his older brother got in trouble.

“I blamed him for everything, and he always had to take the brunt for anything that went bad.”

Get to Know: Stanley Neff

What is your rope of choice?
The Classic Heat (Soft)

What is your favorite movie?
Blazing Saddles has to be my all-time favorite. Step Brothers also comes to mind though, that’s a pretty good one.

What is your biggest fear?
Spiders. I don’t like them at all, but I also really fear accidentally drinking out of someone’s spit cup.

What song are you most likely to sing karaoke to?
Vanilla Ice: Ice, Ice Baby

What is your favorite professional sports team?
I’m going to have to stick with my (Dallas) Cowboys.

What is your favorite vacation spot?
Telluride, Colo. Especially in the winter.

Get to Know: Matthew Neff

What is your rope of choice?
I filled my PRCA permit with a rope made by Sutton Ropes. It’s a prototype and doesn’t have a name yet, but it is similar to a GT4.

What is your favorite movie?
The Shootist. (Starring John Wayne)

What is your biggest fear?
Not reaching my goals or failing to reach my own standards.

What song are you most likely to sing karaoke to?
Sir Mix A Lot: Baby Got Back

What is your favorite professional sports team?
Either the Rangers or the Cowboys.

What is your favorite vacation spot?
I love going to New Mexico, where La Voca used to be. It is in the mountains, we got to go a lot as kids, and it is truly something special.