Rutkowski makes it a three-peat

Champ battles through rugged Las Vegas Championship to win again

 

LAS VEGAS – As his voice cracked a little, the emotions showed as Weston Rutkowski closed out his third straight Bullfighters Only world championship.

 

“This title means a lot because it was an actual race,” said Rutkowski, who matched moves with Rockin’ B & Magnifica’s Unicorn for 85.5 points to win the Hooey Championship Round and the Bullfighters Only Las Vegas Championship at the Tropicana Las Vegas. “In years past, guys haven’t really had a shot, but this year, there were five guys that had a legitimate shot heading into today.

 

“When we got to the short round, any guy that won would win the world.”

 

It wasn’t without controversy. Rutkowski advanced to the final round after he outscored another BFO pioneer, Ross Hill 85 - 84.5.

 

Judge Andy Lott had Hill winning the round, scoring both Hill and the bull 21.5 points for 43 points. Lott scored Rutkowski 21.5 and his bull 21, which provided Hill with a half-point advantage.

 

The other judge, Rowdy Barry, scored Hill’s fight 21.5 on a 21-point bull; he marked Rutkowski’s fight 22 on a 21.5 bull. That was enough to allow the champ to advance.

 

Once he made the short round, Rutkowski went to work. He and Unicorn went toe-to-hoof on the arena dirt, and the bull had the advantage during most of the 60-second match. But all three short-round bulls were brutal. Beau Schueth, who sat No. 2 in the Pendleton Whisky World Standings heading into the final day of the year, scored 84.5 points to finish second while battling Manuel Costa’s Spitfire.  

 

“This is the BFO, and we’re nodding for the baddest fighting bulls in the world,” Rutkowski said. “You have to earn it. It will take a toll on anybody.”

 

With the victory, he pocketed $25,000. By winning the world championship, he added $50,000 and ended the year with $113,750 in BFO earnings. It wasn’t without taking a heavy beating.

 

"I am mentally and physically beat,” Rutowski said. “It’s been a long 10 days. I’ve got several hematomas building up, along with my face.

 

“It’s just Vegas … different year, same story. I’m beat up.”

 

A year ago, he faced adversity after the Roughy Cup, suffering a gash on the back of his head that required 16 staples. During this year’s Roughy Cup, he took a shot to the head that resulted in three facial fractures.

 

He competed on his last five bulls wearing a protective face mask.

 

“This title means a lot,” he said. “I’m going to take about a week off, then we’ll get back at it and get ready for next year.

 

“This is a testament to the hard work I put in prior to this event. This is very much a mental battle, but if you can’t brush off those bumps and bruises, you can’t win in this league.”

 

Every bullfighter who faced the challenges over the last 10 days understands that. Rutkowski just stands as a symbol for what happens when preparation meets opportunity.  


Champ chasing Title No. 3

Rutkowski marks big score to advance to Championship Saturday in Las Vegas

 

LAS VEGAS – Weston Rutkowski is a man on a mission, and he took care of business Friday during the Wild Card Round of the Bullfighters Only Las Vegas Championship.

 

Rutkowski set the tone quickly in his match, taking advantage of an aggressive bull from Manuel Costa for 87 points to win his flight in the wild card. Now, the No. 1 man in the Pendleton Whisky World Standings advances to the final day of the BFO’s championship event at the Tropicana Las Vegas on Saturday.

 

“I just did what I could with the bull that I drew,” commented Rutkowski. “You are only as good as the bull that you draw.”

 

While he owns the lead heading into the 2 p.m. showdown, there are four other men who can catch him for the world championship: Beau Schueth, Toby Inman, Ross Hill and newcomer Colt Oder, the latter of whom came up through the ranks this year after being part of the BFO Development Camps.

 

Now it’s a battle of the best in the business to see who takes home the title belt. It’s going to come down to the final two bulls of the 2018 season to who wins the $50,000 bonus for claiming the BFO world title, along with the $25,000 Vegas Bonus.

 

Rutkowski is the only world champion in Bullfighters’ Only history, having earned the belt in 2016 and 2017. But in a true battle of man vs. beast, anything can happen. In fact, it has in Las Vegas. Rutkowski suffered three facial fractures during the Roughy Cup on Dec. 6, then battled through two rounds of the Flexfit Preliminary Rounds.

 

Though he didn’t advance directly to Championship Saturday, he made sure to take care of things during the Wild Card Round, where just three men advance to be part of the nine-man field. He’s joined by fellow veteran Toby Inman and young gun Riley McKettrick. They will be in the mix with other newcomers Oder, Chance Moorman, Andres Gonzalez and Tucker Lane McWilliams. In addition to Rutkowski and Inman, two other BFO pioneers, Beau Schueth and Ross Hill, will be part of the most exciting day in freestyle history.

 

Six months ago, Florida’s McKettrick was graduating high school.

 

On Friday, he graduated from the Wild Card Round. It sets up for a fantastic finish to a rough-and-tumble 10 days of freestyle bullfighting in the City of Lights.

 

“It was a pretty meaningful fight for me so that I can move on,” said McKettrick, 18, who scored 85.5 points in the third round of the wild card to advance to Championship Saturday. “I’ve been ready to get back to it. I wasn’t happy with myself earlier in the week, so I wanted to redeem myself today. I’m glad I was able to do it.”

 

His bullfight on Friday has been the perfect way to build on a career he hopes to have in the BFO.

 

“Today’s fight boosted my confidence way back up,” said McKettrick, 18. “It gave me the ability to get my mind back up, too. I’m here for a reason, and I’m here to bring it.

 

“Being in the BFO is a big deal for me. I’ve a lot of people back home tell me I probably wasn’t going to make it this far. To prove them wrong is huge for me. To be up here with the top guys like Ross Hill, Beau Schueth, Toby Inman and Weston Rutkowski, is great. I feel like I have a long future in this sport.”

 

It’s set up like many legendary prize fights that Vegas has seen before, and fans who pack into the BFO tent at the Tropicana will be on hand for some glorious action.

 

“I expect a lot of people trying big moves that they’ve been saving this week,” McKettrick said. “You’re going to see some great bullfighting and some good wrecks.

 

“It’s been cool to watch the BFO all season long. It’s great to be part of that, and it’s going to be really cool to have a front-row seat.”


Schueth moves into position

Nebraskan advances to Championship Saturday for a shot at the title belt

 

LAS VEGAS – Beau Schueth is at the top of his game and the right time.

 

A week after winning the Bullfighters Only Roughy Cup and the Wrangler Bullfight Tour championship, Schueth put together his second straight 86-point bout Thursday during the final performance of the Flexflit Preliminary Rounds of the Las Vegas Championship.

 

“Advancing to the final day is huge,” said Schueth, the No. 2 man in the Pendleton Whisky World Standings from O’Neill, Neb. “If, for some reason, I was going to have to go through the Wild Card Round, it wasn’t going to bother me much because I’ve gone through Wild Card Rounds all summer.

 

“But if I didn’t have to fight and could have a day off, that’s what I preferred. Another day of rest means a lot when you’re fighting five or six bulls.”

 

Schueth won his flight with a two-bout cumulative total of 172 points. He moves on to Championship Saturday and will join Chance Moorman of Lytle, Texas, who scored 88.5 points, the highest score so far, and Colt Oder of Moorpark, Calif., who got through a tough bull to slip into the final day of competition.

 

“I saw the bulls, and I actually fought that bull in the first round in Industry, Calif.,” Schueth said. “He was good there, so I knew he would fight good here. I didn’t want to bust him down (with fakes) too much, because I didn’t want to give him a chance to run off. It was a grind the whole time, but luckily it worked out in my favor.”

 

The other three men who advanced Wednesday were Andres Gonzalez, Tucker Lane McWilliams and Ross Hill. The final six to advance to Saturday’s performance will come out of Friday’s Wild Card Round, including reigning two-time world champion Weston Rutkowski.

 

“I’ve had a taste of it, but when you’re reading bulls well and drawing well, there’s no pressure on you,” said Rutkowski of Haskell, Texas. “He’s got a lot of confidence, and he’s going to be one of those guys that’s going to be tough to beat come Saturday. He’s fighting well at the right time of year and drawing the right bull to showcase his abilities.”

 

That’s been the case since Schueth arrived in Sin City last week. He’s been the hottest bullfighter in the game since, and he now trails Rutkowski by only $6,300.

 

“My confidence is pretty high, and I’m feeling good and healthy,” Schueth said. “I’m just having a blast out here. Going from sitting out last year and watching all my friends put on these great bullfights got to me. I’m just tickled to be sitting in this position.”

 

The Nebraskan doesn’t say much, but he has something inside that allows him to excel inside a bullfighting arena. As one of the BFO pioneers, he’s proven why he’s in a position to battle for that coveted title belt.

 

“We’ve been friends for a long time,” Rutkowski said. He’s one of those guys that you wouldn’t think he’d have the desire to do the sport, because he’s so soft-spoken.

 

“That’s a silent assassin.”

 

Both men hope Rutkowski advances through Friday’s round so the No. 1 and 2 men in the standings can go toe-to-toe for the world championship.

 

“That’s exactly what I want,” Rutkowski said. “I don’t want to go in there and win a world title and not go against the best in the world. In my mind, I’m going against Beau Schueth in the final round for the world title, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

 

No matter the sport, all fans want to see the top two in the game meet up to the challenge.

 

“That would be amazing,” Schueth said. “He’s one of my best buds out here. I’d love for him and me to be facing down and let it come down to who has the better fight in the short round to win the world title.”

Schueth moves into position

Nebraskan advances to Championship Saturday for a shot at the title belt

 

LAS VEGAS – Beau Schueth is at the top of his game and the right time.

 

A week after winning the Bullfighters Only Roughy Cup and the Wrangler Bullfight Tour championship, Schueth put together his second straight 86-point bout Thursday during the final performance of the Flexflit Preliminary Rounds of the Las Vegas Championship.

 

“Advancing to the final day is huge,” said Schueth, the No. 2 man in the Pendleton Whisky World Standings from O’Neill, Neb. “If, for some reason, I was going to have to go through the Wild Card Round, it wasn’t going to bother me much because I’ve gone through Wild Card Rounds all summer.

 

“But if I didn’t have to fight and could have a day off, that’s what I preferred. Another day of rest means a lot when you’re fighting five or six bulls.”

 

Schueth won his flight with a two-bout cumulative total of 172 points. He moves on to Championship Saturday and will join Chance Moorman of Lytle, Texas, who scored 88.5 points, the highest score so far, and Colt Oder of Moorpark, Calif., who got through a tough bull to slip into the final day of competition.

 

“I saw the bulls, and I actually fought that bull in the first round in Industry, Calif.,” Schueth said. “He was good there, so I knew he would fight good here. I didn’t want to bust him down (with fakes) too much, because I didn’t want to give him a chance to run off. It was a grind the whole time, but luckily it worked out in my favor.”

 

The other three men who advanced Wednesday were Andres Gonzalez, Tucker Lane McWilliams and Ross Hill. The final six to advance to Saturday’s performance will come out of Friday’s Wild Card Round, including reigning two-time world champion Weston Rutkowski.

 

“I’ve had a taste of it, but when you’re reading bulls well and drawing well, there’s no pressure on you,” said Rutkowski of Haskell, Texas. “He’s got a lot of confidence, and he’s going to be one of those guys that’s going to be tough to beat come Saturday. He’s fighting well at the right time of year and drawing the right bull to showcase his abilities.”

 

That’s been the case since Schueth arrived in Sin City last week. He’s been the hottest bullfighter in the game since, and he now trails Rutkowski by only $6,300.

 

“My confidence is pretty high, and I’m feeling good and healthy,” Schueth said. “I’m just having a blast out here. Going from sitting out last year and watching all my friends put on these great bullfights got to me. I’m just tickled to be sitting in this position.”

 

The Nebraskan doesn’t say much, but he has something inside that allows him to excel inside a bullfighting arena. As one of the BFO pioneers, he’s proven why he’s in a position to battle for that coveted title belt.

 

“We’ve been friends for a long time,” Rutkowski said. He’s one of those guys that you wouldn’t think he’d have the desire to do the sport, because he’s so soft-spoken.

 

“That’s a silent assassin.”

 

Both men hope Rutkowski advances through Friday’s round so the No. 1 and 2 men in the standings can go toe-to-toe for the world championship.

 

“That’s exactly what I want,” Rutkowski said. “I don’t want to go in there and win a world title and not go against the best in the world. In my mind, I’m going against Beau Schueth in the final round for the world title, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

 

No matter the sport, all fans want to see the top two in the game meet up to the challenge.

 

“That would be amazing,” Schueth said. “He’s one of my best buds out here. I’d love for him and me to be facing down and let it come down to who has the better fight in the short round to win the world title.”


Sasquatch tops the Champ

Young Californian advances to BFO Championship Saturday with big fight

LAS VEGAS – Andres “Sasquatch” Gonzalez conquered his beast and upset the Champ.

 

He posted the highest-marked bout of this year’s Bullfighters Only Las Vegas Championship during Wednesday’s Flexfit Preliminary Round, scoring 87 points to advance to Hooey’s Championship Saturday at the Tropicana Las Vegas.

 

“This was super big knowing that I was able to compete against Weston Rutkowski and knowing I was a point behind him going into today,” said Gonzalez, a first-year BFO bullfighter from Woodland, Calif. “Knowing what I had to do had me in the right mindset.

 

“I just kept telling myself that I had to keep doing what I had been doing. I had to leave it in God’s hands and just do the work. I did whatever the bull gave me to do.”

 

Combined with his 83-point fight in Monday’s first round, Gonzalez finished with a two-bout cumulative score of 170 points to outlast the reigning two-time world champion. By winning his flight, which was made up of three bullfighters, he advanced to the final day of competition, along with the other flight winners, Tucker Lane McWilliams of Oak Grove, Mo., and Ross Hill of Muscle Shoals, Ala.

 

“I think it was awesome I was able to outscore Weston,” Gonzalez said.

“Now, I know I am fighting exactly as hard as he is to win that belt. He might have been a little upset, but he can’t blame it on me or himself. I just had the better bull.”

 

That was the main difference, but both men put on tremendous fights against bulls that had never seen the bright lights of Las Vegas.

 

“All three bulls in our flight were fresh, so I didn’t know what they could do,” he said. “I just had to do what I could, and that was be as aggressive as I can. My plan is to fight my first bull Saturday and advance to the second fight, too.

 

“In my heart, advancing to the championship round is already winning. It means the world to me just to be in the BFO and to be in Las Vegas. It’s been one of my dreams to make it this far. To meet my heroes and go against them is incredible.”


Rookie talent shining in city of lights

Moorman fights 2 bulls to win his flight; Gibson posts highest marking

 

LAS VEGAS – One bull wasn’t enough for Chance Moorman on Tuesday afternoon during the second day of the Flexfit Preliminary Round of the Bullfighters Only Las Vegas Championship.

 

Late in his initial bullfight, Moorman was awarded a refight. Since he was the last of the nine men to fight, he only had about five minutes to prepare for his second bout.

 

That was all the time he needed, though, producing 84.5-points against Rockin’ B & Magnifica’s Papa Smurf to win his flight and have the advantage heading into his second preliminary round on Thursday afternoon.

 

“After my first bull, my ribs were really hurting,” Moorman said, pointing out that he suffered the injury last week during the Qualifier Rounds.

 

“That first bull hit me pretty good, and that’s what was holding me up on making the decision to take the option for the refight. Once I heard the score, I knew that wasn’t going to do. I knew right then I had to take it.

 

“It was pretty hard, because my legs were tired already. It was just a mess from the beginning, but I went out there and did what I do.”

 

It worked out, and the Lytle, Texas, bullfighter controlled his foe through the entire 60-second battle. He posted the second highest score, just behind Cade Gibson of Pilot Point, Texas, who matched moves with his bull for 86.5 points. He has just a half-point lead over Roughy Cup champion Beau Schueth.

 

“We’ve been looking at that round since the list came out,” Gibson said.

 

“All the bullfighters decided that was going to be one of the toughest prelims going, because Beau is a stud, and Justin (Ward) is great and content to step in and do some big things.

 

“I’m just blessed to come out on top.”

 

The Las Vegas Championship format requires all of the athletes to face two bulls. The top two-fight cumulative scores in all six flights will advance to the Hooey Championship Round on Saturday. The remaining combatants will battle for the final six spots in Friday’s W-W Wild Card Round.

 

Both Gibson and Moorman knew they had to step it up.

 

“For me to make it to Saturday, I’ve got to maintain the two-point lead I have over Kris right no,” said Moorman. “I’m not going to give it up without a fight.”

 

Gibson’s lead is much closer, and Schueth is an experienced veteran who can close the gap quickly.

 

“I was bummed at myself that I didn’t get to close the fight with a sell,” Gibson said. “Beau hit that spine grind on his sell, and that’s his signature. Getting a sell would have given me a little bit of a cushion going into Saturday.

 

“I’ve just got to keep it simple, fight my bull and enjoy the time. There are a lot of bullfighters that wish they could be in our shoes. I’m just ready to get another one under my belt. I felt like the winner from this flight is going to be able to contend for the championship.”


Veterans make their stand

Rutkowski, Hill come out on top in 1st day of BFO Preliminary Rounds

LAS VEGAS – Weston Rutkowski is the bullfighters’ version of a Masked Avenger.

 

After taking a shot during last week’s Roughy Cup to start the Bullfighters Only Las Vegas Championship, the Texan suffered three facial fractures. Instead of bowing out and sitting on the injured reserve, Rutkowski worked with the Fit N Wise Sports Medicine team to come up with a solution that will allow him to compete.

 

On Monday afternoon, he tied for the highest score in Pool A’s first Flexfit Preliminary Round with fellow veteran Ross Hill. Both men scored 84 points, which will go a long way toward advancing to the Hooey Championship Round Saturday.

 

“This is just adversity, but any kid that wants to be a world champion in anything knows it comes with a price,” said Rutkowski, the two-time reigning world champion from Haskell, Texas.

 

“If you’re not willing to go past something that pushes you mentally and physically, you’ll never be able to be at the top of any sport.

 

“This is a good start, but it’s one bull. I’ve got three more to fight to win that world title.”

 

Monday featured Pool A in the opening day of the preliminaries. They will return to fight their second bulls on Wednesday. The nine men in Pool B will kick off their round at 2 p.m. Tuesday. The top two-fight aggregate scores will advance to the final day of the year. The others will move on to Friday’s Wild Card Round.

 

“Today, I was 84 points, but I should have been 90,” said Hill of Muscle Shoals, Ala. “I let that bull get ahold of me and put some horns on me. However, I’m good to go and healthy. I’m ready for Wednesday. I’m not going to worry about where I am in the aggregate, because that could change with the guys in my round. It’s 100 percent talent at this bullfight.

 

“It’s just me against the bull from here on out.”

 

That’s the case in any man vs. beast competition, but it’s especially true in bullfighting. The men in the game can’t worry about the others; if they do, their focus isn’t on the animal where it should be, and that could be a dangerous situation in a hurry.

 

“This is a surreal experience for me. Doing this for 15 years and being able to step into the arena with kids that are a whole different generation  than I am,” Hill said. “It’s just amazing to be fighting bulls with 18 and 19-year-old kids.”

 

This is just the next step in the race for the BFO world championship. Rutkowski is the only man in the game to have ever won that title, and he’s done it twice. He’s looking for the trifecta this week.

 

“This sport is what Weston Rutkowski is,” he said. “I eat, sleep and breath this. I don’t take it lightly. I don’t like losing. So what if I have a few broken bones. If you’re willing to lay it all out there in the arena, there’s no way you’ll ever succeed.”


Race for the belt begins today

Rutkowski to wear protective mask as he tries to defend his BFO title

 

LAS VEGAS – The race for the Bullfighters Only world championship and the $50,000 bonus boils down to the final six days of the Las Vegas Championship and the 2018 season.

 

Weston Rutkowski is looking to build on his lead in the Pendleton Whisky World Standings and close out his third straight BFO world title, but he’s got 17 talented men taking sharp aim at the target on his back.

 

Beau Schueth secured both the 2018 Wrangler Bullfights Tour Championship and the coveted Roughy Cup last Thursday during the opening day of this year’s Las Vegas Championship at the Tropicana Las Vegas.

 

Schueth’s victory just added to the amazing story lines surrounding this year’s championship.He moved to No. 2 in the standings and is just $6,300 behind Rutkowski heading into the first day of the FlexFit Preliminary Rounds, which begins at 2 p.m. today. With the winner of the Las Vegas Championship pocketing $25,000, the opportunities are great for many of the Top 9 men to take the title belt.

 

But the champ still has some say about that, despite suffering three facial fractures during the Roughy Cup.

 

“My face is pretty broken,” he said, noting that his cheek bone and two bones in his nose suffered fractures. “I haven’t been working out like I normally do, but I’ve been staying on a bike and staying lose. I don’t want to run until I have to, because the vibration to my face is pretty harsh.

 

“This is what we do for a living. When you get in the arena, you can’t complain about when injuries happen. You’ve just got to adapt and overcome.”

 

His is one of the most severe cases the Fit N Wise Sports Medicine team have been treating since the bullfights began last week.

 

“Right now, we’re trying to manage the pain with ice and ibuprofen,” said Keith Skates, the extreme sports medicine coordinator for Fit N Wise. “We’re going to try something different. We got with our colleagues at UNLV, and they brought us over a clear mask. We’ve got it fitted to him, and he’s been wearing it around and trying it out. They’re pretty uncomfortable, though.”

 

The team has set up a world-class training room in one of the conference rooms at the Tropicana. They treat the bullfighters every day, then manage duties at the tent outside where the bullfights happen until the event concludes each day. They return to the training room until at least 5 p.m. each day for more treatment.

 

“Last year it was staples, and this year is a mask,” Rutkowski said, reminiscing about another big knock at the 2017 Roughy Cup that required 16 staples. “Fit N Wise is on top of it, getting me a mask. I’m trying to get a feel for it. I went down to the arena last night with it on, just getting to know the mask and my limitations with it. It’ll be good getting out in the arena today.”

 

The Top 3 men in the standings – Rutkowski, Schueth and Toby Inman – have all surpassed $30,000 in earnings this year, while the No. 4 man, Kris Furr, is not far behind. They are just the leaders in this tight race for the title belt. And everyone is chasing the only world champion in BFO history.

 

“Anybody that’s been in my position knows what it’s like to have a target on your back,”

 

Rutkowski said. “I could have bowed out with this injury, and a lot of guys would. But I’m No. 1 in the world, and I’ve got a title to defend. I’m going to find a way to fight for it.”


Field set for Las Vegas Championship

Nine Qualifiers to compete against the best bullfighters in the BFO

 

LAS VEGAS – Riley McKettrick knew he wanted a quick, aggressive bull to fight during Sunday’s final Total Feeds Qualifier Round.

 

The Development Camp product got one in Shad Smith’s Sandman, and handled the situation like a seasoned veteran. He advances along with eight other men to advance from the qualifiers to next week’s Preliminary Rounds of the Bullfighters Only Las Vegas Championship at the Tropicana Las Vegas.

 

“Some of the bulls we’ve seen are a little bit slower, and harder to fight,” said McKettrick of Arcadia, Fla. “They’re harder on your body and can wear your legs out. The hotter bulls are a lot faster and they run quicker, and they fit my style better.”

 

McKetterick and Sandman circled around the BFO arena dirt for 85.5 points, the highest marking on Sunday afternoon. Sunday’s other benefactors were Knox Dunn of Slaughter, La., and Cade Gibson of Pilot Point, Texas.

 

The additional six qualifiers are Chance Moorman of Lytle, Texas; Alex McWilliams of Paso Robles, Calif.; Andres Gonzalez of Woodlands, Calif.; Ely Sharkey of Alliance, Neb.; Jordynn Swanson of Brandon, Manitoba; and Ryan Fitzko of Lennon, Mich. If the Qualifier Rounds are any indication, next week’s competition should be hotter than ever.

 

“It’s been really cool for me to be here,” McKettrick said. “I went to the BFO Super Camp (in Decatur, Texas). Since then, my freestyle career has really taken off. The BFO has really opened me up, and I’ve had a lot of fun going into it.”

 

The Flexfit Preliminary Round roster features the the top nine athletes in the Pendleton Whisky World Standings, plus the 9 advancing qualifiers. The highest aggregate score in each flight after two rounds will advance to the Hooey Championship Round on Saturday; the others will try to battle back through Friday’s Wild Card Round.

 

“Getting to compete against the big dogs is good for me,” he said. “I got to compete against the top guys in the world in Charlotte (N.C.) earlier this year. I really wanted to come out here and put it on these bulls so I could get back to compete against those guys again and show them how I fight.” Mcketterick said.

 

Bullfighters will be pulling out all stops to earn as many points as possible. Chance Moorman, for example, nailed a front flip during Saturday’s performance, then continued with a strong bullfight to win his round.

 

“Once I landed the front flip, it boosted my confidence like crazy,” Moorman said. “It made me fight to the best of my potential.

 

“When you’ve got your job title and your reputation on the line, you’ve got to put it all out there. There’s no turning back.”

 

It worked, much like it did for Ely Sharkey on Friday.

 

“It’s good to get one down so I can move on,” said Sharkey, 23. “Ours was a pen of older bulls, so they knew what was going on. They were harder to get around, so I just had to go back to the basics and survive the round.”

 

Of course, he’s got his eyes set on the biggest prize in the game. The winner of the Las Vegas Championship will not only win one of the most coveted titles in freestyle bullfighting, but he will also earn the $25,000 first-place prize.

 

“I think I can win this,” Sharkey said. “That’s why I’m here. I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t think I could win this.”

 

He has another opportunity to prove that this week.


Schueth wins Roughy Cup

Coveted Wrangler Bullfight Tour title heading to Nebraska

LAS VEGAS – Beau Schueth has had some big wins in his bullfighting career, but none bigger than his Bullfighters Only Roughy Cup victory on Thursday afternoon at the Tropicana Las Vegas.

 

“Every win holds a special place, but this one is huge,” said Schueth of O’Neill, Neb. “I’ve been out here for four years since the BFO started and slowly kept getting better.”

 

With his victory, he became the first man in 18 years to win the Wrangler Bullfight Tour championship. The tour, which initially wrapped after the 2001 season, returned with the BFO in 2018.

 

“When I started fighting bulls, all I’d do was watch the old Wrangler Bullfight Tour,” he said. “To say I’m the Wrangler Bullfight champion is definitely a humbling feeling I will hold pretty proudly.”

 

Schueth won his opening round, getting the better of Costa Fighting Bulls’ Stone Cold for 83 points to kick off the 10-day Las Vegas Championship. That earned him the right to compete in the Hooey Championship Round, where he was bested Justin Josey of Apache, Okla., and Weston Rutkowski, the two-time defending world champion from Haskell, Texas.

 

“Words can’t describe it,” said Schueth, who missed the competition in Sin City a year ago because of injury. “It just means that much more to come back this year and win the first event.

 

“This whole year, just coming back off the injury, it was about getting my mind right. Having to sit out last year and watch everybody make good bullfights was hard. To come in and win this is huge.”

 

In the final round, he matched moves with Costa’s Little Foot, a stout little one-horned bull that has been considered one of the best in the BFO for two years. By the time their dance and the dirt came to an end, Schueth walked out with an 89.5-point fight and the victory.

 

“That’s the first time I’ve had him,” he said of Little Foot. “I’ve had his brothers, but I’d drawn around him before today. To get a chance to win on him is dang sure a good feeling.”

 

Josey, who was pushed around by Costa’s Spitfire, finished second with 85, while Rutkowski was forced to disqualify after taking a shot to the head from Costa’s Sid Vicious, the 2017 BFO Bull of the Year.

 

“It feels good to just put down some solid, fundamental bullfights against some top-caliber bulls,” Schueth said. “None of the bulls out today were days off. To get two solid bullfights in this early in the week means a lot.”

 

With the victory, he pocketed $6,000 and moved up to second in the Pendleton Whisky World Standings. He is just $6,300 behind the leader, Rutkowski.

 

“Manuel Costa brought his whole A team today, so to get out of here with the win and get past two tough bulls helps my confidence a lot,” Schueth said.


Bulls provide power to Vegas

Elite animals are a big part of the mix for the Las Vegas Championship

 

LAS VEGAS – Brett Hall isn’t one to get too excited about things, but he’s fired up about what’s going to happen during the Bullfighters Only Las Vegas Championship.

 

“This will probably be the best pen of bulls I’ve ever hauled anywhere,” said Hall, co-owner of Rockin’ B & Magnifica Fighting Bulls. He’ll see all of his top bulls in action during the marathon championship, each day at 2 p.m. Dec. 6-15 at Tropicana Las Vegas.

 

“The atmosphere is going to be great there. For me, if it’s a bullfight, I’m enjoying it.”

 

Rockin’ B & Magnifica is the BFO’s reigning Stock Contractor of the Year and will have more than two dozen bulls as a part of the event. That’s a lot, but still only a quarter of the bull power that will do battle in Sin City over the ten days.

 

“That’s the one thing that stands out when we go to Vegas,” said Weston Rutkowski, the reigning two-time world champion from Haskell, Texas. “The bulls have had substantial time off, and it shows when they get there. When they have a few months off heading into Vegas, they show up ready to fight.”

 

The ten-day Championship kicks off on Thursday afternoon with the Roughy Cup, BFO’s original event, and will be broadcast live on the Wrangler Network.

 

“Having the best bulls is huge,” said Kris Furr, the No. 3 man in the standings from Hamptonville, N.C. “It doesn’t matter what round you’re in; there’s still a lot of pressure, and you need to be 90 points to win. I’d like to have one of the older bulls that’s seen it and been around it.”

 

There will be a wide array of bulls that will be in the mix, so setting up each round with bulls of similar caliber ensures that the fights are as evenly matched as possible.

 

“When we are setting up the rounds, we try to make sure that each of the three bullfighters have a chance to win,” said Aaron Ferguson, founder and CEO of Bullfighters Only. “We want it to come down to who has the best bullfight, not just the best bull.”

 

Manuel Costa’s Sid Vicious, the reigning BFO Bull of the Year, is a contender to repeat in 2018.

 

“There aren’t many bulls that you can fight that will just mop you up around the arena, and you can still win, but that’s the case with Sid Vicious,” Furr said. “Last year he was the second-to-last bull I fought, and I won the round on him, but we were 50-50; he would hook me, I’d stand up and put one on him until he’d hook me again.”

 

Costa knows he has some special animals in his herd.

 

“I’ve seen the names of the bullfighters that are coming, and they’re not afraid to fight any of these bulls,” he said, noting that he will have between 30-40 bulls in Las Vegas. “We’re very honored to have as many bulls as we have there. It means a lot that they like what we’re doing. They believe in the bulls that we have.

 

“This is the big show. This is the end of the year, the last event, the Super Bowl.”

 

Costa and Rockin’ B & Magnifica will be two of half a dozen contractors providing bulls for the Las Vegas Championship. The BFO has sought out the top fighting bulls in the country to showcase with the best bullfighters that the sport has ever seen.

 

“Having great bulls means everything,” Rutkowski said. “I’m only half the battle. I need bulls that not only showcase their ability but also showcase my ability.”


A test of the best in the game

The BFO’s top nine men to battle for the Roughy Cup title

LAS VEGAS – When Bullfighters Only was established more than four years ago, Las Vegas Events was seeking something special to showcase during their famous “Cowboy Christmas” trade show.

 

The Roughy Cup was born, and continues to be one of the biggest stand-alone bullfights in the sport. It returns at 2 p.m. on Thursday, December 6th to start 10 action-packed days of freestyle bullfighting with the BFO Las Vegas Championship at the Tropicana Las Vegas.

 

“It’s just an awesome event,” said two-time reigning world champion Weston Rutkowski of Haskell, Texas. “It was our first event in Vegas, and now it’s become a marquee event for us. It kicks off a big week of bullfighting.

 

“It’s a great reward for the guys that have been going all year and have a chance to make more money at that one event.”

 

The top nine bullfighters from the BFO’s Wrangler Bullfight Tour Standings have earned the right to compete Thursday afternoon. Athletes have been jockeying all season long to gather valuable points at the nation’s top pro rodeos.

 

“This year’s Roughy Cup should have some really high scores,” said Manuel Costa, owner of Costa Fighting Bulls, one of the BFO’s premier stock contractors. “There will be some really high 80s, and you should see some 90s on that one day alone.”

 

Costa has some of the most fierce bulls in the game, and he likes to see them mix it up with the greatest bullfighters in the sport. A majority of this year’s Bullfighters Only Las Vegas Championship will be broadcast live on BFO’s Facebook page and the Wrangler Network. The final performance will be available live on BFO All-Access.

 

“Last year, the Roughy Cup was a bloodbath, but I think it’s going to be a little better this year,” said Kris Furr, the third-ranked bullfighter from Hamptonville, N.C. “Everybody in the top 9 wants to get that win. It’s important to do good in that event if you want a shot to win the world title.”

 

It’s important, because every dollar counts toward championship points. The man who finishes the Las Vegas Championship with the most money earned through the 2018 campaign will win the world title belt and the $50,000 bonus that comes with it.

 

The first step is the lucrative Roughy Cup.

 

“This just reverts back to how much work you’ve put in before you get to Las Vegas,” said Rutkowski, the 2015 and ’16 Roughy Cup champ. “You throw in the best fighting bulls in the world, your physical shape and your mental shape will show up.

 

“It’s not for timid athletes. This is to see who can come out on top. This is a very grueling sport.”

 

Rutkowski was unable to claim his third straight Roughy Cup title after getting hooked and stepped on during the first round in 2017. His body was battered, and a serious gash in the back of his head required 16 staples. But, he battled back to win his second straight world title.

 

“I want to make a statement on Thursday afternoon,” he said. “It’s always good to put your best foot forward, especially that first event. If I can win the Roughy Cup, I can win enough money to make it hard on the rest of the guys to catch me for the year-end title.

“I’m not showing up for second place by any means.”


Hill eyeing Sin City resurrection

LAS VEGAS – The last time Ross Hill fought a bull in Sin City, it was an anomaly for the Alabama man.

 

Hill suffered a devastating knee injury at the BFO Roughy Cup in December 2016, and it kept him out of action for a year and a half as he recovered. Now, Hill returns to the Nevada desert for the first time in two years, eager to get the 2018 Bullfighters Only Las Vegas Championship at Tropicana Las Vegas under way.

 

“Vegas has always been a spot where I’ve shined,” said Hill, 36, of Muscle Shoals, Ala. “I’ve always performed well there, and for me to have this opportunity of a lifetime at 36 years old to compete against these boys is a thrill, not to mention that I’m still in contention to win a world championship.”

 

Before the creation of Bullfighters Only, he was one of the top bullfighters in the game competing at almost any freestyle bullfight that offered the opportunity. That was a decade ago, when the Thunder EquiGames was held in Las Vegas to showcase the bullfighters at the time.

 

“I’m the only Thunder EquiGames bullfighting champion,” he said, noting that he won the titles in both 2008 and 2009. “This is a 10-year plunge; a blast from the past for me. I get to relive the best years of my life and have the opportunity to do it better.”

 

The veteran bullfighter has played a major role in the development of Bullfighters Only, which was founded in 2015. In that three-plus years, BFO has become the premier freestyle bullfighting organization in the world, developing a true “action sport” in the Western industry.

 

The BFO Las Vegas Championship offers the largest purse in freestyle bullfighting. The event winner will pocket $25,000, which counts toward the crowning of this year’s world champion – money equals championship points. The bullfighter with the most earnings at the end of the season will be the world champion and will earn an additional $50,000 bonus.

 

Hill is currently fifth in the Pendleton Whisky World Standings with $18,666, trailing the two-time reigning world champion Weston Rutkowski by $19,000. The money that’s available in the City of Lights offers Hill and others the chance to move to the top by the end of the 10-day festivities.

 

“This year is offering a good chunk to win the world title, so I sat down and did the math,” Hill said. “I’ve got to sweep the finals, but I have the focus to do it. The only guy I can focus on out there is me, but I know what I’ve got to do to get it done.”

 

He also maintains the youthful confidence that led him to past success Las Vegas.

 

“I’m floating on the moon right now as far as my confidence goes,” said Hill, who didn’t start competing until mid-July and quickly moved into the top 5. “My workouts are going great. Basically, Kris Furr and Weston and I are working out twice a day. We have our travel trailers parked together in Decatur (Texas), so we work out at Fit N Wise together.

 

“Those guys at Fit N Wise really take care of us. The train us like we’re LeBron James.  

 

“The most successful freestyle bullfighters in the BFO train like any other world-class athlete.” said BFO’s founder & CEO Aaron Ferguson. “They’re matching moves against notoriously unforgiving Spanish fighting bulls, and one small mistake can lead to big-time consequences.”

 

No matter the place, the BFO brings a noteworthy atmosphere with every live-show; and it is amped up even more under the bright lights of Las Vegas.

 

“It’s definitely an action-packed show,” Ferguson said. “We have as much intelligent lighting as a Metallica concert; it’s the best bullfighters in the world competing for a lot of money. More importantly, they’re going for the title belt.

 

“We don’t do it for the money. It’s the title belt we’re all looking for.” Hill said.

 

“The NFR is a marathon rodeo, and it’s a marathon of bullfighting at the Tropicana. We’ll fight more bulls over these coming 10 days than anyone, anywhere in the world.”


BFO Las Vegas is Growing

Bullfighters Only to add seating and activities during Las Vegas Championship

 

LAS VEGAS – In less than a month, Bullfighters Only will once again award a $50,000 bonus to the 2018 BFO world champion upon the completion of the company’s Las Vegas Championship – scheduled for Dec. 6-15 at the Tropicana Casino and Resort in Las Vegas.

 

“It’s all about showcasing the sport’s very best athletes,” said Aaron Ferguson, founder and CEO of Bullfighters Only. “By sticking to that model, our Vegas event has become something that fans crave all year long.”

 

The ten-day Las Vegas Championship alone pays out more $65,000. Of that, $25,000 goes to the event champion - a big win that could propel at least 5 of the BFO’s top bullfighters to a world championship.

 

The results of the event will also be utilized to seed competitors for the 2019 competition season.

 

“BFO Vegas is also an important opportunity for guys to get qualified for the 2019 BFO Tour,” Ferguson said.

 

The unique event venue will return to one of the Strip’s busiest intersections – Tropicana Avenue and Las Vegas Boulevard. With the addition of 600 seats and a reconfiguration of the venue layout, fans can expect an explosive and innovative production.

 

“We have been building up to this event since last year,” Ferguson said. “The talent pool is deeper than ever, the race is tight and I know the bullfighters are excited. The competition will definitely be heated.”

 

The 2018 BFO Las Vegas Championship schedule is as follows, with all performances starting at 2 PM:

 

Thursday, Dec. 6: Roughy Cup –  Stand-alone competition featuring the top nine athletes in the BFO Wrangler Bullfight Tour. The event has become a staple for BFO fans.

 

Friday, Dec. 7-Sunday, Dec. 9: Qualifier Rounds – The sport’s rising talent take get their opportunity to prove themselves at the elite level. Nine of the 27 bullfighters competing will advance to the Preliminary Rounds.

 

Monday, Dec. 10-Thursday, Dec. 13: Preliminary Rounds – The top 9 athletes in the Pendleton Whisky World Standing are joined by the Qualifier Round winners and split into Pool A & Pool B. After 2 bulls, the athlete with the highest aggregate score from each flight will advance to Championship Saturday.

 

Friday, Dec. 14: W-W Wild Card Round – Bullfighters will get one final chance to advance to Championship Saturday.

 

Saturday, Dec. 15: The 2018 BFO world champion will be crowned at the completion of a 9-man semi-finals, followed by the 3-man Hooey Championship Round.

 

The winner of the BFO Las Vegas Championship will receive a check for $25,000 and a custom Bullfighters Only title belt. The 2018 BFO World Champion will earn a $50,000 bonus.

 

Come early to enjoy the RAM Ride n’ Drive and OtterBox Tailgate Party - featuring music, food, drinks and games. Plus, hang out with the BFO bullfighters after the show during the Hooey Jam followed by the Pendleton Whisky NFR Watch Party at Robert Irvine’s inside the Tropicana.    

 

Tickets and information are available at www.BullfightersOnly.com.


Newcomer wins in Wichita

Gibson wins first BFO event; Rockin’ B & Magnifica claims Cattle Battle

WICHITA, Kan. – A year ago, Cade Gibson was taking part in his first freestyle bullfighting school with educators Cody Webster, Dusty Tuckness and Nathan Harp, all Bullfighters Only pioneers.

 

This past Saturday night, he competed in his first BFO event, the Wichita Invitational at the Hartman Arena, and marked the occasion with a victory and a $10,000 payday.

 

“It was a great event with a great atmosphere,” said Gibson, 20, of Pilot Point, Texas. “To be able to compete with guys that have been doing it for a lot of years and to hold my own was great. Sharing the locker room with them was an awesome feeling, and I’m just glad I was able to handle the bulls I had.”

 

Gibson won his first round with an 80-point fight, bettering Kris Furr, the No. 3 man in the standings, and Chance Moorman, who has been in the Top 15 for much of the season.

 

“I drew a bull from Wicked Bull Co. from North Carolina; it was the same bull Kris had in the short round in Charlotte (N.C.) a couple weeks ago,” Gibson said. “He was a good bull, real fast and real hot. I stubbed my toe a little bit, got lackadaisical, and he made me pay for it. He balled me up for a second but I tried to make a strong finish.”

 

That performance advanced him to the Hooey Championship Round, where he was matched with four other round winners: Zach Flatt, Weston Rutkowski, Beau Schueth and Ross Hill. All have big wins under their belts and had years of experience ahead of the young Texan, but Gibson shined.

 

“I went back to the locker room and looked at the draw sheet, and I saw that it had a Rockin B & Magnifica bull,” Gibson said. “I knew that whatever Brett Hall brings would be the one to win it all. I drew the best bull in the pen, so it was mine to lose.”

 

He took some strong lessons from his first bout of the day, and then battled across the Hartman Arena dirt against Rockin’ B & Magnifica’s George Jung for 90.5 points and the victory.

 

In the inaugural Total Feeds Cattle Battle, Rockin’ B & Magnifica finished the night with 659.5 points, 18 points ahead of Wicked Bull Co. Brett Hall and Miguel Nunez earned $10,000 for their herd which consisted of Spanish Angel, Bet Dream, Ranch Dog and George Jung. The four bulls the firm put together to win the inaugural BFO Cattle Battle.

 

“It worked out for us,” Hall said. “We had to think about this a different way. Take Bet Dream; he had never hooked anybody in his life, but they’re in the high 80s or low 90s on him every time they fight him. He sure tries hard, but he’s not one of the big scary bulls. He’s the one that everybody wants to fight.”

 

Wichita Invitational

Round 1: 1. Zach Flatt, 86.25 points; 2. (tie) Justin Ward and Toby Inman, 81.25 each.

Round 2: 1. Cade Gibson, 80 points; 2. Kris Furr, 79.5; 3. Chance Moorman, 79.

Round 3: Weston Rutkowski, 86.75 points; 2. Tucker Lane, 83.25; 3. Zach Call, no score.

Round 4: Beau Schueth, 84.75 points; 2. Dayton Spiel, 79.25; 3. Justin Josey, 72.25.

Round 5: Ross Hill, 82.5 points; 2. Schell Apple, 81.25; 3. Colt Oder, 75.25.

Hooey Championship Round: 1. Cade Gibson, 90.5 points; 2. Ross Hill, 86.5; 3. Beau Schueth, 80.25; 4. Zach Flatt, 78.75; 5. Weston Rutkowski, 75.75.

BFO Cattle Battle: 1. Rockin’ B & Magnifica, 659.5 points; 2. Wicked Bull Co., 641.5; 3. Crooked Horn Ranch/Flying W, 629.5; 4. Double S Bull Co., 576; 5. Frog Creek, 480.5.


Gladiators coming to Wichita

Bullfighters Only brings a showcase of danger, excitement to Hartman Arena

 

WICHITA, Kan. – Bullfighters Only will invade central Kansas on Saturday, as the world’s top freestyle bullfighters compete in the BFO Wichita Invitational at Park City’s Hartman Arena.

As has been the case the last two years, the race for the world championship is getting tight.

 

Heading into the Wichita Invitational, Weston Rutkowski owns a $5,000 lead over Toby Inman, while Kris Furr is just $3,000 behind him. Inman, who owned the top spot for a majority of the season, now finds himself trailing with a big purse on the line at Hartman Arena.

 

“The 15 athletes set to compete in Wichita are the ones who have been performing the most consistently all season long” said Luke Kaufman, Bullfighters Only Production Manager.

 

Rutkowski understands the race because he has been atop the standings each of the past two seasons. While he’s fallen a bit behind his normal pace in 2018, the reigning BFO champion overtook the lead two weeks ago in North Carolina.

 

“My preparation won’t change,” Rutkowski said. “Instead of me being No. 2 or No. 4, the standings say I’m sitting first. It doesn’t matter until the the champion is crowned in Las Vegas this December.”

 

Kris Furr’s outlook is much the same. He has been among the top 3 in the standings all season, but there is no denying that he could use a boost going into December’s BFO Las Vegas Championship.

 

“I try not to think about it too much, but if I can go in there and win, it will definitely set me up really good. Last year when we got to Vegas, everything had to fall my way for me to catch Weston. Winning Wichita would definitely help me be in position.

 

“This is going to be hard to win. It’s going to come down to who is the best bullfighter on Saturday.”

 

This is a true gladiator competition – man vs. beast in a showcase of amazing athleticism, animal aggression and acrobatic feats by the greatest bullfighters in the business. Scores are based on a 100-point scale, with half the score coming from how aggressive the animal is and the other half from the bullfighter’s ability to remain in control while maneuvering around, and, jumping over the bull.

 

The event will also play host to the inaugural BFO Total Feeds Cattle Battle. It will feature five stock contractors, with each entering a team of four fighting bulls to be judged. The top bull team will take home $10,000 cash.

 

“We want the stock contractors to bring the bulls that guys have the best chance to win on,” Kaufman said. “You’re going to see great bullfights across the board because the bulls will be fresh.”

 

The bullfighters agree.

 

“A lot of bulls you have to fight aren’t particularly fun,” said Weston Rutkowski. “These will be the ones that guys can really show off on. It’ll be a demonstration of a true bullfighting match.”

 

Kris Furr has been among the top 3 in the standings all season. He’s been around bull riding organizations that have had bull team competitions, so he knows what bullfighters can expect.

 

“By adding the two scores together, you’re allowing the bulls that you can score high on win. It’s really going to help the sport. It will help draw more bullfighters and keep the good ones healthier all year long.”

 

After being sidelined for a year and a half, BFO pioneer Ross Hill returned to action in July with a vengeance. He won three events in a row - Salinas, Kennewick and Ellensburg, before a tough match-up in Lewiston against Costa’s Spitfire threw off the streak.

 

“I don’t feel like I’ve been in a slump at all,” he said. “I haven’t fought more than nine bulls this year. I finished second once, then I got run over in Charlotte (N.C.). Rubbing is racing, as they say in NASCAR, and that’s part of bullfighting. I’ve just got started on my roll.

 

“It’s like rolling the dice; you’ve got to lose some to win it all.”

 

It’s more than a gamble, though. Bullfighters Only has reignited the fire that is freestyle bullfighting. Part of the attraction comes from the excitement and overall entertainment value that comes from the BFO’s live event production.

 

‘Bullfighting has been around for a long time, but nobody’s putting on the production we’re trying to do,” Kaufman said. “We’re putting on a world-class bullfight, so we want to have a world-class production to go with it. You wouldn’t see Conor McGregor without a substantial show around him, and these guys deserve that, too.”

 

Kaufman grew up around event production and was involved in the formation of the now defunct freestyle bullfighting league, Ultimate Bullfighting (UBF). The platform has been noted by BFO’s founder, Aaron Ferguson, as one of the original inspirations for Bullfighters Only.

 

“People want to be entertained,” he said. “Even though the BFO is the most dangerous sport in the world, you have to captivate people other ways too. We want to keep it fun and energetic, and our shows are very fast-paced.”


Furr visits Victory Lane

North Carolinian wins first BFO event at Charlotte Motor Speedway

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Ravenous fans packed around the Bullfighter Only arena Sunday morning at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

 

Not your typical BFO fans though - this was the first collaborative event with Bullfighters Only and Speedway Motorsports, showcasing the BFO’s best freestyle bullfighters at the NASCAR Bank of America ROVAL 400.

 

“It was really cool to look around and see all the different people that were around,” said Kris Furr, the inaugural BFO-Charlotte champion from nearby Hamptonville, N.C. “The atmosphere was just crazy. There was one set of bleachers, so everybody was standing around the arena. People were right on top of you, and the grandstands for the race were right over you too.

 

“You could look up and see a ton of people looking down at you. It was pretty amazing.”

 

So was Furr. He posted the highest-marked fight, scoring 85 points to win his round. He advanced to the finale, where he was joined by two-time reigning world champion Weston Rutkowski of Haskell, Texas, and Tucker Lane of Oak Grove, Mo.

 

There, Furr outscored the field with an 82-point bout; Rutkowski was the runner-up with 79 points, and Tucker Lane received a no-score – he was unable to complete the fight after taking a serious blow from his short-round bull.

 

“I felt really good about my fights,” Furr said. “Because of the setup, it was a little different, and that was the first time we’ve fought crossbred bulls. I’m pretty happy with both fights, especially my first-round bullfight.”

 

By winning the title, he pocketed $5,000 and pushed to No. 3 in the Pendleton Whisky World Standings. As an added bonus, he got to show his talent in front of a few dozen friends and family members that were in attendance.

 

“It was different seeing several people I’ve known most of my life,” he said. “Everybody that was at Fan Fest was there watching us. We drew the whole crowd, so that was incredible just to be part of it.”

 

After the bullfights concluded, the bullfighters and other BFO personnel made their way inside the stadium to catch the race.

 

“The race was awesome,” Furr said. “We went out into the infield for the first part, then we went to a suite. It was amazing to experience the race in that way.”

 

CONTESTANTS

Round 1: 1. Tucker Lane, 81.5 points; 2. Toby Inman, 80; Ross Hill, 77.

Round 2: 1. Weston Rutkowski, 83 points; 2. Beau Schueth, 78; Riley McKettrick, 76.

Round 3: 1. Kris Furr, 85 points; 2. Justin Josey, 78; Chase Blyth, 74.

Hooey Championship Round: 1. Kris Furr, 82 points; 2. Weston Rutkowski, 79; 3. Tucker Lane, no score.


Bull Power Meets Horsepower

Bullfighters Only part of Charlotte Motor Speedway race day experience

 

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Bullfighters Only is teaming up with Speedway Motorsports to showcase freestyle bullfighting to NASCAR fans for the first time in the sports’ history.

 

This coming Sunday, Sept. 30, nine of the BFO’s top athletes will be featured at Charlotte Motor Speedway’s Bank of America ROVAL 400. Three qualifying rounds of bullfights will take, with the winner of each advancing to the Hooey Championship Round at 12:15 ET.

 

“At Charlotte Motor Speedway, we’re all about providing added value for our fans, and partners like Bullfighters Only help elevate our major event weekends to new heights,” said Greg Walter, executive vice president of Charlotte Motor Speedway. “With horsepower on display on the track and bull power in the Fan Zone, there truly is something for everyone to enjoy here at America’s Home for Racing.”

 

The roster is highlighted by veterans Ross Hill, Toby Inman, Kris Furr and two-time reigning world champion Weston Rutkowski. The solid cast of the sport’s rising stars includes Chance Moorman, Tucker Lane and Riley McKetterick, who will all make a bid for the coveted Charlotte title.

 

“This is a first-of-its-kind collaboration between Bullfighters Only and Speedway Motorsports,” said Aaron Ferguson, founder and CEO of Bullfighters Only. “BFO fits perfect with NASCAR because there’s so much crossover between the two sports and our fans. They’re both high powered and dangerous, with a good chance of seeing some big-time wrecks.”

 

Bullfighters Only is the premier freestyle bullfighting organization in North America that features the most elite athletes in the sport. It’s a gladiator event, man vs. beast in a battle of athleticism, wit and danger. Bullfighters have a total of 60 seconds to engage an agile and aggressive bull that was bred for this kind of fight.

 

Each move is countered, and points tell the tale. Bouts are judged on a 100-point scale, with half the points coming from the bull’s aggressiveness, and the rest coming from the bullfighter’s ability to stay close to the bull while maneuvering around and, sometimes, over the animal.

 

“I think it’s pretty cool that we have an opportunity to show our sport off to NASCAR fans,” said Kris Furr, the fourth-ranked bullfighter in the BFO Pendleton Whisky World Standings. Furr hails from Hamptonville, N.C., right in the heart of NASCAR country. “It’s probably the best merger we can have in my opinion.”

 

It is appropriate that BFO’s first presentation is taking place at this particular race, where for the first time, drivers will battle for Victory Lane by maneuvering around a one-of-a-kind playoff road course.

 

“People are excited about it. It’s good to come out to the East Coast and will be an opportunity for a lot of people to see BFO for the first time. Some of my family and friends will finally get to come and watch me compete.”

 

There is no denying that Bullfighters Only has reignited mainstream interest in freestyle bullfighting, and the popularity is only growing. The Charlotte event will serve as a pilot for potential event partnerships between Bullfighters Only and Speedway Motorsports in 2019 and beyond.

 

Speedway Motorsports, Inc. (SMI) is a leading marketer, promoter and sponsor of motorsports activities in the United States. The Company, through its subsidiaries, owns and operates eight first-class racing facilities in significant markets across the country.

 

“I think that this is going to open up a bigger and broader fan base for myself and for the BFO,” Furr concluded. “Being part of these events, you’ve got the opportunity to draw more fans and more sponsors.”  

 


D-Camps improving success rates

Freestyle bullfighters gain key tools through BFO

 

DECATUR, TX - Every true athlete knows that having a good coach is instrumental to developing the skills necessary to compete.

 

For the rising stars of Bullfighters Only, that intense training comes in the form of the BFO Development Camps. A quick look at the Pendleton Whisky World Standings reveals just how successful the “D-Camps” have been, with several graduates showing success including Dayton Spiel, Colt Oder, Chance Moorman, Justin Ward, Andres Gonzalez, Riley McKetterick and more.

 

“The camp helped me by beating the fear of going up against a Mexican fighting bull,” said Andrès Gonzalez, who attended the D-Camp in San Bernardino, Calif., in the spring of 2017. “It made me more aggressive toward the bulls and taught me techniques as far as throwing fakes and making rounds with a bull.

 

“Mostly, though, it just helped me be more confident.”

 

Gonzalez showcased that confidence on Labor Day weekend by winning the BFO stops at both Anaheim, Calif., and Fresno, Calif. He’s just another of the young guns who are bringing their talent to the premier freestyle bullfights in the game. Others will have those opportunities at the upcoming D-Camp in Decatur, Texas on Oct. 26-28.

 

“The D-Camps are so impactful; just look at the results we are producing,” said Ross Hill, a BFO pioneer who recently returned from the injured list and is one of the hottest bullfighters in the game this season.

 

“There are no other bullfighting schools putting out bullfighters like the BFO.”

 

Also in the top 10 in the standings are Justin Ward and Chance Moorman, two more bullfighters who came through this year’s D-Camps. With just two events this season under his belt, Gonzalez has moved to 20th.

 

“It’s an intense couple of days, and you get to learn from the best, even from your own idols,” he said, noting that his camp in California was taught by Aaron Ferguson, BFO’s founder, and Lance Brittan, the 1999 Wrangler Bullfights world champion. “It makes you want to push even harder and be more intense. You want to show what you’ve got in front of those kind of guys.”

 

Bullfighters Only also offers something normal camps don’t: It has the full backing and support of Fit N Wise Sports Medicine. The Decatur D-Camp will once again utilize the world-class facilities at Fit N Wise, while demonstrating the little things that help make a bullfighter successful.

 

“One of the key things with the camps is they learn from the best freestyle bullfighters out there,” said Keith Skates, the rodeo sports medicine coordinator for Bullfighters Only and Fit N Wise. “They get to come into our clinic, and we get to expose them to techniques and treatments they haven’t seen before.”

 

From proper training to nutrition secrets to the types of things the athletes need to do to care for and prevent injuries, Skates and his team take a hands-on approach with the campers.

 

“They get to work with Clif Cooper, a trainer who knows these athletes,” Skates said of Cooper, a four-time National Finals Rodeo qualifier in tie-down roping. “Clif has been with us for 18 months and is definitely a big asset to our company.

 

“We’re going to expose them to treatment. The truth is, you’re going to be sore and hurt. So what are you going to do to get yourself healthy? And what are you going to do to try to keep from getting injured?”

 

It’s that type of all-encompassing training that makes the BFO D-Camps an important fixture for young talent hoping to make a living in freestyle bullfighting.

 

“The D-Camp is for the guys that are going to the amateur freestyle bullfights and are wanting to be on the professional tour with the BFO,” Hill said. “Students learn to win at our camps, so basically it’s for the guys that want better results.”


Overtime pays off for Schueth

Nebraskan battles through wild card to win Wrangler Tour stop in Lewiston

 

LEWISTON, Idaho – Beau Schueth fought more bulls last week during the Lewiston Roundup than any other man in Bullfighters Only, and he made it pay off with the BFO Wrangler Bullfight tour victory.

 

Schueth scored an 85-point bout in the opening round but finished second to Ross Hill, who posted an event-high 91-point fight on opening night. That sent Shueth to Friday’s wild card round, where he scored 83 points to advance to Saturday’s Hooey Championship Round.

 

“Ross had a good, clean fight with a hot bull in the first round,” said Schueth of O’Neill, Neb. “If I hadn’t gotten hooked twice, I would’ve had a chance to be closer to Ross, but I’ll take what I got.

 

“It means a lot to come through the wild card and win. Last year it was just two days, and I won my round, but the highest score got the rifle. I was 89 points on the first day, and Justin Josey fought (2017 BFO Bull of the Year) Sid Vicious the second day and beat me by half a point.”

 

The Nebraskan now owns the Henry Golden Boy 30-30 rifle, and he’s happy to put it on display in his home. He also pocketed $5,500 and moved to No. 3 in the Pendleton Whisky World Standings. That’s valuable as he makes his late-season chase for the 2018 BFO world title.

 

The key was having the right bull in the final round. Schueth matched moves with Costa Fighting Bulls’ Portuguese Power for 86 points, edging Hill’s 83 and Josey’s 80 to win the championship.

 

“That was my third time fighting Portuguese Power,” Schueth said. “I would have been happy with any of those bulls, but it was good to see him. I knew I’d really have to push on him and keep him going. That bull really fired, and we got it pretty close to the chute.

 

“I’ve been drawing older, smarter bulls that have made me work for it. To put a complete fight together meant a lot and pumped me up.”

 

His second win of the season came with the appreciation of a packed crowd in Lewiston. Fans have grown fond of the shows that BFO produces. The revolutionary group hosted a successful stand-alone event there in 2017, and have been appearing at the community’s rodeo since 2016.

 

“Anything with Bullfighters Only is great,” said Kirby Meshishnek, one of the directors for the Lewiston Roundup. “In the three years we’ve had the BFO, we’ve never had a bad night. The crowd loves it.

 

“BFO adds a different type of Western excitement; it’s an action sport. It brings a different audience to the rodeo. It brings your wild and reckless group, not just your average rancher that loves rodeo.”


Veteran trending up-Hill

 Hill victorious at two Washington Wrangler Bullfight Tour stops

 

LEWISTON, IDAHO - Ross Hill’s comeback is complete.

 

The Bullfighters Only veteran suffered a devastating knee injury in 2016 that took him out of competition for a year and a half. He returned in July, then promptly won the BFO Wrangler Bullfight Tour stop at California Rodeo Salinas.

 

He’s competed in three Wrangler Bullfight Tour stops since then, and he’s found his way to Victory Lane in all three rounds. He picked up the Round 1 win with 91 points at the Lewiston Roundup on Wednesday, and overall titles in both Kennewick and Ellensburg. He will compete for the Lewiston title on Saturday night.

 

“I was so ready to fight again that the success is just happening,” said Hill, 35 of Muscle Shoals, Ala. “I thrive on being the best I can be and beating my bulls. Last night and Ellensburg were just perfects bull for high-scoring fights.”

 

Last Friday night, Hill earned the Ellensburg title with an agile 86.5-point fight, showing the packed crowd that his knee injury is well behind him. The weekend before in Kennewick, he posted a 77-point score, tieing Justin Ward, but Hill earned the title on the tie-breaker with the highest bullfighter score.

 

“The top of the standings is where everyone wants to be, of course,” he said. “I’m climbing the ladder as fast as possible; I’m just beating my bulls.”

 

The “Alabama Slamma’” has certainly been on a roll. He has now pocketed more than $10,000 and has moved into the top 10 in the Pendleton Whisky World Standings.

 

“My goals are the same; I have a clear, concise vision, and I’m running for it daily and living a dream.”

 

His recent success on the BFO Wrangler Bullfight Tour is all part of his plan to compete at the BFO Las Vegas Championship, held Dec. 6-15 at Tropicana Las Vegas. It’s BFO’s pinnacle event and features the biggest prize money in the game.

 

“I’m so excited about Vegas, but right now Lewiston is in my sights,” he said. “I have to keep my focus on one bull at a time.”


Gonzalez takes titles

Californian jumps into BFO standings with wins in Anaheim, Fresno

 

FRESNO, Calif. - The first time Andrés "Sasquatch" Gonzalez stepped around a Spanish fighting bull was during a Bullfighters Only Development Camp in San Bernardino, Calif last April.

 

The lessons he learned paid off this past weekend with two key BFO victories during Tour stops in conjunction with Pepe Aguilar concerts in Anaheim, Calif., and Fresno, Calif. It was a solid introduction to the BFO’s Pendleton Whisky World Standings.

 

“It was an amazing experience,” said Gonzalez, 21, of Woodland, Calif., just northwest of Sacramento. “I never expected that. I just thank God for giving me the power and ability to do it. I was able to give the people a good show as well.”

 

It’s not to bad for a man that was introduced to freestyle bullfighting just a year and a half ago in San Bernardino during the D-Camp featuring instructors Aaron Ferguson, the founder and CEO of the BFO, and Lance Brittan, the 1999 Wrangler Bullfights world champion.

 

 

 

Gonzalez won Saturday night’s show in Anaheim with an 87-point bout. It was the first time he had ever attempted to jump a bull.

 

“I had a cool little bull, probably one of the hottest bulls out that night,” he said. “I just tried to break him down and make some good rounds. I ended on a good note by jumping him. I got my leg taken out on the jump, so I landed with my face in the dirt.”

 

“The second night was even better, and the bull was way better than the night before,” he said. “You just react and move. When you have to think about it, that’s when things go the wrong way.”

 

Gonzalez ran toward the animal, he leaped straight up, spread his legs, and the bull ran straight through. He finished with two more fakes and another round and earned his first career score above 90 – an event-winning 92 points.

 

In just two BFO events in the 2018 season, Gonzalez moves to 20th in the Pendleton Whisky World Standings. 

 

“My family was always around rodeo, even charro shows,” he said. “I started as a bull rider, but I was too heavy. One day at a rodeo, they asked me to step around some during the bull riding. On the second bull out, I got line-drived, and I realized I liked bullfighting more than I liked bull riding.”

 

That was about six years ago. "Sasquatch" has worked cowboy protection, so he has a strong understanding of what it means to be around bulls. But competing in freestyle bullfighting is a different game altogether.

 

“Now that I was able to win, I want to go for it all,” Gonzalez said. “I want to win the world championships.”


Bull power on display

BFO Cattle Battles will showcase first-of-its-kind fighting bull competition series

 

WICHITA, Kan. – When Bullfighters Only reignited the freestyle bullfighting industry three seasons ago, they knew having great animals in the mix was vital.

“The expedited growth and popularity of freestyle bullfighting has sparked a rise in the stock contracting side of the industry as well,” said Aaron Ferguson, founder and CEO of Bullfighters Only.

 

“For that reason, we’re partnering up with Total Feeds to unveil our new ‘BFO Cattle Battles’. This will be a first-of-its-kind fighting bull competition series, with the flagship event taking place at the Wichita Invitational on Oct. 20.

 

Stock Contractors will be invited to enter a team of their top 4 Spanish fighting bulls. Scores will be tabulated at the end of the competition, and a BFO Cattle Battle champion will be crowned.

 

“We’re always striving to have the best bulls around,” said Luke Kaufman, Bullfighters Only’s Production Manager. “Four years ago, there were only a few guys in the country that had a herd of fighting bulls. Now there are upwards of 20. It’s great that they’re out there and want to be part of this industry.”

 

The incentive is in the $15,000 payout, with the top bull team taking home $10,000. They will be matched with the very best bullfighters in the game, including the top three men in the standings: Toby Inman, Weston Rutkowski and Kris Furr.

 

“BFO only plays host to sport’s the top athletes and this helps us ensure that they’re fighting against the best bulls available.”

 

The Wichita Invitational will take place at Hartman Arena, a 5,000-seat multi-purpose complex in Park City, Kan., just north of Wichita. It will feature the top 15 men in the BFO Pendleton Whisky World Standings and nearly two dozen competition bulls.

 

“We’re looking for the type of bulls that guys can be a lot of points on,” Kaufman said. “We don’t want bulls that are known for wrecking bullfighters out; we want the bulls who guys can be above 85 points on every time, but can’t stub their toe.”


Bullfighters Only is coming to Wichita

Bullfighters Only’s best are set to compete during major event at Hartman Arena

 

WICHITA, Kan. – Bullfighters Only will invade central Kansas on Oct. 20. The world’s top freestyle bullfighters will compete for over $25,000 in prize money at the Hartman Arena near Park City.

 

Tickets start at just $25 and go on sale this Friday, Aug. 17. They can be purchased at www.ticketmaster.com or directly from the Hartman Arena box office.

 

BFO Freestyle Bullfighting is a true gladiator competition – man vs. beast in a showcase of amazing athleticism, animal aggression and acrobatic feats by the greatest bullfighters in the business.

 

“This will be our first time in Wichita, and it’s going to be a great event,” said Luke Kaufman, BFO’s production manager. “The top 15 bullfighters in the Pendleton Whisky World Standings are already set to compete.”

 

Scores are based on a 100-point scale. Half of which is rewarded based on the bullfighter’s ability stay as close to the animal as possible, while maneuvering around and oftentimes jumping over the bulls. The other half comes from the aggressiveness of the animal and its willingness to stay hooked up throughout the fight.

 

“I’m going to get rested and ready to compete in Wichita,” said Weston Rutkowski, the two-time reigning BFO world champion, who is in a tight race for the lead in the standings with veteran Toby Inman. “I want to be at my best when I get there.”

 

BFO-Wichita will be the last big stop for all the top players to make a move in the standings before heading to the Las Vegas Championship, which will take place Dec. 7-15 at Tropicana Las Vegas. The event will determine BFO’s World Champion and it features the largest prize money in the game.

 

Kris Furr sits No. 3 in the standings, and, like Inman and Rutkowski, is planning on having his wounds healed by Oct. 20. They’ve suffered the wrecks and consequences that come with playing one of the most dangerous games in all of action sports.

 

While they’re healing, a cast of rising stars are making the moves necessary to be part of that exclusive field in Wichita.

 

“This is the most talented group of young bullfighters we’ve ever seen,” Kaufman said. “They have taken advantage of the BFO Development Camps, and they come into these events ready to win.”

 

Bullfighters Only and Total Feeds will now give stock contractors and fighting bulls an opportunity to compete as well.

 

“We’ll unveil our new ‘BFO Cattle Battles’ at the Wichita event. It’s a first-of-its-kind fighting bull competition series where stock contractors are invited to enter a team of their meanest bulls. The winner will walk away with $10,000”.

 

It also ensures that the bullfighters will be matched with only the best Spanish Fighting Bulls, all of which have been bred for this type of fight. Contractors like Rockin’ B & Magnifica, Frog Creek, B-K Ranch, and Crooked Horn Ranch have already confirmed their spots to compete.


Rutkowski gains ground in Sikeston

SIKESTON, Mo. – Weston Rutkowski knew he needed a break, a chance to heal his wounds and refocus his attention, but he had to take care of business first.

 

He did that Thursday and Friday by winning both rounds and the overall championship at the Bullfighters Only Wrangler Bullfights Tour stop at the Sikeston Bootheel Jaycee Rodeo.

 

Rutkowski posted the highest-marked fight in the opening round, matching moves with Knox and Cross Dunn’s King Kong for 87 points. He followed that with a second round-winning 83 to take the crown.

 

“It’s been a pretty long summer, so this was good,” said Rutkowski, the reigning two-time world champion from Haskell, Texas. “I started off pretty hot, then things kind of fell apart for me. I didn’t pick up the wins like I needed to, then I got banged up in Salinas (Calif.)."

 

With the victory, he earned $4,200 and moved up to second place in the Pendleton Whisky World Standings. Rutkowski now sits just $108 behind Toby Inman of Davis Junction, Ill.

 

“That’s all fine and dandy, but that’s not the focus,” Rutkowski said. “As long as you’re within tracking distance when we get to Vegas, you’ve got a shot.”

 

The world champion will be crowned after the conclusion of the Las Vegas Championship, held annually at the Tropicana Hotel & Casino and featuring the biggest prize money in the game.

 

“It’s nice to sneak away with a win when you’re still not fully healthy. That was a good one to win; no matter the outcome, I was going to take some time off and heal up.”

 

Rukowski will take the next month and a half off to get his body back in shape for BFO’s upcoming battles.

 

“It’s that time of year when your body is just beat up and worn out,” he said. “You have to stick through it, grind it out and hope you can pick up a few dollars here and there.”

 

SIKESTON RESULTS

1. Weston Rutkowski, 170/2

2. Tucker Lane, 164/2

3. Beau Schueth, 160/2

4. Schell Apple, 156/2

5. Toby Inman, 86/2

6. Kris Furr, 78/2



Moorman wins first BFO

SIDNEY, Iowa – Chance Moorman knew he needed to do something big during the final night of the Bullfighters Only Wrangler Bullfights Tour stop at Iowa’s Championship Rodeo in Sidney.

 

The young Texan started his championship round fight with a perfectly executed front flip, then proceeded to keep the animal engaged with solid fakes and well-timed rounds.

 

“My good friend Tucker Lane went first and got a real hot red bull and put on a fantastic fight,” said Moorman of Lytle, Texas. “I was just sitting there thinking that I had to go big; pull out all the stops.”

 

The result was a round-tying 86-point fight, with the Texan taking the victory on the tie-breaker: highest bullfighter score. Though his bull wasn’t on him like Lane’s was, Moorman continued to maintain his presence with the animal for the full 60 seconds.

 

“I knew I had to start with my signature front flip,” he said of the maneuver, which he also used in his first-round winning 88-point fight.

 

Not bad for a kid who celebrated his 18th birthday just one day prior. Only four months before, he took part in the BFO Development Camps – the first in Houston, the second in San Bernardino, Calif. Now he’s a BFO event champion.

 

“It’s long-awaited,” he said. “I haven’t been fighting bulls very long, but I’ve been to four BFO events and nearly won two of them. I’ve been itching to pick up my game and earn that win.”

 

For winning the championship, he pocketed $2,500 and moved up a few spots to 9th in the Pendleton Whisky World Standings. Moorman hopes to utilize that momentum as he closes out the BFO regular season and heads into his first Las Vegas Championship in December.

 

“This helped me in a major way, because I’ve been sitting just outside the top 10,” Moorman said. “I’m super competitive and hate losing, so knowing I can win is going to make me want it more and more.”


Apple collects valuable win

Oklahoma man uses wit and athleticism to win BFO-Dodge City title

 

DODGE CITY, Kan. – Schell Apple knew he had to be the aggressor during Tuesday night’s Bullfighters Only Wrangler Bullfights at the Dodge City Roundup Rodeo.

 

He matched moves with a young bull from Rockin’ B & Magnifica for 81 points, winning the prestigious Dodge City event title and the lion’s share of the prize money. He will move up a few places to 11th in the Pendleton Whisky World Standings, with several events left on the season.

 

“This means a lot and it’s really cool,” said Apple of Fay, Okla. “I’ve been putting in the work, and trying real hard. I’m trying to tap into the talent that God’s given me. This victory is not for me; it’s for Him.”

 

Apple outscored two of the BFO’s best - both sitting well within the top 10: #6 man Beau Schueth and the #3 ranked and two-time defending world champion, Weston Rutkowski. Both Schueth and Rutkowski finished with 77 points.

 

The three bullfighters were matched with a less experienced set of bulls Tuesday, which required each athlete to formulate a different game plan through their 60-second bouts.

 

“Brett Hall with Rockin’ B & Magnifica is our 2017 Stock Contractor of the Year,” Apple said. “He approached me before the event and said the bulls are fresh. That means one of two things: They could be real flighty, or they could be real hot. You have to prepare yourself mentally for both those things.

 

In the dangerous game of freestyle bullfighting, the men who find the most success utilize their understanding of the animals just as much as the athleticism. That’s one of the reasons Apple found Victory Lane.

 

“I knew I’d have to push him. I slowed things down from the beginning to keep that bull engaged as much as I could.”

 

“It’s a the fighter’s mentality, so it’s either him or me,” he said. “You’ve got to channel that every time. There are times when you’re the one who comes out on top but there’s a little bit of fear every time you do it; if you’re not scared, there’s something wrong.  

 

“You’ve got to channel those nerves and use them to your advantage.”

 

RESULTS

1. Schell Apple, 81 points

2/3. (tie) Weston Rutkowski & Beau Schueth, 77.


BFO-Vegas is growing

More seating, more performances to be part of BFO Las Vegas Championship

LAS VEGAS – Sin City’s hottest spot during the National Final Rodeo can be found at the southeast corner of Las Vegas Boulevard and Tropicana Avenue. The Bullfighters Only Las Vegas Championship returns to Tropicana Casino and Resort - Thursday, Dec. 6 through Saturday, Dec. 15.

 

“We had eight incredible days of competition last year,” said Aaron Ferguson, founder and CEO of Bullfighters Only. “This year we’ve upped the ante, so to speak. We’re going to increase our performances, and we’re going to have a larger venue to allow for more fans to enjoy the show.”

 

The BFO is the premier league for freestyle bullfighting, with talented athletes testing their skills, and abilities against equally athletic bulls that have been bred for their aggression. The Bullfighters Only Las Vegas is the “Super Bowl” of the sport.

 

“We had incredible crowds last year, and the word is continuing to spread,” Ferguson said. “There is high demand, people want to see what Bullfighters Only is all about.”

 

That demand is high because the BFO features the most talented bullfighters in the game. Weston Rutkowski is the two-time reigning world champion and the first man in the history of freestyle bullfighting to earn more than $115,000 in a year.

 

The world-class competition takes place at 2 p.m. daily, with the first performance featuring the top nine bullfighters in the Standings competing for the fourth annual Roughy Cup.

 

But it’s not just the proven stars who will be showcasing their talents inside the massive tent at the Tropicana; the young, rising talent in freestyle bullfighting will have opportunities to prove themselves through a series of qualifier events.

 

And no matter the status of a bullfighter, each will be challenged by the most athletic, agile and impressive bulls in the game. The BFO will feature animal athletes from a variety of the nation’s top fighting bull contractors.

 

“Tropicana Casino and Resort is affordable for people coming to Vegas that time of year,” Ferguson said, referring to rooms starting at $45 per night. “It’s right on The Strip and has easy access to all things rodeo during NFR. Plus, it’s just down the road from the Thomas & Mack Center.”

 

From the world-class production that is BFO freestyle bullfighting, to the Hooey Jam after each show at Robert Irvine’s, there is a spectacle every day. The Las Vegas Championship will feature a purse of more than $50,000, with the world champion set to receive an additional $50,000 bonus.

 

To the victor go the spoils. Tickets to the Las Vegas Championship at the Tropicana Casino and Resort go on sale Aug. 31 at www.BullfightersOnly.com.

 

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Hard work pays off in Salinas

Hill completes comeback during BFO Wrangler Bullfight Tour stop

SALINAS, Calif. – Between them, Ross Hill and Nathan Harp have undergone two surgeries and two years of rehabilitation over the last 14 months.

 

Their persistence paid off this past weekend at the Bullfighters Only Wrangler Bullfight Tour stop at California Rodeo Salinas. Hill won the overall crown by winning the final two nights of freestyle bullfighting, edging Harp by just half a point in the process, 326.5 to the Okie’s 326.

 

“Starting out fresh, I knew by the final round on Sunday that I would have it figured out,” said Hill, a BFO pioneer who has missed the last year and a half of action. “I had to get back into the swing of things, but after the first two rounds, I felt like I could dial it back in like I knew how to fight a bad Spanish bull.”

 

Hill had a serious ACL tear, with the original injury occurring in 2009 and compounding from there. He reinjured the same knee twice in 2016, which caused additional damage to his meniscus. Surgery took place this past January, and he was cleared to compete again last week.

 

“It feels good to know my knee is in good shape,” said Hill of Muscle Shoals, Ala. “I have a lot of confidence about my physical condition. My knee feels amazing. This is the first year that I can remember not being sore.”

 

The “Alabama Slammer” won the Salinas title for the third time in his career: He shared the title with fellow BFO pioneer Dusty Tuckness in 2007, then won it outright the following year. Those that have tracked his progress since surgery knew it would be possible.

 

“When he injured it many years ago, then re-did it again in 2016, that was the final straw,” said Keith Skates, the sports medicine coordinator for Fit N Wise Sports Medicine and Bullfighters Only. “When Dr. (Bob) Clifford did the surgery, he noticed that Ross had two bucket-handle tears in his meniscus. To have one was pretty intense, but to have two is an even bigger deal.

“The ACL was so ruptured that it started to grow through his PCL.”

 

That was a lot of work to be done on one knee. Harp knows about that. When he was injured in April 2017, his surgeon had to repair the ACL, a torn MCL and torn meniscus. He went back to work in cowboy protection this past December, but Salinas was his first time back in a freestyle competition.

 

“It was great to be back in front of some fighting bulls,” said Harp of Tuttle, Okla. “I’ve fought a lot of rodeos since December, but to nod my head for one for 60 seconds was exciting. I was at the most peace and had the most fun at a freestyle bullfight in a long time. It felt good to be back and enjoying it the way it’s supposed to be.”

 

With the victory, Hill took the lion’s share of the payout, earning $6,400. Harp collected $5,400. Both paydays will come in handy as the men look to qualify for the BFO Las Vegas Championship, which takes place annually at Tropicana Hotel & Casino and featuring the biggest prize money in the game.

 

“The guys at Fit N Wise helped me in getting my physical conditioning back,” Hill said. “I’d go in there every day and do workouts. We’d steadily progress my workouts. As I’d gotten stronger, the workouts were more intense. I was feeling better than I had in a long time.”

 

That’s exactly how Harp felt through the four rounds of tough competition in Salinas.

 

“I definitely wanted to win, but it was awesome to see Ross make his comeback,” Harp said. “I remember how it was when I first came back to work. I don’t know if I could win an event on my first bull back. For him to do that against the competition there, it was pretty awesome to see.”

 

RESULTS

1. Ross Hill, 326.5 points on four fights; 2. Nathan Harp, 326; 3. Zach Flatt, 321; 4. Cody Emerson, 319.5; 5. Weston Rutkowski, 316.5; 6. Toby Inman, 309.5.


Oder wins home-state title

California’s Colt Oder stands tall among the Red Woods

 

FORTUNA, Calif. – Colt Oder only thought he’d been to the northern reaches of his home-state before.

 

“I’ve been to San Francisco, but another four or five hours further and I wasn’t sure that I’d still be in California.”

 

Raised in the southern California town of Moorpark, Oder found true north on Friday when he competed in the Bullfighters Only stand-alone event in Fortuna, Calif. Not only was it his first time competing among the Sequoia trees and rowdy fans that Fortuna is known for, he also walked away as the event champion.

 

“I had a pretty weak first round and didn’t think I was going to make it out, but the cards played in my favor and I made the short round,” said Oder, who won his opening round with a 79-point fight, then put together an 86-point bout with Costa Fighting Bulls’ Little Foot to claim the top prize and $6,000.

 

“Colt is one of the most persistent people I’ve ever met,” commented BFO’s Founder & CEO, Aaron Ferguson. “He’s been to five of our Development Camps in two years and is getting better with every bull that he fights. Pair that with his unbelievable toughness, and the kid is going to be a big factor in the sport.”

 

Oder was joined in the Hooey Championship Round by the other three of the BFO’s most promising rookies: Alex McWilliams of Paso Robles, Calif.; Tucker Lane of Oak Grove, Mo.; and Chance Moorman of Lytle, Texas.

 

“I fought Little Foot last year in Lewiston (Idaho), and I didn’t capitalize on it,” said Oder, who also scored his first BFO win in Crosby, Texas, earlier this year. “When I got back to the short round here and I had Little Foot, I knew I had a good opportunity to make up for it.

 

“I was pretty happy to have Little Foot in the short round. He’s a solid, honest bull that will come to you with a lot of head for the whole bullfight. Once you’re in a zone, you’ll stay hooked up with you. I knew I could do a solid flat-foot jump right out of the gate.”

 

The victory propels the California bullfighter ahead in the Pendleton Whisky World Standings with $16,400. The recent windfall should ensure Oder’s berth into the 2018 BFO Las Vegas Championship, held annually at Tropicana Hotel & Casino and featuring the biggest prize money in the game.

 

“This is a huge confidence booster for me,” Oder said. “It was great to get the win in my home state. The money should bump me up a little bit in the standings, and I was needing it.”

 

RESULTS

Round 1: 1. Alex McWilliams, 82.5 points; 2. Miles Barry, 79; 3. Kris Furr, 0.

Round 2: 1. Tucker Lane, 85 points; 2. Knox Dunn, 81; 3. Seth Wilson, 0.

Round 3: 1. Chance Moorman, 87 points; 2. Justin Ward, 84.5; 3. Justin Josey, 76.

Round 4: 1. Colt Oder, 79 points; 2. Beau Schueth, 77.5; 3. Eli Sharkey, 77.

Championship Round: 1. Colt Oder, 86 points; 2. Chance Moorman, 84; 3. Tucker Lane, 82; 4. Alex McWilliams, 0. 

Rookie talent shining in city of lights

Moorman fights 2 bulls to win his flight; Gibson posts highest marking

 

LAS VEGAS – One bull wasn’t enough for Chance Moorman on Tuesday afternoon during the second day of the Flexfit Preliminary Round of the Bullfighters Only Las Vegas Championship.

 

Late in his initial bullfight, Moorman was awarded a refight. Since he was the last of the nine men to fight, he only had about five minutes to prepare for his second bout.

 

That was all the time he needed, though, producing 84.5-points against Rockin’ B & Magnifica’s Papa Smurf to win his flight and have the advantage heading into his second preliminary round on Thursday afternoon.

 

“After my first bull, my ribs were really hurting,” Moorman said, pointing out that he suffered the injury last week during the Qualifier Rounds.

 

“That first bull hit me pretty good, and that’s what was holding me up on making the decision to take the option for the refight. Once I heard the score, I knew that wasn’t going to do. I knew right then I had to take it.

 

“It was pretty hard, because my legs were tired already. It was just a mess from the beginning, but I went out there and did what I do.”

 

It worked out, and the Lytle, Texas, bullfighter controlled his foe through the entire 60-second battle. He posted the second highest score, just behind Cade Gibson of Pilot Point, Texas, who matched moves with his bull for 86.5 points. He has just a half-point lead over Roughy Cup champion Beau Schueth.

 

“We’ve been looking at that round since the list came out,” Gibson said.

 

“All the bullfighters decided that was going to be one of the toughest prelims going, because Beau is a stud, and Justin (Ward) is great and content to step in and do some big things.

 

“I’m just blessed to come out on top.”

 

The Las Vegas Championship format requires all of the athletes to face two bulls. The top two-fight cumulative scores in all six flights will advance to the Hooey Championship Round on Saturday. The remaining combatants will battle for the final six spots in Friday’s W-W Wild Card Round.

 

Both Gibson and Moorman knew they had to step it up.

 

“For me to make it to Saturday, I’ve got to maintain the two-point lead I have over Kris right no,” said Moorman. “I’m not going to give it up without a fight.”

 

Gibson’s lead is much closer, and Schueth is an experienced veteran who can close the gap quickly.

 

“I was bummed at myself that I didn’t get to close the fight with a sell,” Gibson said. “Beau hit that spine grind on his sell, and that’s his signature. Getting a sell would have given me a little bit of a cushion going into Saturday.

 

“I’ve just got to keep it simple, fight my bull and enjoy the time. There are a lot of bullfighters that wish they could be in our shoes. I’m just ready to get another one under my belt. I felt like the winner from this flight is going to be able to contend for the championship.”