Gritty Approach for Bobcats Translates to Business for Rider

Posted by Employer Flexible on July 19, 2022
Employer Flexible

Employer Flexible opened their first office in the state Montana earlier this year.

We are excited to help companies based in Montana reach their full potential by assisting with all of their HR needs. Below is an article we shared recently about one of our our team members in Montana - Mikey Rider. You can find more about the Montana team here.


It has been more than a decade since Mikey Rider worked his way from walk-on at Montana State to a defensive captain spot where his game-ending interception in the 2010 “Brawl of the Wild” preserved the Bobcats 21-16 win over Montana and share of the Big Sky Conference football title.

That dramatic goal line interception in the 110th meeting in the rowdy Cat-Griz rivalry was the culmination of five years of perseverance and perspiration as an undersized Rider clawed his way from redshirt walk-on in 2006 to special team standout in 2007 and 2008 to free safety starter making the defensive play of the season in 2009 to earning his teammates vote as captain in 2010.

Rider, who later returned to his alma mater as an assistant coach for four seasons, now shares the lessons he learned on the football field in Bozeman with his clients in the Big Sky and Gallatin Valley business community.

He understands that success rarely comes overnight for any business and that it takes a combination of hard work, grit and a “chip on the shoulder” attitude to navigate in today’s tough economic climate.

Rider learned his love of all things football and the amazing possibilities of the Big Sky area from his father, Craig Rider.

Craig was a standout athlete growing up in Colorado, going 23-0 to win a state wrestling title, and earning a scholarship to the University of Texas as a star running back.

A season-ending knee injury on Craig’s first day of practice his freshman year cut short his running back days, but in true Rider-family fashion, he rolled up his sleeves and found a way to contribute, transitioning to the offensive line.

The hard work paid off as Craig (at just 6-1, 250 pounds) became a three-year starter, helping pave the way in 1977 for Earl Campbell to win the Heisman Trophy and lead the nation in rushing, and finishing his senior season in 1979 as a team captain.

Craig went on to help coach UT for a season before landing a gig in Fort Collins as a Colorado State assistant coach for eight seasons.

The Rider saga then shifted 500 miles north as Craig and his wife Christy decided to move their family, with three young children including Mikey, to Montana.

When it wasn’t football season, Mikey and his family would head off for outdoor pursuits in Big Sky, skiing the incredible terrain that would later become the biggest skiing in America.

Back in Billings, Mikey was following in his father’s footsteps, qualifying for State in wrestling and helping Billings West to a 13-0 record and State football title his senior year.

Rider showed his penchant for clutch performances with an MVP award in the high school 2006 Shrine Game, but he would need a dose of grit and determination before he could prove himself on the field at Montana State.

By his fourth season, Rider worked his way into a starting safety role, and he came up with the defensive play of 2009 with his one-on-one tackle of Weber State running back Trevyn Smith on the 1-yard line with less than 30 seconds left and the Bobcats nursing a 26-21 lead.

And on the very next play, Rider and teammates ganged up to stop the Wildcats on their fourth down attempt to seal the victory.

While Rider no longer wears a football helmet or dons shoulder pads, he still proudly carries his #walkon mentality with him.

“My football career has ended but what hasn’t ended is my love for Montana, my love for the Big Sky and entire Gallatin Valley community, and a daily desire to still be gritty and help wherever I can,” says Rider.

Rider’s team effort today comes under the Employer Flexible banner where he helps local businesses increase their capacity to succeed. Rider and Employer Flexible can provide MT businesses with a blueprint that includes a comprehensive HR plan crafted to each organization’s unique needs, and a technology platform that increases the capacity of the entire organization. Services include:

  • HR Services
  • Employee Benefits
  • Payroll Management
  • Risk Management
  • HR Technology

Outsourcing to a PEO like Employer Flexible can give small and medium size businesses peace of mind in uncertain times.

And it does not hurt to have Mikey Rider on your team watching your back. Go Cats!

Topics: HR, Leadership