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Chasing The Dream

Written by Jin'ichiro Shibahara

2008 season

July 2,2008 – Oakley, UT: One Spin
Oakley Independence Day Rodeo (PRCA)

I woke up once in the morning, but fell back to sleep and slept until two.

After that I helped my host family clean out the garage, and then went for about an hour’s run. It was another hot day.

The rodeo began at eight, so I left a little after half past five and headed to Oakley. I ran into a bit of traffic where I-15 running North-South crosses I-80 running East-West, but it was all smooth sailing after that. I continued on East on I-80, arriving about seven, and after a quick break I headed to the office to pay my entry. I told them my name and event to which they replied, “Two seventy.” Thinking I had heard them wrong I asked them to repeat it, but sure enough it was two seventy yet again. This was a slight embarrassment for a guy with only $200 on him, but I had no choice but to ask, “Where’s the nearest ATM?”

“Out and to your immediate left.”

I was oddly impressed with how well prepared they were for such an occasion. Oakley turned out to be a bit more pricy than usual. I hadn’t imagined the entry would be so high, but with 65 riders entered over four days they were paying day money to the top riders each day so there was a $100 additional charge to cover the additional prize. Day money is a system unique to bull riding, but with day money being paid out each day and more money if you win overall, you’re looking at a decent chunk of change if you win.

Oakley is a small town located just past a huge dam between two mountains. But the rodeo arena on the edge of town is a top notch facility which was filled to the rafters despite it being a Wednesday night. Rodeo is well loved in this little town.

My bull this day was #357 Double Trouble from the Bar T Rodeo string; red haired, thin and bit on the small side with a very distinct hump on his back. I had ridden a couple head of stock from Bar T at practice buck outs over the winter; one of which twisted the ring finger on my left hand and remember not being able to hold anything with that hand for a week. The folks from Bar T remembered me too.

Double Trouble got loaded into a right-hand delivery. I wrapped my rope around him loosely and waited for my turn to come around. I took some deep breaths and just tried to think about keeping my feet dug into the side of the bull.

As the gate opened, Double Trouble immediately turned back to the right, then leapt into the air, still turning to the right. As his front quarters and feet came up, I leaned forward, but I was hunched over when I should have had my chest out and body parallel to the bull’s back, and my left arm, which should have been straight from me pushing off the bull’s back was bent instead. My rear end slid back until it was midway between my bull rope and the flank where I was launched off of most expediently on the next buck. One spin; that’s all it took to unseat me. I didn’t do a damn thing…and that just pissed me off.

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Getting back behind the chutes, I took my helmet off and I hadn’t even broken a sweat. Normally after a ride the feel of the rope lingers in my left hand for a while; this time, there wasn’t even that.

Recovering my camera, I took a look at the footage and was disgusted at what I saw. “This is bad” I thought, “I gotta fix this…”

After all the events wrapped up, the arena went dark and fireworks lit up the sky.

I made small talk with the guys near me about the weekend coming up as I put away my gear. They said they were headed to Oregon as we parted.

With a meal coupon in hand, given to me before the show, I walked over to the stands to find there wasn’t a thing left except for a couple pizzas. I called out to the woman inside who told me my coupon was no good there, and the only booth I could use it at was the barbeque booth, which had already closed. With not a little sympathy, she told me to take one of the pizzas; I don’t mean a slice, no, she handed me an entire large size pie which must have been a foot and a half in diameter. It was more than I could eat by my self, but I wasn’t about to turn it down, so I thanked her for her kindness and walked off with pie in hand. A couple of bull riders and their girlfriends were talking in a truck near by when I got to my car. Bull riders are always hungry after a rodeo, so I walked over and offered to share my prize and two of them happily dug in.

“You got this for free?” One of them asked around a large bite.


“Man! This pizza is good!”

And he was right; it was good.

Leaving what I couldn’t eat of the pizza with them, I got into my car and drove off into the dark highway with Angela Aki’s angelic voice filling the air.

Jin’ichiro Shibahara

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As an example of other riders, I am including footage of Zack Oakes who, as of this writing, is ranked 11th in the PRCA World Standings. Unfortunately he was also bucked off this day, but you will notice how different his bull is from mine in terms of movement. He is able to stay with the bull part of the way, but Zack, who rides with his right hand, was unable to stay with the bull spinning to the left, and is eventually bucked off.

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