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Grinding to Success
Matt Bodenchuk describes himself as a late bloomer.

A three-sport high school athlete, Bodenchuk didn’t focus in on baseball until his junior year when he realized it was the sport he enjoyed most. With limited offers, Bodenchuk and his grandparents came to an open tryout at Colorado Mesa University the summer after high school graduation. 

“CMU intrigued me,” said Bodenchuk. “It’s got the best baseball in the state. I liked the town. I liked the coaching staff. And I essentially walked on.”

But it wasn’t until Bodenchuk’s junior year at CMU that he hit his stride as a shortstop. By the time Bodenchuk was a senior, he was earning All-RMAC and All-American honors and setting all-time CMU career records in RBIs, doubles and total bases.

The major leagues noticed and it appeared Bodenchuk’s career would continue. Then he blew out his elbow. Long recovery complete, he blew out his shoulder while trying out for an independent baseball league.

No longer able to pursue his baseball dreams, Bodenchuk turned to his degree in business marketing and management.

“I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life, but I knew that I ultimately wanted to work for myself,” he said.

Following graduation, Bodenchuk and his then girlfriend Leslie Reed, who played softball at CMU, took a multi-month trip to New Zealand. While traveling, they continued to work on an entrepreneurial idea they’d first hatched at CMU.

Development of their product, the Toker Poker, began in 2010 with a product launch in 2013. The Bodenchuk’s company, Lifted Ltd LLC, now has three employees, in addition to Matt and Leslie, and more than $2 million in annual revenue.

Reflecting on his time at CMU, Bodenchuk draws a parallel between athletics, academics and his current entrepreneurial success.

“It’s all about mindset — which is the same whether you’re going to school or being an athlete,” he said. “You put your head down and grind every day. You have to put in the time and work to make it happen.”


Graduation Year: 2009
Hometown: Boulder, Colorado
Profession: Entrepreneur, Owner of Lifted Ltd LLC
Favorite CMU Professor: Professor of Business Tim Hatten, PhD
Most Memorable Book: With three young kids, The Cat in the Hat
Favorite Place Visited: New Zealand
Life Motto: Be a good person, do the right thing and treat people the way you want to be treated
Hobbies: Children and family, skiing, hiking, camping, hunting, anything outdoorsy, backyard barbecues with family and friends, and CU and Broncos football
Accomplishments: Getting married and having kids, building the business, buying a home


Written by Kristen Lummis