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Chasing The Dream

Written by Jin'ichiro Shibahara

2008 season

JUL 21, 2008 – Salt Lake City, UT: Dance
Days of ’47 Rodeo (PRCA)

On this day in 1847, the traveling band of Mormons arrived at Salt Lake.  A day later, Brigham Young arrived and on July 24th, declared this the holy land and the Days of ’47 is a celebration of these historical events.  It boasts the biggest purse of any rodeo in Utah, and as a result, many of the big names enter this particular rodeo.  It is not an outdoor event but rather it is conducted in the Energy Solutions Arena, home of the Utah Jazz professional basketball team.  I am sure many of you are wondering exactly how they would convert a basketball court into a rodeo arena, but the arena is unique in that it was designed to be able to host many different kinds of events.  In Canada, it’s not uncommon to use hockey rinks for rodeos.

Unfortunately the arena wasn’t as full as it would had been if the Jazz were playing; it probably didn’t help that it was Monday either.  Not that the crowd was small, just that the arena was bigger than the crowd could fill.

On the other hand, the stock was top notch; all of the bulls were being provided by Diamond G Rodeo, who, based out of Utah, was known for good bulls.  The bull I had drawn was P57 Wanna Dance II, so I paid my $295 entry fee and went to find him.  I saw four bulls in the small pen behind the right side chutes and Wanna Dance II turned out to be one of them.  Red, with a tight physique and a calm demeanor about him; it’d be hard to turn down a dance from a good looking bull like him.

I was fortunate to run into Cindy who owns Diamond G and talk a bit.

“Sorry, but I still can’t say your name.”

Whether she is talking to a world champion or a guy like me, her attitude never changes; she is always calm and never without a smile.  It doesn’t matter if it’s a bronc or a bull, she’s the one pulling the flank strap.  It’s not easy for a woman to make it as a stock contractor, but she has been doing it and doing it well for quite some time now.  She has always provided rodeos and other events with quality stock and is a regular stock contractor at the NFR and PBR world finals.  Even this early in the season, there were already rumors abound that her bull White Magic might be chosen as the PBR’s bull of the year.

When I asked her about Wanna Dance II, she just stuck her left thumb up without saying anything.  Then she told me that the bull had bucked off Canadian Champion Rob Bell at a PBR event a few days prior, and that “Steve Woolsey was 90 points on him.  And he’s only a three year old.”

“Pretty big for a three year old.”

“Yeah.  He was twin too…”

“What?!  So he got that big in three years?”

“I guess so.”  Cindy just stood there and smiled.

The lights went out and fireworks blasted in the air to kick off the opening ceremony.  They worked in a few attractions here and there between events, even though there weren’t all that many entered in each event.  But world champion roper Trevor Brazile who had been at Salinas the other day was there, as well as world champion bull rider Cody Hancock, as well as NFR and PBR world finals veteran Fred Boettcher.  Mike Moore and B. J. Schumacher were listed but turned out.

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I began stretching as the bareback riding got underway.  I had wanted to rest up and hadn’t exercised since returning from California so I wanted to spend more time stretching than usual to ensure I warmed up properly.  As I stretched my neglected muscles, a photographer was snapping away on his camera near by.  He was a local photographer that had Emailed me a couple days before the event saying he wanted to photograph me at the event.  We had already met and exchanged greetings, so I paid him no mind and just kept stretching and he kept snapping.

Louie Jones would be fighting in the show and his family and parents were in the stands to watch, so I made small talk with them and waited for the time to pass.  As my event neared, I handed the camera to Louie’s wife and asked her to film the ride.

Wanna Dance II got loaded into a right-hand delivery and was calm as he waited.  As I made preparations, I concentrated on keeping my legs in his side.

Out we went; immediately he turns back to the right jumping immediately to the side, then turned back to the left and kept bucking.  Meanwhile, my foot had come out and my left arm had gotten stretched out as a result and I was far back off my seat.  I felt my left ring finger and middle finger slip from the rope, and then the next moment I was on the ground where I listened to the crowd sigh disappointedly.  The footage is missing the first part of the ride, but since it was taken from the side its easy to see how bad my posture is.

Needless to say, I wasn’t a very good dace partner.

After the show the photographer took a few more shots, then I spoke with a few people from the crowd, and headed out of the arena.  Salinas.  Salt Lake City.  I had now experienced two big rodeos and enjoyed the atmosphere of big events.  But, I have yet to ride for eight seconds; not a once. 

And it’s frustrating.

Jin’ichiro Shibahara

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