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Enjoying the Game of Football and Life: The Matt & Dawn Strand Family

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04/01/2012 - By Gayle Irwine

Nearly 10 years after he first stepped into the role of quarterback for the Wyoming Cavalry, Matt Strand continues to enjoy the game. He also enjoys his family and the life they've created together.

Matt and wife Dawn purchased 12 acres near Edness Kimball Wilkins State Park last year. Along with their two children, Will (age 5) and Alaina (age 3), the family owns four large dogs and a miniature horse. The setting reminds Matt of growing up near Imperial, Nebraska.

"I lived on a family farm, and we were about 25 miles from town," Matt recalls.

Attending Chadron State College and playing football for the school garnered Matt the opportunity to play with the Cavs. He signed on to play quarterback, a role he's relished all these years. Matt moved to Casper in 2002 and met Dawn during his second year on the team.

A month after they married, the couple moved back to Nebraska. However, jobs in the Casper area were easier to come by, so the young family returned after about a year. Football continued to beckon Matt so he re-signed with the Cavs. Football is in his blood, he says.

"I was attracted to the team for the ability to continue to play football. Casper has been very supportive of the team and of myself. It's been nice to play here," Matt says.

Matt says he's changed as a player as he's grown older.

"I've gotten better," Matt says. "I relied more on my ability when I was younger, now I play the game with more mental skill with indoor football, you have to anticipate more. The speed of the game is quicker, and I rely more on my team to make more of the plays.

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"Those hits also hurt more now that I'm older," Matt adds.

Spending nearly 10 years on the field with the Cavs gives Matt pause about his future. Although he's not sure at this point, this may his last season with the team.

"At my kids' age, I'd like to focus more on them and their interests," he says.

"I enjoy my family I am content to go home (after practice and after a game) and hang out with my family," he adds.

The decision is up to Matt. Dawn supports his football frenzy and will support him if he retires after this year.

"My wife has been a great supporter my biggest supporter. She hasn't said 'no' to me playing," Matt says.

In addition to his family and football, Matt works at First Interstate Bank; he has been at the company for about five years. "The core family values make it a good place to work,"

Matt says.

"They are a family-owned business and they are very supportive of family," he states. "I also enjoy the people interaction opportunities. Plus, it's been a very reliable job."

Dawn works in the school district. She served as a middle school English teacher for several years; this year she began working as the school librarian for Centennial Middle School.

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The family enjoys various sports and outdoor activities. Will likes baseball and watching his dad play football. Alaina simply enjoys being outside and playing in dirt and snow.

"We don't want the kids to be so dependent on TV and video games," Matt says.

Bike riding is high on the kids' list of enjoyable activities, as well as playing at various parks and playgrounds. Camping is another activity the family participates in on occasion. That activity would be higher on the priority list if football season didn't extend into summer.

But, for now, the camper will remain parked for part of this summer as Matt straps on his helmet for at least one more season. The team plays 14 games, more if they make the playoffs.

From football to family to employment, the Strands are quite content with their life in the Casper community.

"Casper's been great for us," says Matt.

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