Blake Christian Mattson

By Gretchen Eichenberg

Festival on the Brazos Ambassador 2024

Blake Christian Mattson will serve as Ambassador at the 54th annual Festival on the Brazos set for Friday, April 26, 2024, at University High School’s Performing Arts Center. A lifelong Wacoan, who is all about family and community, Mattson looks forward to representing his city throughout the festival weekend.

“I am so excited to share with others what this city means to me and my family,” Mattson said. “The Festival on the Brazos is a celebration of so much that is good about this town, and I hope to honor it by representing the Festival as this year’s Ambassador.”

Mattson and his wife, Shanna, have been involved in Festival on the Brazos in many ways over the decades, hosting dinner parties and luncheons, serving as sponsors to out-of-town guests and even dancing in the historical scenes when they were a young married couple. Shanna Mattson was General Chairman in 2020 and Dress Designer for 2023 and 2022. She also has served as a Festival Corporate Board member.

The couple’s daughter Carlyn Michelle Mattson, 24, was 2018 Maid of Honor and is now working in the lending program at PlainsCapital Bank in Dallas after graduating from SMU’s Cox School of Business. Carlyn is engaged to 2018 Royal Escort Spencer Aaron Davis and the couple will marry in December.

Their son, Courtland Travis Mattson, 19, who is a freshman finance major at Auburn University and also a competitive golfer, was a Royal Attendant in 2014 and Royal Escort in 2023.

Their youngest, Malia Mae Brown Mattson, 12, is a sixth grader at Vanguard College Preparatory School and was a Royal Attendant in 2019.

Born and raised in Waco, Mattson is the son of the late Gary Mattson and Peggy Mattson. He was a graduate of the last class of Richfield High School in 1986. He graduated with a BBA from Baylor University in 1990, double majoring in entrepreneurship and financial services.

While at Baylor, Mattson met his wife, Shanna — at Welcome Week, no less — and they were married in 1992 in Hurst, Texas.

Mattson is a partner in business with his brothers, Brent and Brian, of Mattson Financial Services. The company was founded by Brent and Brian in 1986 and Blake joined in 1994. He earned a Certified Financial Planner designation in 1997. Growing up, Mattson said all of his role models were his family members.

“We were a close-knit family always desiring to achieve and working hard to do so,” Mattson said. “My dad always had a positive attitude and never believed in the word can’t. He could motivate others to use their God-given talents to be the best that they could be.”

Mattson said his brothers have been an inspiration to him.

“They always included me as an equal and not just their little brother,” Mattson said. “We were three brothers that think alike, work alike and strive to succeed alike in anything that we put our minds and efforts into.”

But Mattson said his greatest role model is his mother, who lovingly cared for his little sister — also named Shanna — who was born with Down syndrome.

“Mom took care of her, nurtured her and was with her all the time until the day my sister unfortunately passed away a few years ago,” Mattson said. “They were theoretically attached at the hip it seemed. My mom raised her in a time a Down syndrome child was not as accepted as today.”

Mattson said he believes it is because of his sister, Shanna, that he and his brothers work so well together today.

“She was a calming, sweet, hysterical and loving spirit that was always around us, no matter the situation,” Mattson said. “She was a person full of unconditional love. I miss her. This year we hope to introduce people to some of the children who were born with this condition, as they will be involved in the Festival in special ways.”

Mattson’s family has chosen to honor the Festival on the Brazos Court with donations to the ARC of McLennan County, in memory of his sister, and the Festival on the Brazos Scholarship Fund.

An attitude of servanthood goes a long way, Mattson said, in any volunteer or business situation — thinking of others “way more” than thinking of yourself.

“The greatest example I know of that is my wife, Shanna,” Mattson said. “She tirelessly volunteers and helps others in need with nothing ever expected in return. It is truly mind-boggling how much she does for people and organizations. She inspires me to have an attitude of servanthood in anything I do, though I fail at that often.”

In addition to working with his brothers at Mattson Financial Services, Mattson has coached 25 teams in youth basketball, served on the Board of Directors at Eagle Christian Academy for four years and served as the Board President of the same board. He also volunteered as an adjunct teacher for five years at Eagle Christian Academy in a field that is very important to him.

“I believe all high school students should have a class in Personal Finance and Investments,” Mattson said. “So many people go into the world without basic finance acumen such as saving for retirement, avoiding debt problems, getting approved for a loan/mortgage or negotiation skills. With Adrielle Selke’s help, we created an elective class for this endeavor to make the epiphany I had come true. I can honestly say it was the most rewarding and fun occupation I have ever experienced, and I didn’t get paid for it.”

In addition to these volunteer activities, Mattson said he was “blessed” to teach children’s Sunday School at First Woodway Baptist Church for 12 years and also served as the chairman for the Long Range Planning Committee and the Finance and Budget Committee.

His greatest hobby has been watching his children in their sports and activities.

“I have yet to miss a game, golf tournament, recital or performance,” Mattson said. “I loved coaching all my children’s basketball teams and seeing them excel in a team environment. My greatest joy is watching my kids grow and succeed in whatever they love to do.”

For Mattson, leisure time equals family time, whether traveling, eating at a great restaurant or simply doing a puzzle together.

There is no more enthusiastic spokesperson for Waco, Texas.

“For years and years Waco didn’t seem to change and there was a simple comfort about that,” Mattson said. “Perfectly located in distance from Dallas/Fort Worth and Austin, it has always been a secret. The secret is out for sure.”

Waco has become a destination for many travelers and for many to live a less busy and congested life, Mattson observed.

“With the many historic locations, outdoor opportunities, new businesses and restaurants and Baylor University — home of the Fighting Baylor Bears — Waco has become a hot spot of interest,” Mattson said.

But the greatest thing about Waco, he said, are the people who live here.

“The caring and loving attitude that people genuinely express here is what keeps many here or brings people back,” Mattson said. “I would hope that others in our country will look at Waco as an example of how to do it right. Caring about others over self seems to be a constant theme of our city. It is a wonderful place to live, raise a family and retire.”