Local roper Shiozawa proud of seventh gold buckle, daughter

Matt Shiozawa has been in the Southern Nevada sports spotlight many times.

It began when he starred on the Moapa Valley High basketball team in 1999.

As a tie-down roper, Shiozawa also celebrated six times from 2005 to 2009 for winning go-rounds at the National Finals Rodeo at the Thomas & Mack Center.

He cherished holding those gold buckles.

But he conceded after Sunday's fourth go-round that when he holds his seventh Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association buckle Sunday night at the awards ceremony at South Point, it won't be the most precious prize in his hands.

"I'll take Stella up there and show her off," he said of his 20-month-old daughter.

Shiozawa, 31, roped and tied his calf in 7.3 seconds Sunday to win $17,884 and push this year's NFR earnings to a category-best $35,469, which moved him up to fourth in the world standings.

"This year's been different," he said, crediting Stella and his wife, Ali. "Having Stella has put everything in life into perspective."

Shiozawa stayed calm Sunday when he momentarily had a problem tying the calf's legs.

"It was a little bobble, but I didn't let it bother me. I've been more focused and fighting to the end," he said.

Shiozawa, who moved from Southern Nevada to Pocatello, Idaho, four years ago, trails tie-down leader Tuf Cooper by a nearly insurmountable $55,000.

Jeff Wolf is a freelance reporter. He can be reached at nitrorodeo@gmail.com or 702-406-8165.