During the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas, the “She’s Gone Country” radio show, hosted by Becky and Vicki Christensen, was broadcast from the Cowboy Marketplace gift exposition at the Mandalay Bay. T he Dec. 11 show featured military rodeo and included an interview with retired Camp Pendleton Marine and current Menifee resident Lynn Mattocks, who spoke about the Manzanita Ranch program for veterans’ rehabilitation.
“I think it’s great to get the word out,” Mattocks said.
Mattocks has worked with Manzanita Ranch for approximately six years.
“It’s just a program that works great not only for veterans but for veterans’ families,” he said. “You can’t believe the good. It makes a whole new person out of you.”
Manzanita Ranch is located by the Pacific Coast Trail in Anza, although the mailing address is in Temecula.
“It gives us great riding. People just get so excited over it. It’s helped kids raised their grades in school,” he said.
The program includes equestrian riding and care instruction.
“We teach them everything about the horse,” Mattocks said.
Manzanita Ranch is able to accommodate the disabilities of veterans to allow them to ride.
“Some of them lost part of their limbs,” Mattocks said. “Some of them have PTSD.”
Post-traumatic stress disorder also can affect a veteran’s family, as well as the veterans themselves.
Mattocks is also on the board of directors for the Sergeant Reckless memorial, and he mentioned Sergeant Reckless on the “She’s Gone Country” show. Sergeant Reckless was a mare who served the Marine Corps in the Korean War, continued her active duty service at Camp Pendleton after the Korean conflict and remained at Camp Pendleton after she was retired from military duties. In 2013, a statue of Sergeant Reckless was dedicated at the National Museum of the Marine Corps in Quantico, Virginia, and the success of a fundraising effort allowed for a statue at Camp Pendleton and for a memorial marker at her Camp Pendleton grave to be dedicated in October 2016. Mattocks worked with Sergeant Reckless when they were both at Camp Pendleton and often took the mare to parades and other events.
“She was so good,” Mattocks said. “She had the ‘can do, will do’ attitude. I used that.”
Mattocks spent 30 years in the Marine Corps, including six years in the reserves as well as 24 years active duty. He was in the Marines from 1955 to 1979 and retired from the Marine Corps as a master sergeant. Mattocks spent approximately 12 years of his career stationed at Camp Pendleton. He lived in Oceanside before moving to Murrieta in 1975 and has lived in Menifee since 1981.
Mattocks noted that the Marines’ “can do” attitude applies in rodeo.
“In my mind I knew I could ride that bull or that horse,” he said.
Mattocks attended high school in Grenola, Kansas. He began competing in amateur rodeos in 1952 and joined the Rodeo Cowboys Association, which is now the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, in 1954. Mattocks rode both bulls and broncs, although he gave up saddle bronc riding in 1970 and bareback riding in 1973. He continued as a bull riding competitor until 1982. Mattocks participated in the Rancho California Rodeo which took place Nov. 15-16, 1969, and was the first Rodeo Cowboys Association rodeo held in Temecula.
Mattocks has been to every National Finals Rodeo performance since NFR moved to Las Vegas in 1985. He turned 50 in 1985 and received his PRCA gold card.
“Rodeo people, I have found through the years, are always there to help,” Mattocks said.
Although he never won the Military Rodeo Cowboys Association’s All-Around championship, Mattocks won the MRCA’s Bareback Riding championship five times, the Saddle Bronc Riding championship three times and the Bull Riding championship twice. He also won a Wild Horse Race competition twice.
“I would have done a lot better if they hadn’t kept sending me overseas,” he said.
Mattocks spent three years in Vietnam and was wounded four times. While he was in Vietnam, he once mounted himself on top of a water buffalo which bucked Mattocks off into a rice paddy.
“I did not win the Water Buffalo Riding,” Mattocks said.
Mattocks was involved in combat counterintelligence while in the Marines.
“I had a good job in the Marine Corps,” he said.
Mattocks continues to participate in community activities. He is on the Rancho California Trails Committee and helped plan the Wine Country Trails Network.
“You don’t stop,” Mattocks said. “When you’re out of the military, you give 110 percent.”