LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - During Tuesday's Lufkin Host Lions Club meeting, members surprised veteran rodeo announcer Mike Mathis with the news that he had won committeeman of the year for 2015.
Kirk Mathis, Mike Mathis' son, said while his father's award is a big deal on the Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association, it's more of a reflection and recognition of the great job the Lufkin Host Lion's Club does with its annual Angelina Benefit Rodeo.
"It's well deserved," Kirk said. "He's worked hard and we're real proud of him."
"He's the heartbeat of this rodeo," said Lufkin Host Lions Club President Ben Moore. "I think it's telling of Mike's ability to promote our rodeo and bring enthusiasm."
The award is called the John Justin Standard of the West Award. Each year, more than 500 PRCA rodeo committees are eligible to receive the award, and out of the 500-plus clubs, 100 are selected.
This year marked the first year that Lufkin has been selected as a top 100 PRCA rodeo committee.
"I was shocked, totally shocked," Mike Mathis said. "It's very humbling to be singled out as someone who's a part pf that. So it's truly an amazing honor."
According to Mathis, this award wouldn't be possible without the Lions Club's hard work and the community's support.
"These people are the ones I need to be standing up and applauding," Mike said. "They are the ones who are the backbone of what happens in Lufkin, Texas."
Each of the 100 rodeo committees then selects one committeeman and sends him to Justin. Then Justin sends ballots to all 500-plus PRCA rodeo committees, and each rodeo gets to vote on a committee man of the year.