Sunday, March 6, 2011

Matt Roloff on Campus in North Portland

I mentioned in my last post that Matt had a local speaking engagement. So I thought I would tell you how that evening went. Other than a few times before, Matt’s speaking engagements have primarily been out of state, and mostly on the east coast, so up until now I never had an opportunity to hear him speak and I asked if I could come along. And by the way, I want to drive.

The plan was that I would pick Matt up first and we’d get one of Matt's Roloff Farm assistants on the way. It was dark and crazy wet outside, the rain was coming down in buckets, no joke. It was the kind of rain that windshield wipers have a hard time keeping up with. Matt's assistant had some printed directions and we headed off. We didn’t have a problem on the big wide highways, but when we got off in North Portland and were driving down the narrower, more congested side streets and the tail lights and head lights were glaring in the rain, the signs became harder to read we began to think we had gone too far. “Lets turn around and head back”, Matt said, “we must have passed it”.  But I really wasn’t so sure and I had a feeling that we might go around in circles all night so, even though I have gotten into trouble for ignoring ‘her’ in the past, I decided to pull out my British speaking GPS and see what ‘she’ had to say. After her brain loaded up and she got her satellite bearings, we discovered we hadn’t gone too far, actually we were just a few blocks away. Whew, now we just have to find the right building, that is next to the commons on this big sprawling campus that has lots of different buildings and lots of little parking lots, the GPS was absolutely no help with this at all.

When we got in the building, Matt waited in a side room we settled ourselves comfortably in the auditorium. The room was already in a buzz and students were flowing in. By the time the organizers gathered to the front of the auditorium, it was nearly full, and more students were coming in. The noise level was deafening and very exciting. Megan Brown stepped up to the microphone...almost time...the room became quiet as she introduced Matt and then it exploded to thundering applause as he rolled out on his scooter with a smile on his face, waving to the crowd.

Matt shared many stories from his childhood about growing up different and the struggles he experienced that have shaped him into who he is today. He and I have talked about diversity before so I was very familiar with his viewpoint and the message he focuses toward with his speeches, but to hear him speak of it in a live audience environment was very different then any previous conversation we have ever had. I was struck on how funny he was, how self deprecating and even a little edgy. He had the audiences roaring, and at just the right moments. His timing was incredible. I remember thinking, ‘Wow, this guy has shtick, I wonder if he has ever considered a nightclub act? Does his agent know he has this talent?’  It was hilarious, and I was very impressed at how he wrapped a very important message into a plush ‘comedy night’ blanket of entertainment. I am certain that many of the students who heard Matt that evening will continue to retell his stories over and over and in turn share his message.

Let me just say that NOT listening to the GPS would have been the wiser decision for our trip home that night. Immediately ‘she’ suggested a whole different way back then how we came. ‘What? Go toward St. Johns??? No way! Turn that thing off. I’ve been meaning to hook her up to my computer and update her maps’...But then Matt said “If you get me to St. Johns I can get us home” and so it was decided, on to St. Johns we went. If Matt can get us home from there, and it may be a quicker route out of this pouring wet ridiculous rain, let's roll... Over the bridge and to the right, then take the left and up up up over the big winding mountain we go... Oh My...When Matt turned toward the back and asked his assistant if she was going to be alright, it suddenly dawned on me why she had commented on how nice and big my windows were in my van when she first got in that night. ‘Oh, please don’t get sick in my car’ I thought as I cautiously drove up the mountain, wondering what she had for dinner. When I later looked on the map to see the way we went, I said to myself ‘what a Curly, Mo and Larry moment that was’. But obviously everything turned out fine. It was fun actually and quite serene, because once we ascended out of the fog (chuckle chuckle) the snow we encountered was so very beautiful (bigger chuckle). No real worries, I’m a very good driver and I got everyone home safe and sound. But I did plug in my GPS and downloaded her updates the very next day. Finally!

NOTE: Matt wants to thank Bethany Sills, Megan Brown & Stephanie Rodriguez from University of Portland’s Multicultural Department for inviting him to speak during Diversity Dialog Week.

Below is a link to the article about Matt’s speech written by Amanda Blas from the University’s Newspaper, the Beacon.

For more about Matt Roloff Speaking:


  1. Love reading what everyone's up to. Congrats to AMY I have seen a more recent pic of her and she has really kept up with her exercise program she looks great. Her new hair color makes her look so different. Had a hard time finding the most recent video at you tube..wish they were in order of most recent. Nice update!

  2. Hey Matt, There's a whole group of us down here that want to hear you speak. Are ya going to be in Phoenix anytime soon?

  3. My name is Naomi, I was at the speech on Monday night. Thank you so much for coming. It was fun meeting Matt. He really got us all thinking.

  4. Sounds like you had a little adventure. Like hearing whats going on with you Matt, keep up the good work.

  5. Love hearing what you are up to. You need to get back on TV. Monday nights are not the same with out you and your family.

  6. Landon said it. TLC should have their head examined! This night would have been fun to watch. How's the dirt business going Matt?


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