OKLAHOMA CITY – A year ago, Matt Shiozawa walked into State Fair Arena just a few months removed from winning the tie-down roping average championship at the 2011 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.
He parlayed that momentum into a solid run through the 2012 Ram National Circuit Finals Rodeo, then turned on the heat during the final round to win his second National Championship – he also won the title in 2008. In all, the Chubbuck, Idaho, cowboy left the Sooner State with more than $12,500.
Now Shiozawa returns to Oklahoma City for the sixth straight time in his career. He brings quite a pedigree to the RNCFR, which has five performances set for 11 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 4; 7:30 p.m. Friday, April 5; and 1 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 6, at State Fair Arena in Oklahoma City.
He will be joined by 23 other top-level tie-down ropers representing the 12 ProRodeo circuits from all over the country. The field includes some of the top weekend warriors in the game, cowboys who excel at rodeos closer to their homes. But the pack also includes several cowboys who have been regulars at the NFR: Oklahoman Hunter Herrin, Utahan Jake Hannum, and Texans Adam Gray and Scott Kormos.
And that’s what makes ProRodeo’s National Championship such a special event. It’s a true showcase of tremendous talent, of men who know the fortitude it takes to compete at a top-level event.
Tie-down ropers rely on tremendous roping ability coupled with outstanding horsemanship. Compare the skills to a long-range shooter in the NBA: The top 3-point shooter in the association makes around 45 percent of his attempts; a tie-down roper must be accurate, all while chasing a running calf while atop a speeding horse. If a cowboy is less than 90 percent accurate, he’ll go home broke.
The best of the best will compete at the RNCFR. That’s why so many are so excited to be part of this historic event, and why they want to win that elusive National Title.