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Chasing The Dream

Written by Jin'ichiro Shibahara

2008 season

AUG 22, 2008 – Tremonton, UT: Not My Forte
Box Elder County Fair & Golden Spike Rodeo (PRCA)

Of the rodeos I have left on this trip in the US, Tremonton is the largest.  It’s a three day show with a lot of entries and $5000 added money per event to boot.

Located in the northern part of Utah, Tremonton is also the oldest rodeo in Utah (actually, I didn’t know that until I got here and saw the sign).  It has a well designed arena that makes it easy for any cowboy in any event.  On this day every seat of the large grandstands was full.  I walked over to the office to pay my dues and check-in.  $220 was a little more than I was expecting, but that just means more money if I win.  Jeff from the Bar T Rodeo company was there and said he was sorry but he had to change my bull.  When I had called the PRCA I was told my bull was #903 Holy Moley, but the bull had injured its leg the day before so I was given the re-ride bull, #318 Chico instead.  I went back to the pens to find my new bull and of the ten or so in the pens there was one particularly small bull with the numbers “318” branded on his hindquarters.  Small bulls are not my forte…but as I stared, Chad Cole and Alex Duddley came walking up.  As we talked about the bulls we’d drawn I told them I had gotten Chico instead of my drawn bull when Alex said, “You got Chico?  Oh man, I love that bull!  He’s a really good bull man.  He bucked me off, but he’s a good left hand spinner.”

Both Alex and Chad are in the Top 10 of the circuit I ride in, and we all go to the same practice pen.

Finishing up my preparations, I wait for my turn to come around.  With a lot of shows between the events, it took a while before the bull riding began.  All the chutes face right.  Jeff came by to tell me I was going out second.

As I wrapped my rope Alex called out.  “Make a bull ride, Jeano!”  For some reason Alex insists on calling me Jeano…  I put a crook in my legs so they don’t hang past Chico’s belly, and squeeze him with both legs; out we go.

At the direction of the Bar T guys, the gate was opened slowly.  They had told me they would do this, so I knew to expect it.  When the gate offered enough space, Chico flew out and forward.  No turns yet.  On the third jump he stretched out in the air, landed facing to the left and began to spin; fast!  I was in the center when he started, but slowly began moving back off my seat, the gap between my riding hand and crotch widening.  His spinning threw my body to the outside, fully extending my left arm with a ripping sound stinging my ears and a sharp pain runs through my arm as it reached full stretch.  I lost all strength in my arm and my hand came open, releasing the rope.  One of the guys who’d watch my ride said later, “That bull was too small for you Jean.”

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But, if I expect to move up, I’ve got to be able to ride these bulls too.

Chad who rode just after me scored a 77, but Alex hit the dirt shy of eight just as I did.  There were only two riders, including Chad, who made the whistle.  Alex didn’t look too happy after his ride.  “Later Jeano!” He shouted over his shoulder as he quickly left the arena behind.  Going back to my car I decided to go get something to eat, but at this time of night the only places open are fast food joints, so I chose one and went in, chewing over the ride that day and the ride I had the next day as I chewed on a burger.  As I ate Jarred, a bareback rider I’d met behind the chutes, and a Phil, one of the bullfighters happened to walk in.  As we sat there and talked, I could tell from Phil’s accent that he was Australian.  An American, an Australian, and a Japanese all sitting around talking about the one thing they have in common; rodeo.  The two headed home from there, but I headed back to the arena.  I was heading north to Idaho the next day, so I figured this was as good a place as any to catch some sleep.

Laying the passenger seat down, I laid out my sleeping bag and stared at the stars through the sun roof.

Jin’ichiro Shibahara

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