Wyoming Native ‘Bee Guy’ — Hero Of MLB Game — Gets His Own Bobblehead

Matt Hilton, the pest control technician who grew up in Wyoming and saved an Arizona Diamondbacks game from a swarm of killer bees last month, has been rewarded with a sold-out Topps baseball card and a collector’s edition bobblehead.

Jake Nichols

May 21, 20246 min read

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(Cowboy State Daily Staff)

The Phoenix-based pest control expert who grew up in Wyoming and saved a Major League Baseball game last month from a swarm of angry bees received his due reward Tuesday with a personalized bobblehead.

Matt Hilton has been enjoying his 15 seconds of fame for most of May.

He threw out the first ceremonial pitch at the Arizona Diamondbacks ballgame April 30 after he cleared a two-hour delay by vacuuming up a nasty nest of Africanized honey bees that had taken up residence behind home plate.

In the weeks since, Topps made Hilton his very own baseball card, he’s been interviewed by hundreds of national media outlets and was even offered the opportunity to become a cast member in a high-profile reality TV show.

Now, the former Wyomingite who grew up in Buffalo has his likeness created and kiln-fired by the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museumas a limited-edition bobblehead of “The Bee Guy,” which was unveiled Tuesday.

If Hilton didn’t have a big head before, he has one now.

Call Of Duty

“Things are pretty well back to normal now. It was really crazy for at least the first three days,” Hilton told Cowboy State Daily. “I was getting hundreds of calls from all over the country wanting me to fly here, fly there to appear on talk shows.

“We kind of just purposely stopped feeding oxygen to the fire after a while. Stopped taking calls and requests for interviews. I could have taken it a lot farther. But, look, I love my job, and this stuff was getting in the way.”

As branch manager of Phoenix-based Blue Sky Pest Control, Hilton and company owners saw no real benefit in having their top pest control specialist doing any nationwide publicity. Not when bees are still buzzing in Arizona and mosquitoes are still biting.

“We were going gung-ho with local outlets, but there just wasn’t a return on investment for national stuff. We made the decision to just stop doing those interviews,” Hilton said. “Except for [Cowboy State Daily]. You guys are unique and I am Wyoming proud.”

Hilton left Wyoming for Arizona State University and never looked back. He met his wife, Morgan, there and the couple now has four kids.

It was one of those kids — the Hiltons’ 6-year-old — that dad was watching play T-ball when his pager went off informing him of the emergency at Chase Field on Aug. 30. The D-Backs organization appreciated Hilton’s commitment and has invited the Hilton family and the whole T-ball team to a game next weekend.

“They are setting up the whole team and parents, like 40 of us, with really good seats next Saturday. Plus, we get to watch batting practice beforehand,” Hilton said.

Beekeeper Matt Hilton, left, arrives to Chase Field to remove a colony of bees that formed on the net behind home plate during a delay to the MLB game between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Arizona Diamondbacks on April 30, 2024, in Phoenix, Arizona.
Beekeeper Matt Hilton, left, arrives to Chase Field to remove a colony of bees that formed on the net behind home plate during a delay to the MLB game between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Arizona Diamondbacks on April 30, 2024, in Phoenix, Arizona. (Christian Petersen, Getty Images)

Cashing In On Stardom

The National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum hopes Hilton’s fame extends a little longer. The Matt Hilton Topps card ended up selling a whopping 17,000 units in the first 24 hours it was available. Sales were so brisk, it’s no longer available.

“When I first talked with Topps about that card, I thought, ‘Go ahead, good luck selling anything,’” Hilton recalled. “What I didn’t realize at the time was niche trading cards like this are a hot item. Some people like to collect all these kinds of specialty cards.”

“I should have asked for a little more money,” added the 37-year-old bug guy.

Hilton didn’t disclose the one-time payout from Topps to use his likeness on a baseball card, but said the bobblehead people offered him a percentage of sales.

“They just reached out about a week and a half ago and pitched the idea. They’ve been real cool to work with,” Hilton said.

The bobbleheads, which are individually numbered, will be available exclusively through the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum’s online store for $30 each. They are expected to start shipping in November.

Customers will get two bobbles for the price of one. Matt Hilton’s head will bobble of course. He will be depicted standing on a circular turf-like base with his arms extended in triumph as they were that night after the crowd shouted chants of “MVP.”

The front of the base is a small bee, which also has a bobbling head.

"We’re excited to create this bobblehead of ‘The Bee Guy’ Matt Hilton, who became the most famous guy in baseball for a while,” National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum cofounder and CEO Phil Sklar said. “While Matt didn’t show up in the box score from the Diamondbacks-Dodgers game on April 30 at Chase Field, he certainly got the save — and created quite a buzz in the process.”

Matt Hilton, his wife Morgan and their four children.
Matt Hilton, his wife Morgan and their four children. (Courtesy Photo)

Back To Bugs

It’s been three weeks and things are just beginning to settle down for Hilton and family.

Although he will say he was just doing his job, the 28,667 in attendance would not have enjoyed a 4-3 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers if not for Hilton’s heroic efforts.

“There has been a residual drop off lately. We saw friends and family at church that week, and have kind of made the rounds now where everyone in our immediate circle have all heard the story,” Hilton said. “Just last week, though, a significant television reality show asked me to join their cast. It would be a five- to six-week commitment and I am just not prepared to put everything on hold for that.”

Well, Matt, would you have ever guessed as a teenager back in Buffalo that you would someday have your own bobblehead? What would it have been for?

“Nothing in sports, that’s for sure. Certainly, not pest control,” Hilton assured. “Back then, maybe something with some sort of prank show. I kind of ran around a lot doing stupid pranks.”

Hilton said he never needed the baseball card, the headlines or the bobblehead. His job has been reward enough.

“Pest control is my dream job, believe it or not,” he said.

Jake Nichols can be reached at jake@cowboystatedaily.com.

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Jake Nichols

Features Reporter