Matt Shiozawa was born in Pocatello, Idaho, and lives in neighboring Chubbuck. He gave the local Dodge National Circuit Finals Rodeo fans in Pocatello a moment they won’t soon forget, winning the tie-down roping in a finish more appropriate to Hollywood than Pocatello.
Shiozawa, the last man to nod his head in the four-man Wrangler Round, produced a time of 7.3 seconds just moments after Californian Wes Lockard had gone 7.6, the fastest time of the week to that point.
“I think it was almost better for (Lockard) to put up a 7.6, than an 8.6,” Shiozawa said, “because then you just let it go. You aren’t tempted to get conservative, play it safe and mess things up. It was kind of the perfect ending to what has been a wild week, with all the attention, all the calls and stuff. Luckily, I was able to keep my focus through it all.”
Shiozawa had also won the semifinal round earlier in the evening with a 7.8 second run to edge another local favorite, Nate Baldwin of Blackfoot. The two wins brought Shiozawa’s winnings for the week to $13,238 (along with the use of a Dodge truck for the year) and helped the Wilderness Circuit easily repeat as team champion.
The DNCFR gives cowboys and cowgirls who only wish to compete locally, but on a professional level, a chance for a national title. Two qualifiers in each event from 12 different circuits, or regions, qualify to Pocatello for a tournament-style rodeo. Other 2008 champions were Chris Harris, Itasca, Texas, bareback riding; K.C. Jones, Decatur, Texas, steer wrestling; Justin Spence, Modesto, Calif., and Evan Arnold, Santa Margarita, Calif., team roping; Chad Ferley, Oelrichs, S.D., saddle bronc riding; Shelley Murphy, Helena, Mont., barrel racing; Poncho Limas, Weatherford, Okla., bull riding.