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Chasing The Dream

Written by Jin'ichiro Shibahara

2008 season

AUG 9, 2008 – Coalville, UT: Continuance
Summit County Fair & Rodeo (PRCA)


Back in Coalville.

Standing in second place, I also stood to get another check depending on how the nine that day rode.  With twenty riders over two days, you could probably expect to get some money as low as sixth place.

The rodeo had already started by the time I got there.  I went to the rodeo office to thank the lady who’d given me my fist check the day before, then went to the contestant’s tent to grab a bite to eat.  I wasn’t riding, so I had time to kill before the bull riding started.  They were serving roast beef that day, and having skipped lunch, I was hungry enough to eat a bit chunk of it.  The volunteer who was serving wasn’t much help in curbing my diet either, as she kept piling it on, saying “here, have some more.”

Having filled myself to the gills with roast beef, I went to the back of the chutes.  I knew several of the nine that would be riding that day, and we exchanged a little small talk as we waited.  The bulls were of a higher caliber than the day before, with bulls like Charmed I’m Sure who’s a regular at the NFR and the PBR World Finals, and Diamond G had even brought White Magic.  Ride one of those two for eight seconds and you’ll score in the 90s for sure.  It was worth coming back to the rodeo, just to see those two bulls in the flesh.

I spoke with Chad Cole and “Pistol” Pete Paulson, who both asked me to pull their ropes for them and I happily accepted.  Said hi to Cindy as she came by, and she gave me a sort of side hug when she neared.

By the time the barrel racing had finished, all nine bull riders had put on their vests and chaps and were ready to go.  The first three came off their bulls shy of the whistle.  Chad was fourth, and as he wrapped the rope I had pulled for him around his hand I tried to encourage him yelling, “Bear down Chad!!”  Chad was in the Top 10 of the circuit I ride in at this point and was no rookie, but even he failed to make the whistle on this day.  The fifth rider also came off before the buzzer sounded, and the sixth was Pete.  Pete had drawn White Magic for his ride, and though Pete is a guy bigger than me, he barely lasted two seconds on the back of the famous bull before he was launched into the air.  The seventh and the eighth riders all failed to ride their bulls for the requisite eight seconds.

And then there was the ninth and final rider.  Pete had come out of the arena, and standing next to me said, “Looks like you won at least third.”  But then, even the last rider bucked off before the buzzer sounded.

Nine riders – Zero qualified rides.

I was still having trouble believing it.

From interim second place, to second place confirmed.

The pot would be split between me and the rider who took first.

“You’re rich!” Pete says, and shook my hand.

Chad walked up and shook my hand also saying, “Probably filled you permit.  See you Wednesday.”  Then he was gone.

Fireworks lit up the sky above me again.  I sat there watching for a while, remembering the year before this one.  Around this time that year I was working aboard the boat-inn “Funakiyo” floating around Tokyo Bay.  Every year the Tokyo Bay Fireworks Festival is the busiest day of the year for such boats, and that day was no different.  Having worked the whirlwind day, I remember watching the fireworks aboard the boat as it road the waves of the sea of the coast of Odaiba.  It might be rude to compare the fireworks of a town like Coalville with those of a metropolis like Tokyo, but the fireworks of Coalville that night touched me in a way none others have ever touched me before.

Back at the rodeo office, the same lady was waiting there.  “Congratulations!  Sign here please.”  As she handed me the check, I was startled into silence.  $2,219.04.  Before I signed, I balled both hands into fists and let out a silent roar.

“Do you know what this means?” I asked.

“Of course.  You filled your permit.”

A permit holder must win $1000 in sanctioned rodeos to be allowed to purchase their professional’s card, effectively becoming what is called a “Card Holder” in the rodeo world.  This amount would finally allow me to become one of those members.

“Congratulations!”  She said again, then shook my hand.  Cindy was near by so I thanked her too; I couldn’t thank her enough.  I never would have gotten this check without her and Steven.  My next rodeo is Farmington, Utah, and they’ll be there too.

To conclude this entry, I would like to leave you with one of my favorite quotes.  It was something an athlete said in an interview he had given a newspaper.  He won four medals in Athens including a gold, and though I have never met him in person, his words taught me the importance of continuance.  I am sure he is the middle of his preparations for Beijing.

“Realization depends on whether you have the will to keep trying.  The bridge to dreams is open only to those who dare to keep trying.”

Junichi Kawai
100m
Butterfly Silver
400m
Relay Bronze
100m
Backstroke Bronze
50m
Freestyle Gold
2004 Athens Paralympics

It was a long way here, but the Summer has just begun!!!

Jin’ichiro Shibahara


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