Frater Nuge, a true outdoorsman!
Frater Matt "Nuge" Kurtz joined our Mu Nu Chapter with the spring 2007 pledge class. He graduated in December 2010 with a degree in Criminal Justice Forensic Investigation and double minors in Psychology and Sociology. Originally from Osceola, Matt moved to Rangely, CO after graduation to attend the Federal Law Enforcement Academy for the National Park Service. He spent 2 years as an LE Park Ranger and now lives in Rush City, Minnesota where he took a position with a Federated Co-ops in fall of 2012. Matt started with counter sales and as an applicator. He worked his way up to sales agronomist and is now the overall location manager, which he took over in 2014. Matt has been in Rush City for 2 years, where he lives with his wife Emily and three dogs(2 border collies and a redbone coonhound). Frater Matt and Emily were married in October 2018. If you have met Nuge, then you know he loves the outdoors! Matt helps his grandfather with the 100 head Black Angus beef farm and builds custom fishing rods and musky baits. He still hunts and fishes as much as time allows.
Frater Matt and Emily's three dogs
How did you meet your wife Emily? Could you tell us more about your time as a Park Ranger in North Dakota?
Emily and I actually met initially on eHarmony. There aren't many women in the small Northern Minnesota town where I live and I have a pretty hefty work schedule that keeps me from socializing. We went on our first date and hit it off, so we started seeing each other after that. Since she was more of a city girl, I introduced her to all kinds of outdoor activities. I brought her to Platteville and TKE banquet one fall semester. She had a blast and I knew that I had to keep her around.
There is a new Kurtz in the family!
On my time in North Dakota, I was a National Park Ranger, wild land firefighter and an EMT. I was mainly stationed in Stanton, ND at Knife River Indian Villages Historical Site and would work in Theodore Roosevelt National Park where I was a sawyer (ran chainsaw). While doing this, I had the opportunity to fight wildfires in almost every state west of the Mississippi, but the main states I was mostly in were Colorado, Montana, California and both of the Dakotas. Also, I did many prescribed burns to prevent wildfires and stimulate fresh vegetation in many areas.
Your job based in North Dakota sounds like a great fit for you! Did you ever have any run-ins with wildlife out there?
Oh yeah, I had plenty of run-ins with buffalo in Teddy Roosevelt and a few Grizzly run-ins when I was in Montana.
Do you still get out to the UFFDA Hunt in the fall? That was a great experience! Can you give us some background on how you got involved with that group?
Yes, my dad and I are still involved with the UFFDA hunt in Rhinelander. It all started when my dad shot a bear that tied the state record for bow kill. He was accepting an award at the Wisconsin Bowhunter's Association and met Dan Hendricks, who started UFFDA. They struck up a conversation and he invited us out to come help that fall in 2002. We have been doing it ever since. I still have a lot of great memories and love for the Fraternity and all the guys that came to volunteer at the event. I'll never forget how nervous I was to event bring it up that first fall as an active because I didn't think anyone would want to travel that far. As you know, the chapter rallied around the cause to help UFFDA and all the hunters. UFFDA stands for the United Foundation for Disabled Archers. I still get asked by many of the hunters how the Teke guys are doing and many ask about specific guys even if they were only there once to volunteer. It just goes to show the impact that helping someone can have. All these years later, they still remember the Frater that guided them or simply sat with them at a meal and talked.
I remember playing Beirut against your dad in the TKE basement when he was in town visiting. I know he had a great time. Did he ever make any more visits when you were in school? What was his impression of the chapter?
Haha, yep he sure did. My parents came down at least once a year to visit and he always played beruit. Both my parents were very skeptical of me joining a fraternity until they came down and met the guys. They were pretty impressed, especially after the chapter's involvement with UFFDA. To this day, they still ask how the guys are doing. Also on that note, I hosted an ice fishing weekend this past February for anyone that wanted to come up to Rush City. Tonto, Rocky, Junior and Bunny came up to fish with my dad and I. It was a great reunion and I am looking forward to making it an annual event open to everyone.
When you were in school, what was your favorite part of being a Teke? Did you ever live in the TKE house?
I would have to say that my favorite part was the brotherhood. There were always guys around to hang out with or help. Overall, it was just the sense of belonging and acceptance. I did actually live in the house for 3.5 years and I loved every minute of it.
The Sweetheart song at Matt and Emily's wedding
What is the exact story behind your nickname?
It mainly came about from how I was always wearing camo and talking about hunting and fishing. Plus, I play guitar so it all kind of fell into place from those things.
Nuge fishin' in his TKE shirt!
- Muskie or northern? Both
- Bow or gun? Bow
- White or wheat? White
- Text or call? Text
- Tent or RV? Tent
- Rollercoaster or waterpark? Rollercoaster