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.”
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.”
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
“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.”
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.”
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.”
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.”
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.