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A Grand Journey

Matt Rudig
February 14, 2017

With a full pack and trekking poles in hand, Matt Rudig wound his way down through dozens of switchbacks with one goal in mind; make it to the bottom of the Grand Canyon to give the Havasupai Tribe the opportunity to vote in the general election.

Rudig lives in Flagstaff Arizona where he works as the county public information officer for Coconino County. “As employees of the county, we are encouraged to participate as election technicians,” stated Rudig. “When I was approached about the opportunity to make the 12-hour hike, it took me three seconds to respond, yes!”

Because the village is extremely remote, polling equipment needed to be flown in by helicopter. Once Rudig arrived by foot, he spent a full day with the people of Havasupai as they cast their votes. “Everybody deserves the right to vote in person, and I was just happy to be a part of that process,” he said.

After the election, he strapped on his boots and began his hike back. A few things were different on the way out: instead of hiking downhill, he now had a 12-hour uphill march, and he was carrying something very valuable on his back, completed ballots.

Rudig graduated from UMD in 2001 with a degree in Political Science and Criminology. His advice to other Bulldogs: keep your options open because you never know what opportunities will come your way.