Mayo Clinic rheumatologist Dr. Eric Mattesonrode off into retirement this spring.

No, really — Dr. Matteson literally ended his career riding out of downtown Rochester on a horse. Colleague Dan Schafferorganized the event, including support from the local police department. Another co-worker, Lexie Davis, supplied the horses from her family’s farm.

The horses had parade experience, "so they were very calm. I was very excited," Matteson said. As part of the festivities, his wife, Herta,graciously posed on a horse for photographs. "She doesn’t really care for horses," Matteson said.

Matteson grew up on a Nebraska farm, riding the horses owned by neighbor farmers. As an undergraduate at the University of Nebraska, he earned a scholarship to study in Germany, where he met his wife. Matteson remained in Germany for medical school. In 1988, he and Herta came to Rochester, where he joined the rheumatology faculty at Mayo Clinic.

"Through my maternal grandmother, I am related to Jimmy Baker, who was a premier rider in the Buffalo Bill’s Wild West and Congress of Rough Riders around the turn of the last century," Matteson said. "I knew I would never have a career on a horse, but some years ago I got the crazy idea I could end it on a horse."

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Retirement finds Dr. Matteson and Herta back in Germany spending time with family and friends. They will then head to Christchurch, New Zealand, with plans to return to Rochester in the spring of 2019. While Matteson doesn’t have any specific horse activities on the calendar, he hopes to add them to future adventures.

Living in the mom-ent

Rochester native Becky Montpetit, owner of the Rochester MN Moms Blog (one of 81 "sister sites" under the umbrella of the City Moms Blog network), works daily to balance both motherhood and her mom-centric business.

Whether Becky is working before her family awakens, during naptime, or spending time at Collider Coworking (shared office space downtown), she is building a strong community for Rochester mothers.

Becky’s personal goals reflect her passion for both motherhood and her hometown.

"I want to help women build their networks … to provide opportunities for moms to come alongside moms in their varied motherhood journeys," she said.

While pregnant with her second child, a college friend (who also owns the Twin Cities Moms Blog site) encouraged her to launch the business. In October 2015, seven weeks before her son was born, the site went live.

Describing the objectives for the blog, Montpetit shared that they were threefold:

"Consistency (so our readers knew we were in it for the long run), accuracy (there’s nothing worse than going to a resource site and finding out-of-date information!), and relevancy (whatever we’re publishing better be helpful and relatable)."

With a leadership staff of six and a team of 28 volunteer writers, the blog posts new content six days per week. The online resources are vast. A member of the writing team may share a birth story or advice about sending a child off to college; other posts are more resource-based and provide guidance from selecting a local preschool to great day trips in the area to tips for those relocating to Rochester.

In the two-plus years of existence, the site has grown beyond "just" an online community. In addition to the blog itself, there is an online discussion community where moms can exchange ideas and support one another. Once a strong following had been achieved, Montpetit began organizing and facilitating "live" opportunities for mothers, including coffee hours, play dates, and a full-morning event with vendors and speakers devoted to new and expectant moms.

"My heart swells when I see our readers gather together," Becky said.

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