FURR ON FIRE IN BRISTOL
North Carolinian earns second BFO Speedway Series title
BRISTOL, Tenn. – Simply put, Kris Furr was ready to get back to work. His job? Juking and jumping over Spanish fighting bulls.
After suffering a groin injury last month in Colorado Springs, Colorado, Furr proved why he remains one of the best in the business by winning the Bullfighters Only Speedway Series stop at the Bristol Motor Speedway. He put on two high-marked bouts – an 89 to share the first-round victory and a 92.5 in the Hooey Championship Round – to win the crown.
“I’m just trying to get back up in the Pendleton Whisky World Standings,” said Furr, the sixth-ranked man in the BFO from Hamptonville, North Carolina. “I’ve been sitting out, and it’s time to get back to it.”
He did that well on a very humid morning in northeastern Tennessee and secured another Speedway Series event title.
“Other than it being very hot, it was great, and Chad (Ellison) always brings some really good bulls to those events,” he said. “After my first bullfight, it was one of those where I wasn’t sure if I did enough to be enough points. Usually when I think like that, I’m a lot of points.
“Come the short-round time, it was so damn hot, and I was ready to get it done, drink some water and take my stuff off.”
Furr tied with Nebraskan Beau Schueth and Canadian Aaron Mercer with 89-point fights in the opening round. They advanced to the Hooey Championship Round along with three-time world champion and world-standings leader Weston Rutkowski, who posted an 86 to advance.
All four finals competitors are firmly inside the top 10 in the standings, and it added up to a spectacular display of athleticism. Besides Furr’s 92.5, Schueth finished second overall with a 90-point bout in the final round, followed by Rutkowski’s 88 and Mercer’s 87.5.
“The crowd was rowdy at this one,” Furr said. “I think the time of the bullfights are what’s best for me because they’re in the mornings. I like it being early so you’re not thinking about it all day.”
While there was plenty to celebrate, a scary situation arose after the first round. Colt Oder of Moorpark, California, was flipped up into the air and landed awkwardly on his head. He regained consciousness and finished his fight, but medical staff quickly realized that something wasn’t right. Oder was airlifted to a hospital in Bristol and treated for head trauma. He has since been released.
“With a little more prayer and a little more time, we should make a full recovery,” Oder said on a social media video.
Bristol Motor Speedway - Aug. 17, 2019
First round: 1. (tie) Beau Schueth, Kris Furr and Aaron Mercer, 89 points; 4. Weston Rutkowski, 86. Hooey Championship Round: 1. Kris Furr, 92.5 points; 2. Beau Schueth, 90; 3. Weston Rutkowski, 88; 4. Aaron Mercer, 87.5.
ODER RELEASED FROM HOSPITAL
Californian on the mend after sustaining serious head trauma
Bristol, Tenn. - Colt Oder is back on his feet after a scary incident during the Bullfighters Only Speedway Series event at Bristol Motor Speedway on Saturday.
The Californian was life-flighted to local hospital where he was sedated for approximately 36 hours to allow him rest and reduce swelling.
On Monday at around 4:30 am, Oder began to come to and slowly regained conciseness throughout that morning. He is now wide awake and has since been released from hospital with a positive outlook from doctors.
Oder will be sidelined from competition indefinitely. Colt Oder is back on his feet after a scary incident during the Bullfighters Only Speedway Series event at Bristol Motor Speedway on Saturday.
Via Colt Oder:
HARP EARNS 2ND SALINAS TITLE
Oklahoma bullfighter wins two rounds, places in two to win BFO event
SALINAS, Calif. – A lifetime of freestyle bullfighting dreams is now a reality for Nathan Harp.
Last week, he returned to the Monterey Bay area to compete at one of the most prestigious events in the game, the Bullfighters Only Wrangler Bullfight Tour stop at California Rodeo Salinas.
After the final round on Sunday, July 21, Harp had earned the victory for the second time in his career and quickly moved up the BFO Pendleton Whisky World Standings. He now occupies 13th place with just shy of $7,400 in earnings.
“It’s pretty surreal,” said Harp of Tuttle, Oklahoma. “As a young bullfighter, there were three big bullfights before the BFO came along: Ada (Oklahoma), Salinas and Denver. It was a dream to go out to California to compete. To win it once, let alone twice, is a dream come true.”
Salinas is a different animal in the world of bullfighting. Six men compete in four rounds, with payouts being distributed each night. The biggest checks are given to the top scores in the four-fight aggregate. By finishing with a cumulative score of 331.5 points, Harp earned the title.
But he was dominant; he won the second and fourth rounds, was runner-up on the opening night and finished third in Round 3. His total score was five and a half points better than the No. 2 man in Salinas, Nebraskan Beau Schueth.
“I’ve either finished first or second the last four times I’ve competed there, winning by a point or two or losing by a point or two,” Harp said. “It’s one of the toughest bullfights in the game. It’s four rounds, and it’s based off an aggregate score. Every bull counts, and every point counts.
“Going into Salinas, my goal was to be consistent, fight bulls like I know how to fight and just let the points fall where they fall. I can’t control what the other guys do. All I can control is my mindset. That’s the best I’ve ever done, and thankfully I drew well. I drew the best of anybody there as far as the bulls go.”
That’s big, but so is the passion with which Harp takes care of business. In this dangerous game, and focus is always the key.
“Nothing matters when it’s just you and the bull – not the crowd or what you did the night before,” he said. “What I do is a gift that sometimes I take for granted. When I’m at my best, I’m just enjoying it.”
1. Nathan Harp, 331.5 on four fights; 2. Beau Schueth, 326; 3. Weston Rutkowski, 319 SEE FULL RESULTS
SASQUATCH WINS AMONG SEQUOIAS
Gonzalez earns another BFO victory, this time in northern California
FORTUNA, Calif. – While his ancestors enjoyed bullfighting with a cape and an olè, Andrès “Sasquatch” Gonzalez loves what he’s able to do during the American version of freestyle bullfighting through Bullfighters Only.
The proof has come often this season, with the latest version happening last Friday night at the BFO Sequoia Cup in Fortuna, California. In his first time competing among the Redwood trees and the rowdy fans that Fortuna is known for, he walked away as the event champion.
“This was a big win for me, because overall, I think it’s great having a California guy winning an event like this,” said Gonzalez, who pocketed $6,000 and carried a specially made wooden trophy back home to Woodland, California. “I feel like it’s one of the bigger events, and it was an awesome experience.”
He was one of five men to advance to the Hooey Championship Round, where he posted 87.5 points to share the top score with newcomer Chance Pruitt.
Gonzalez earned the title through the tie-breaker by having a higher bullfighter score – the total points are based on a 100-point scale, with half the score coming from the animal and half from how well the man controlled the fight.
The Californian earned the title by a mere half point.
“You don’t see too many Hispanics on the rodeo side of things, especially in freestyle bullfighting,” he said. “This is the kind of show that I like to do. When anybody dedicates themselves, they can do whatever they want.
“I feel like I was born to be a freestyle bullfighter, it’s in my blood. I thank God it was a gift He gave me.”
It was also an experience for the whopping crowd in the northern California community of 12,000 people, but it’s something they’ve grown to love thanks in large part to the organizers. The BFO has been a big part of the celebration in Fortuna for three years.
“For us to bring the BFO gang up here is a big deal for this part of the country,” said Shannon McWhorter, president of the Fortuna Rodeo Association. “They’ve stepped up their game every year, from the first year where we just set up some panels and threw some things together until now, where it’s a full-blown BFO event like you’d see in Las Vegas.
“We pack the people in here, and fans leave this thing saying they can’t wait until next year. These guys are just like us, and a lot of these guys are from rural backgrounds. They come in here and just make us look good. We’re just a group of 20 guys that put on a weeklong festival, and the biggest part of the festival is the BFO.”
That’s saying something in just three short years, but it’s become a trend with the rapidly growing BFO, which got its start in 2015 and had its first full season a year later. It’s now the most extreme sport in the country, with all the prestige and production necessary to help draw fans to the dangerous game of chance.
Evidence of that came in the final round when the two-time bull of the year, Manuel Costa’s Sid Vicious, was matched with the Calgary, Alberta’s Aaron Mercer, the No. 2 man in the BFO Pendleton Whisky World Standings. As the bullfighter started his bout with his patented “Mercy Roll,” Sid Vicious added a bump and caused him to over rotate.
Mercer righted himself, only to be thrown high into the air just six seconds into the bout. In all, Mercer was knocked around at least eight times, with Sid Vicious ripping off his jersey and protective vest in the process. But the Canadian finished the bout.
“I went into that fight with a different mindset,” he said. “I wasn’t as worked up as I normally would have been. I heard I had Sid Vicious in the short round. You hear that name, and you’re going to get a little more nervous. I’m just glad I was able to finish the fight.
“The crowd was massive, and the stands were full and people were standing around. They crave bullfighting there. People love it in Fortuna, and we love putting on a show for them. I think that’s what makes Fortuna one of our better events.”
Pruitt was competing at just his second BFO event, just a few weeks removed from the Southern Classic in Gainesville, Georgia. He quickly realized there was a different energy in the stands among the giant Redwoods.
“It was a really cool setting,” said Pruitt, 18, of Jasper, Arkansas. “For us to drive there was awesome, to see the Redwoods and then to get there and see the arena. The backside was pretty far up, and it was full of people. The crowd was really into it.”
His second-place finish also proved why the BFO invited him to compete amongst the top athletes in the freestyle bullfighting game. Not only are the top bullfighters in the BFO, but so are the rising stars and there are still plenty of opportunities ahead to earn a bid for the Las Vegas Championships, set for December 5th-14th at the Tropicana Las Vegas.
“With this win, I think I moved to No. 5 in the world,” Gonzalez said. “I’m going for the No. 1 spot, and hopefully I can work my way to be the world champ. For me being the only Hispanic on tour, it means a lot to me to do well.
“Being able to be part of the BFO is the biggest thing for my career. These were my idols, and now being able to compete against these guys is a dream come true. This is a goal of my life. Last year, I was in two events, and I won them both, and now I’m being part of the whole tour is incredible for me.” SEE FULL RESULTS
CALI TAKES CALGARY
Oder sweeps competition with dominant performance
Hype man: an individual whose job is to grow the audience’s excitement before a headliner takes the stage.
Brinson James "The Entertainer" had the sold out crowd on their feet during “Bulls After Dark”, one of the most hyped events of the 2019 Calgary Stampede. It was everything it was amped up to be and the headliner was 22-year-old Colt Oder.
The unique spectacle featured light shows, fire and even a DJ spinning EDM beats, but a 91 point fight from the colourful California native topped it all.
“It was electric. I had a whole section cheering with me right before my fight and that’s something you can’t buy.”
It was the perfect night for Oder to bust his signature move “the barrel” on the roan bull Leap Frog from Hamsher Fighting Bulls.
He compares it to a surfer being on the inside of the barrel of a wave; he gets as close to the bull as possible and then plants both feet, sucks backwards and runs his hands along the bull’s opposite side.
“I like to dress it up a little bit and style it. Keep him close.”
Oder’s smooth style contrasted perfectly with the energetic crowd. He also scored the “W” on Friday night with 86.5 points and followed with a perfect encore on Saturday night.
“Calgary is crazy. I’ve been to quite a few different productions but this one makes your hair stand up on end. They do a great job.”
Mercer ready to shine at Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth
There is something to be said about the home field advantage. Talk to any professional athlete and they’ll tell you nothing compares to the feeling they get showcasing their talent in front of a hometown crowd.
Now, imagine if that crowd was at the world-famous Calgary Stampede during the innovative, new ‘Bulls After Dark’ event.
“I was stoked when they told me I was going back North,” commented Aaron Mercer, the 26-year-old Canadian bullfighter who currently sits number one in the BFO Pendleton Whisky World Standings.
Mercer’s enthusiasm for freestyle is contagious and his record setting year has fans and opponents watching his every move. With nearly $30,000 in earnings, he’s climbed the standings faster than anyone in BFO history. Impressive, considering he stepped in front of his first bull just over a year ago.
“I’m so excited to be in Calgary. I mean - it’s the Stampede.”
He won’t have it easy though. Some of BFO’s top talent will also be featured during the event, set for Friday and Saturday at 10 pm nightly inside the Nutrien Western Event Center. Mercer will be joined by Justin Josey, Colt Oder, and rookie Dekevis Jordan. And they’re ready to put on a show.
“There’s no better feeling than calling for a bull with your best buds. I told them –boys– we are going to be the mayors of this city before we leave. Let’s give Calgary a show they will never forget.”
He has our vote.
DEKE AFTER DARK
Jordan looks to build on stellar debut
By Kirsten Gjerde
CALGARY, AB - First impressions are important.
A new face left one only moments after he called his bull in Gainesville, GA last weekend. He opened his fight with a front flip that had so much clearance that the bull, crowd and fellow competitors all did sideways glances at each other and pulled out their programs.
Who is this kid?
He's the self proclaimed "Backflip Kid", Dekevis Jordan.
It’s a name that no one will be forgetting anytime soon. Jordan's first BFO fight was a success. After advancing with an 86 point qualifier in round 3 he went runner up to Chance Moorman in the finals with a massive 90.5 point score. The entire weekend was one of the most competitive in BFO history and the last round left him half a mark shy to leaving Gainesville, GA as the champion.
That talent displayed by Jordan also punched his ticket to the coveted Calgary Stampede.
What’s the game plan for the 20-year-old Oklahoma native when he crosses from the star-spangled banner country onto maple leaf territory this week?
He’s all business.
"I have one mindset - to fight my bulls."
Jordan has been fighting bulls for four years now and training the entire time for this kind of entrance into the elite world of the BFO. He isn't hitting the gym though. Jordan is getting his practice in at his day job, working under stock contracting companies "SR Bucking Bulls" and "Flying C Livestock." He is learning to read cattle and after work Jordan is practicing his technique in sand past his ankles.
"My boss is behind me 100% and he pushes me just as hard as I push myself. He makes me work for it because he wants me to do well just as much as I do."
His office next weekend?
The Nutrien Ag Events Centre for the Calgary Stampede’s first annual "Bulls After Dark". This event will be the most adrenaline-fueled entertainment outlet of the 2019 stampede and it will only be the BFO rookie's second big show.
Former professional bullfighter and now Rodeo and Chuckwagon Consultant Kynan Vine is one of the driving forces behind Bulls After Dark and is optimistic about the level of talent heading to Calgary.
"It's exciting to see a young guy like him with this level of finesse. As long as he gets his style down pat, his tricks and athleticism are going to make a big difference." Vine stated.
Who else will be joining the “Bulls After Dark” ranks alongside Jordan?
The one and only Justin Josey; the colorful Californian Colt Oder; and the #1 athlete in the BFO Pendleton Whisky World Standing, Canadian Aaron Mercer. All three are high on the BFO leaderboard this season and their involvement holds the promise of a great weekend packed with talent, tricks and entertainment.
"We have the top guys in the BFO. Between the four; it's going to be awesome." Vine adds.
Fans of the Calgary Stampede are in for a thrill when the sun goes down and the bulls come out.