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Monday, July 14, 2014

Matt Shiozawa - Japanese Cowboy!

I was watching the 2014 Calgary Stampede the other day and saw a cowboy rope a calf in a ridiculously low time.

Then I noticed the name. Matt Shiozawa.

A Japanese last name? Sure why not, but that doesn't mean he has anything to do with Japan...

Then I saw him without his sunglasses - and low and behold - he sure looks Japanese.

So then I Googled him... damn it, but doesn't he actually note that he is of Japanese extraction, with his family name proudly emblazoned via Kanji  (塩沢) on his website!

Matthew Scott Shiozawa was born on May 3, 1980 in Chubbuck, Idaho, in the United Sates. His family owned and operated a large potato farm near Pocatello, Idaho, and was taught early in life by his father Kent Shiozawa all about hardwork, dedication and integrity.

I try to do the same with my son and with the kids I coach in soccer and baseball - but who the heck knows...

With Matt... we can see that whatever his father was teaching him, it apparently as worked.

Here's a link below to the Calgary Sun newspaper for a bit of an interview with Shiozawa talking about his recent performance in Tie Down Roping at the 2014 Calgary Stampede - and event I do have on my bucket list. I'm sad that I actually need to have a bucket list, implying I'm getting closer to kicking the bucket.  

Tie Down Roping : Matt Shiozawa : Edmonton & Alberta : Videos
I'm not going to pretend to know a whole lot about what Matt does for a living, except that I find it very interesting - I actually wonder if there is STILL a need to have superior calf roping skills in the day-to-day life of a cowboy - but there is no denying that Matt is pretty damn good at his job.

In fact, let me direct you to his website so you can read up a bit on the man himself, and contact him via e-mail or Twitter or Facebook, if you choose. I'd bet you he'd respond. Click HERE.

Not having too much knowledge on Matt's profession, I'd just feel like someone trying to horn in on him and his fame, and I don't want to bore the guy with my inane questions... though Matt, buddy... if you read this, how about dropping me a line and letting me know how a Japanese family ended up in Idaho - and when.

There are other cowboys of Japanese extraction, I am sure - and probably a few Japanese who need not have the extraction that are cowboys involved in the professional rodeo circuit.

I'm pulling this from another blog: Thoughts Of a Cowgirl Of Faith... which sounds sexy... written by Eileen Jones, and while it appears as though she isn't writing any more for this blog, here's what SHE wrote:

"Makoto Sekido wants to become a professional bull rider in the United States. His wife thinks he’s crazy. She said she hates dreams and she hates people who want to make their dreams come true. But she puts up with it because she loves him. His sister thinks getting hit in the head by an ironing board when he was young caused him to choose an unorthodox road, especially for a Japanese man. He watched spaghetti westerns when he was young and always wanted to be a cowboy. I don’t know if he’s still pursuing that dream, but if he is, I hope it comes true for him.

Jin’ichiro Shibahara is another Japanese bull rider. He seems to be having more success than Makoto Sekido is. He was the first Japanese cowboy to become a member of the PRCA (Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association), in 2009. Here’s a link to photos from a rodeo in which he competed: He may no longer be a member of the PRCA, as he’s not listed in the Pro Rodeo website.

There are a number of riding stables in Japan that feature Western-style riding. The one that most intrigues me is Western Riding Club Rocky. (click HERE) They have quite a bit of information about Western horseback riding and apparel (I especially appreciate that when talking about jeans, there’s a picture of the Wrangler logo. My favorite brand of jeans and the only brand I wear now!), as well as links to other sites, including the Japan Cowboy Shooting Network. I’ve never done Cowboy Mounted Shooting, but the demonstrations I’ve seen have been spellbinding."

Matt Shiozawa, by the way, won Pool B of the tie-down roping taking home $21,000 over the three days, and then... in the Finals, ended up in a tie for second place in the event on Sunday July 13, 2014, garnering an additional $20,000. If he hadn't tied, it would have been $40,000. The winner did take home a cool $100,000. Yeah... the Calgary Stampede is the premier event on the Rodeo tour.

Andrew Joseph

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