Real Western > Rodeo > Japanese Rodeo Cowboys > Jin'ichiro Shibahara

Chasing The Dream

Written by Jin'ichiro Shibahara

2008 season

AUG 15, 2008 – Farmington, UT: Wind
Davis County Fair & PRCA Rodeo (PRCA)

It’s blowing hard from the side and bending every tree in the area, kicking up dust which gets under my contacts and stings my eyes.  It should be a lot brighter out, yet the clouds that cover the sky seem to be blocking the sun, and an unusual darkness blankets the area.

With my $120 entry fee paid and my check-in done, I went to say hi to Cindy and Steve of Diamond G Rodeo, then went to find my bull.  My bull today was #T49 Tee’d Off.  A Utah bull rider I know had him the week before but was bucked off at 7.6 seconds.  He was a tan bull with a white face and not very big.

The photographer who’d taken pictures of me in Salt Lake City was there.  I’d already Emailed him about my success the week before, so as soon as he came up he let out a loud “Congratulations Jinichiro!!”  Having spent a few years of his youth in Japan, he always makes a point of calling me by my full given name, instead of the shortened version most Americans use.  “ might want to interview you again to get the latest story on you.”  That would be great, I thought.

This days rodeo ran out of the usual order.  Since there was only one bareback rider entered, they started the rodeo with steer wrestling and sent the bareback rider out of the chutes first during the saddle bronc riding instead.  It’s a sad state of events, but as I’ve written before, bareback riders are getting thinner on the ground by the day.

The bull riding came around quick too.  Tee’d Off was loaded into a left hand delivery, facing the right as he should.  From the crowd’s point of view, he is facing left, but since I am behind the chutes and facing the direction of the crowd, he’s facing right.

Cindy came over and told me I would be going out first after the barrel racing.  The barrel racing soon finished and it was time to go.

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I placed my right arm in front of my face, same as last week, and called for the gate.  Last week I was told he went out two jumps then spun to the left, but this week was different.  After the second jump, he leapt from the ground, getting all four legs into the air; I felt as though we were floating in the air.  Spinning in the air, he landed facing left, then lifted both hind legs and twisted them to the right, turned his head right and jumped almost laying down in the air.  My body had shifted down his left side by then, and when he landed from his sideways jump, I was jerked to the ground.

I stayed to watch all the other riders, but only one made the whistle.

The arena emptied quickly; perhaps everyone just wanted to get out of the wind.

Having said farewell to two riders who’d come all the way from Texas, I too left the arena behind.

It was a mere 30 miles from here to home.

I had been eager to repeat my success of the previous week, but it seems the winds were blowing in a different direction for me on this day.

Jin’ichiro Shibahara

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