Tuckness strikes again

Wyoming man earns 2nd straight win at BFO Cavender’s Cup in Decatur

DECATUR, Texas – Dusty Tuckness is a busy man, one of the most sought-after cowboy protectors in ProRodeo. But Bullfighters Only is an important part of the Wyoming man’s life. He’s one of the original founders of the company, and he loves to compete in freestyle bullfights when his schedule allows.


He’s pretty good at it, too, and he proved it Friday night during the Bullfighters Only Cavender’s Cup Presented by Bodyguard Bumpers at the Wise County Fairgrounds. He posted the two highest-scoring fights of the night and earned his second straight BFO stand-alone bullfight title.


“Being able to have a couple of open weekends so that I could go to Lewiston (Idaho) and Decatur was pretty special to me,” said Tuckness, who moved into the No. 1 spot in the Pendleton Whisky World Standings. “To come out with the win at both events is a blessing.”


Tuckness posted an 89.5 point score with WAR Fighting Bulls’ Triggerman in the first round. He was then matched with the other four winners, Schell Apple, who was 86.5; SuperCamp qualifier Dayton Spiel, who tied legend Lance Brittan with an 87 but advanced by tie-breaker; Tanner Zarnetski, 86.5; and Toby Inman, 89.


“I had a nice bull in the first round,” Tuckness said. “He was the one you wanted to draw. He was hot and on you, but he was honest. I got to dress him up a little bit.


“At the end, I got bogged down (in the dirt), and he ran over me, but I got up and got a good sell to end the fight.”


Tuckness then posted a 90-point fight with Destructor, owned by Brett Hall and Miguel Nunes. Extra impressive considering that he set a BFO-record 94.5-point fight just two weeks ago in Lewiston, Idaho.


“Destructor is a big black-and-white paint, and he stayed hooked up with me the whole time,” he said. “He let me get away with everything I wanted to the whole time. We fought hard for 45 to 50 seconds.”


The $10,000 Tuckness pocketed pushed his season earnings to $20,000 and gives him a solid lead. That’s good, because his job as a cowboy protector at ProRodeos will cause him to miss out on some of the upcoming BFO events.


He’ll need every advantage he can get as he battles through the second season.


“Now we’ve got a busy summer run of rodeos, and this win will help me stay in the standings a little longer,” Tuckness said.


While the Wyoming man won the event, a key story line out of Decatur was Dayton Spiel. He competed earlier this year in one of the BFO Development Camps. He did well enough there to advance to this weekend’s Fit-n-Wise SuperCamp, where he advanced as a qualifier into the Cavender’s Cup.


By finishing second overall, Spiel not only pocketed a decent payday but also announced his presence among the best in Bullfighters Only.


“I thought the event went really good,” Tuckness said. “We had some weather issues throughout the day, but still had a good crowd. Even with the weather, the people still showed up and had a great time.”


So did Tuckness, and he has the hardware to show it.



Round 1: 1. Schell Apple, 86.5 points; 2. Ely Sharkey, 83; 3. Cody Greer, no score.

Round 2: 1. (tie) Dayton Spiel and Lance Brittan, 87 points each; 3. Zach Arthur, 83.

Round 3: 1. Dusty Tuckness, 89.5 points; 2. Tate Rhoads, 87; 3. Jimmy Essary, 82.

Round 4: 1. Tanner Zarnetski, 86.5 points; 2. (tie) Weston Rutkowski and Noah Krepps, 85.5.

Round 5: 1. Toby Inman, 89 points; 2. Beau Schueth, 88; 3. Jon Roberts, 84.

Final round: 1. Dusty Tuckness, 90 points; 2. Dayton Spiel, 89; 3. Toby Inman, 85; 4. Tanner Zarnetski, 84; Schell Apple, 83.5.

BFO is ready to rock Decatur

Bullfighters Only Cavender’s Cup will feature a full evening of action


DECATUR, Texas – The action is intense and magnificent, but that’s exactly what the men expect when they are part of Bullfighters Only.


Fifteen men will stare danger in the eyes as part of the Bullfighters Only Cavender’s Cup 2017 presented by Bodyguard Truck Accessories, set for 8 p.m. Friday, June 2, at the Wise County Fairgrounds. That’s what freestyle bullfighting is about, athletic men challenging their fears and testing their skills one-on-one with a Spanish fighting bull that is bred for this type of bout.


Each fight is fast-paced and aggressive. The bullfighters use their natural instincts and tremendous athleticism to get as close as possible to the charging animals, their pointed horns and their pounding hooves.


The BFO Cavender’s Cup will feature the world’s top 15 freestyle bullfighters battling for $25,000 in prize money. They will compete in five three-man brackets, with the five winners advancing to the championship round. The bullfighter that produces the highest-scoring bout in the final round will be crowned the BFO Decatur champion.


With scores based on a 100-point scale, men can earn up to 50 points per fight based on their ability to exhibit control and style while maneuvering around or over an animal; a bull can earn up to 50 points based on its quickness, aggression and willingness to stay with the bullfighter.


Just two weeks ago, Dusty Tuckness posted a BFO-best 94.5-point score to win the stand-alone event in Lewiston, Idaho. He’ll be one of the men in the field that features reigning world champion Weston Rutkowski and a number of the top young guns in the game: Zach Call, Schell Apple and Beau Schueth.


But they account for just one-third of the bullfighters in the mix that also will feature legend Lance Brittan, the 1999 world champion. It’s a mixture of rising stars and proven talent, and it’s what makes the event such a spectacular showcase.


“It’s a two-hour, action-packed event where you have 15 of the best bullfighters of the world,” said Rutkowski of Haskell, Texas. “These televised, stand-alone events make bullfighting so much bigger.


“There’s always a chance to see some big-time wrecks,” Rutkowski said. “That’s the good thing about events like this, because you get the top-quality guys.


You’re going to have to step up out there and risk it all in order to win.”

The fast-paced Bullfighters Only action is a true man-vs.-beast spectacular.



Weston Rutkowski

Noah Krepps

Beau Schueth

Dusty Tuckness

Lance Brittan

Toby Inman

Zach Call

Schell Apple

Cody Greer

Tate Rhoads

Ely Sharkey

Tanner Zarnetski

Jim Essary

Jon Roberts

Dayton Spiel (SuperCamp Selection)

Photo by Todd Brewer

Tuckness scores 94.5 to win Lewiston

Wyoming bullfighter claims Lewiston title with best score ever in the BFO


LEWISTON, Idaho – Dusty Tuckness was just excited to be in the mix for Saturday’s Bullfighters Only Flexfit Invitational Presented by the Lewiston Round-up Association. He proved it with two sensational fights and the highest marked bout in the Bullfighters Only history.


He won the title after his 94.5-point bullfight with 12X and Costa Fighting Bulls’ “Spitfire” during the Hooey Championship Round.


“That’s the kind of bull you want to draw, one you know you can win on,” said Tuckness of Meeteetse, Wyo. “Spitfire is the kind of bull that we train for. Those are the opportunities you want to have in this industry.


“After I won my first round, it was on my mind to get the opportunity to fight the un-fightable bull and just have fun with it. I did have a lot of fun.”


He was one of 15 men who were part of the BFO Flexfit Invitational in Lewiston, which featured five three-man bouts. The winners from each of the five rounds advanced to the championship; Tuckness was joined by reigning BFO World Champion Weston Rutkowski, Tate Rhoads, veteran Toby Inman and newcomer Kris Furr.


Furr finished his first BFO event as the runner-up, scoring 89.5 in the Championship Round.


“I’ve been watching Kris for a while on social media,” Tuckness said. “He has a great ground game and good fundamentals. The BFO is about showcasing the best talent out there. He showed up and did well. I’m excited to see what he’s going to bring to the BFO for years to come.”


The night, though, belonged to the Idaho-born Tuckness. He won his round after posting an 87-point score, then advanced to the short round and a meeting with Spitfire, one of the premier fighting bulls in the game.


The agile red bull lived up to his billing. As the bull charged out of the chute, Tuckness turned his back to the animal and pulled off a quick reverse to begin the bout. Spitfire stayed close to the man, pushing his horns in tight, but Tuckness remained just out of harm’s way.


The tandem even danced along the wall of the arena, as Tuckness performed four straight fakes and allowed the bull to pass as he remained tight with the wall. Tuckness made a final round just after the 40-second buzzer sounded, then ended the fight.


“It was really good to get my first BFO event for the year,” he said. “Being a stand-alone event and coming away with the ‘W’ is a blessing. I’m just thankful for not only for the opportunity but also to be part of this great event.


“The Lewiston Roundup Association was awesome to us. My hat is off to the local sponsors and our year-round sponsors with the BFO. We wouldn’t be able to do this without those sponsors.”


The bullfighters weren’t the only benefactors; the fans were treated to the extreme action that is freestyle bullfighting.


“It was great all the way around,” Tuckness said. “It gave the crowd everything they wanted. It was a great crowd and they really got into it. They get behind these action sports. It’s a lot of fun to perform in front of a crowd like that.”


The $10,000 prize he earned for winning the BFO Flexfit Invitation was also a big deal. It pushed him into second place in the Pendleton Whisky World Standings, just behind Rutkowski.


“It was just a blessing and God’s timing more than anything,” Tuckness said. “I love my job, and it doesn’t matter where I’m at. It’s great to be able to have the support of your home state, but my mindset is to step out there with my best foot forward.


“It’s about the time and work I’ve done at the gym prior to the events, and I just zone out when it’s time for me and my bull. I’ve got to take care of myself and get around my animal.”

Tuckness to compete in Idaho

One of bullfighting’s best is returning to his birth state with Bullfighters Only


LEWISTON, Idaho – Dusty Tuckness was born in Idaho 31 years ago, so the Gem State is always going to be home. It also marks his return to Bullfighters Only competition for the first time in eight months.


He will be one of 15 men competing at the Bullfighters Only Lewiston Invitational, set for 7 p.m. Saturday, May 20, at the Lewiston Roundup Arena.


“I was born in Idaho Falls, and my mom still lives in DuBois,” said Tuckness, one of the founding members of Bullfighters Only. “It’ll be good to get back up there and step around some fighting bulls.”


The stand-alone bullfight will feature the world’s top 15 freestyle bullfighters battling for $25,000 in prize money. They will compete in three-man brackets, with the five winners advancing to the championship round. The bullfighter that produces the highest-scoring bout in the final round will be crowned the BFO Lewiston champion.


“I’m proud to be part of it,” Tuckness said. “This event is going to be fun, not only just compete but continue to build the product we’ve been putting out there.


“These stand-alone events bring fans the whole sport of freestyle bullfighting. You get to see a little bit of everything: great bullfights, wrecks and the true nature of the sport. Now, because of the BFO, we’ve brought freestyle bullfighting back to a whole new level.”


Not only is BFO-Lewiston an event that features bullfighting exclusively, it also is part of a national tour. In 2016, Bullfighters Only developed the first tour in 17 seasons, and the men involved are in the second year touring the country.


“The events are going really well,” Tuckness said. “It’s developing into something that we’ve always wanted as bullfighters.”


A veteran, Tuckness is the most decorated bullfighter in ProRodeo, but he knows just how special it is to be part of Bullfighters Only. As the reigning seven-time Bullfighter of the Year, he understands the future is bright for the sport.


“I think the biggest change in the sport is that it’s back to the main stage,” Tuckness said. “Bullfighters Only putting on these stand-alone events allows bullfighters the chance to make a good living.


“It’s changing for the younger generation. There are a lot of up-and-comers who want to freestyle, and BFO is creating opportunities to showcase their skills.”


With scores based on a 100-point scale, men can earn up to 50 points per fight based on their ability to exhibit control and style while maneuvering around or over an animal; a bull can earn up to 50 points based on its quickness, aggression and willingness to stay with the bullfighter.


Bullfighters Only is a true man-vs.-beast spectacular. Spitfire will once again be part of the draw – one of many revered 12X & Costa Fighting Bulls that will be on hand in Lewiston.


Tickets are just $15 and can be purchased at www.lewistonroundup.com/bfo-event.



Legend is ready for more

After competing in Ada, Brittan is excited about his next step with BFO


Lance Brittan returned to freestyle bullfighting after years away from the game, and he liked what he experienced.


Brittan, the 1999 Wrangler Bullfight Tour world champion, was one of 15 men who were part of the Bullfighters Only Ada (Okla.) Invitational on April 22, and it marked the first time in about a decade he had been face-to-face with a bull that was bred for that kind of fight.


“It was a little nerve-wracking, because I was in the first section,” said Brittan, 42, of Windsor, Colo. “I had just one bull to watch before it was my turn. It didn’t give me that security of watching several bulls and give me an opportunity to gauge what I was going to do.


“But after that first pass with the bull, the butterflies were gone, and it was just second-nature. My instincts took over.”


His instincts are strong. Brittan was among the very best in the game when the Wrangler Bullfights ended after the 2000 season. He continued to compete when opportunities allowed, but most of his focus was on protecting cowboys in bull riding. His return to the freestyle action was special, not only to him but also to the other competitors in Ada.


“He reads bulls so good,” said Beau Schueth of O’Niell, Neb. “He can tell what they’re going to do, and he’s so smooth about it. It’s crazy how smooth he is with his fakes. He looked just as good as he did back in the day.”


Schueth is one of the top men in the BFO, and he has studied all the greats in the game. It’s part of what makes the Nebraska man so good, and it’s why he marveled at sharing the arena with Brittan.


“I’ve got a bunch of Wrangler Bullfight tapes from the NFR and have watched him on them,” Schueth said. “To be in the same arena as a legend is really cool. He was retired for years, and now that the freestyle bullfights are starting to come back and there’s a lot of money in it, it’s great to draw a guy like him and says a lot about the BFO.”


Bullfighters Only regenerated a buzz about the sport two years ago and is in the middle of its second season. Texan Weston Rutkowski became the first tour-based world champion in 17 years last season, and the tour is stronger than ever. Ada was the first of several stand-alone events that will happen in 2017.


All of it has been attractive for Brittan.


“I’m definitely going to Lewiston (Idaho) and Decatur (Texas), and I’ve also gotten the call to go the Colorado Springs,” he said, referring also to the BFO event in conjunction with the Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo at the base of the Rocky Mountains. “I expect more calls. I’ve talked it over with my family, and there’s no sense in bowing out of any of them. I’m putting in the work and getting back in shape.”

He knows he’ll need it when it comes to the competition.


“I’m excited about the talent that is coming up,” Brittan said. “I think the more I compete with them, the more refined their bullfighting will become. They’re fans of mine, and I’m fans of theirs. Some that watched me fight that night tried to do some of the same things I do in their bullfights.


“That was a pretty cool feeling to be looked up to like that, but I look up to a lot of these guys by what they’ve accomplished.”


Bullfighters Only has also showcased true innovation in the sport. There are more spectacular tricks coming from the young talent, and Brittan realizes he needs to add something like that to his repertoire.


“I need another signature move,” said Brittan, who was the first bullfighter to do a flat-footed jump over a bull two decades ago. “I don’t want to copy what’s been done.


“I’ve got some tricks up my sleeve. I’m doing some work on some things. As much working out as I’m doing, I’m excited that I felt as good being back in the arena as I did at my age.”


Even at 42, he has exceptional athleticism, plus he brings decades of experience to the arena.

“Just having a bullfighting legend come back and be part of this group is amazing,” Schueth said. ‘He brings a lot to the table plus he’s an awesome bullfighter.”


But there are a good number of awesome bullfighters who are in the BFO. Brittan knows what he needs to do to succeed.


“We all want to win,” he said. “If we can win in a flashy sort of way and people can walk out of there after seeing something they’ve never seen before, then that’s what we’re there to do. That’s exciting for us and for the fans.”

BFO to be televised on RFD-TV


The stage for Bullfighters Only continues to grow, and a national television audience will get to experience the high-powered action of freestyle bullfighting.


The Bullfighters Only event from this past Saturday night in Ada, Okla., will be part of a special airing at 7:30 p.m. (Central) Wednesday, April 26.


“I’m just excited that our next step with Bullfighters Only is coming to fruition on RFD-TV,” said Sean Cassidy, vice president of Western lifestyle events on the network.


The BFO burst onto the Western sports scene two years ago with sessions showcasing many of the most talented freestyle bullfighters in the sport. The popularity quickly grew and now Bullfighters Only is in the midst of its second season on tour.


The Ada event was a 15-man bout focused strictly on the bullfighting. Wednesday’s show will be dedicated to the fights between man and beast. Not only will there video of amazing athletic talent from the bullfighters and their counterparts, but the show will include the danger that comes with the sport.


“RFD-TV has always been a great partner of ours,” said Aaron Ferguson, founder and CEO of Bullfighters Only. “All three of our stand-alone events – Ada, Decatur (Texas) and Lewiston (Idaho) – will be televised on RFD-TV.


“We know how important the Western audience is our sport, and we wanted to create a show that was new and exciting to them. I think we’ll get that with these BFO events.”


Bullfighters Only will add a some extreme to the Western sports world, and RFD-TV is excited to have the special as part of its Wednesday night lineup.


“Wednesday nights are Western sports nights on RFD-TV,” said Billy Frey, chief marketing officer for the network. “We don’t think enough people are paying enough attention to Western sports.”


The network has been putting on shows like that since its inception, and that includes the biggest one-day rodeo of the year, RFD-TV’s The American. Bullfighters Only was part of the 2016 rodeo in Arlington, Texas, so the network brass understands the sport.


“The excitement of it is what drew me to it,” Frey said. “The bullfighters have the craziest job of anyone in the world. With Bullfighters Only, it’s not just the ability to dodge a bull or distract a bull; it’s the way they do it with flair and style.


“It takes guts; it takes courage. It really embodies who we are as Americans.”

That’s one of the reasons the partnership works.


“We chose RFD-TV because of their amazing ability to reach people who crave Western sports,” Ferguson said. “What they’ve done for the sport of rodeo with The American has been outstanding. They have a sterling reputation, and that’s why we’re partnering with them.”

Photo by Todd Brewer
Photo by Todd Brewer

Rutkowski claims Ada title

Reigning world champion outlasts the field to win Bullfighters Only event

ADA, Okla. – Weston Rutkowski arrived in Ada a few days ago knowing he was in for one heck of a fight.


Bullfighters Only-Ada marked the return of big-time freestyle bullfighting to the Pontotoc County Agriplex for the first time in five years, and the Haskell, Texas, man showed just why he is the No. 1 man in the game.


“It was a good day at the office,” said Rutkowski, who pocketed $10,000 by winning BFO-Ada in front of a packed crowd. “This is my passion, my career. This is my love, and I am excited anytime I can do this.”


Fifteen men began Saturday night’s showdown all matched with aggressive and athletic Spanish fighting bulls. It was the perfect mix of action, excitement and danger, and it played out well for all involved. It just played out a little better for Rutkowski, the first man in 17 years to win a world championship through a freestyle bullfighting tour.


“Ada was awesome,” he said. “There was a line all the way out to the road of people trying to get in. It was everything I expected it to be.”


The field included many of the top men in Bullfighters Only, some rising stars and a bullfighting legend in 1999 Wrangler Bullfight Tour world champion Lance Brittan, who returned to the game he loves after several years away.


“I watched one bullfight all night before I went, and I got to see Lance Brittan do what Lance Brittan does best,” Rutkowski said. “The crowd was very involved, very engaged. They were excited to have bullfighting back in Ada, and they knew what they were watching and what they’ve missed for so many years.”


The Bullfighters Only Ada Invitational will air at on RFD-TV at 7:30 p.m. Central this Wednesday, April 26.


“My first bull was not one of the bulls that are particularly fun to fight,” said Rutkowski, who scored 86.5 points to win his section and advance to the championship round. “He was a little older and smarter, and I got a lot of rounds out of him to keep him hooked up with me.”


With scores based on a 100-point scale, men can earn up to 50 points per fight based on their ability to exhibit control and style while maneuvering around or over an animal; a bull can earn up to 50 points based on its quickness, aggression and willingness to stay with the bullfighter.


That means it’s imperative that the bull remain as close as possible and stay aggressive through the 60-second bout.


“My short-round bull was one I fought back in San Angelo (Texas).” he said.

That bout took place in February and didn’t end the way he wanted. The bull hooked him to the ground, then tossed the bullfighter in the air.


“I was pretty pumped up to get the rematch with him,” said Rutkowski, who matched moves with Mess Up the Ranch from Rockin’ B & Magnifica Fighting Bulls for 88 points to win the title. “I’m just glad it worked out.”


It also moved him back to the top of the BFO world standings, but the season is still in its infancy. There are several more events left on the schedule.


“I do this because I love it, but it is nice to be able to do well in front of such a great crowd,” he said. “Everything I had heard about Ada turned out to be true. It was amazing.”



Round 1: Ely Sharkey, 88 points; 2. Lance Brittan, 84.5; 3. Noah Krepps, 84.

Round 2: Zach Call, 88 points; 2. Zach Arthur, 87.5; 3. Tate Rhoads, 85.5.

Round 3: Evan Allard, 85 points; 2. Toby Inman, 83.5; 3. Jon Roberts, 83.

Round 4: Weston Rutkowski, 86.5 points; 2. Bryce Redo, 84.5; 3. Travis Gidley, no score.

Round 5: Schell Apple, 85.5 points; 2. (tie) Jimmy Essary and Beau Schueth, 84.5.

Final Round: 1. Weston Rutkowski, 88 points; 2. Schell Apple, 87; 3. Evan Allard, 86.5; 4. Zach Call, 86; 5. Ely Sharkey, 84.5.

Bullfighting heads home

Bullfighters Only renews event’s history by bringing the action back to Ada 


ADA, Okla. – There’s nothing like coming home.


Whether they’ve laced up their cleats inside the Pontotoc County Agriplex or not, the 15 men who will be part of the Bullfighters Only understand the history freestyle bullfighting in that building.

Champions have been crowned, and legends have been formed.


Now, thanks to the BFO, the greatest young talent in the game – mixed with some bullfighting veterans and icons – will put their talents on display during the Bullfighters Only stand-alone event, set for 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Agriplex in Ada.


This is freestyle bullfighting at its best, and many fans in southeast Oklahoma know the sport well. For those that don’t know the sport, they might just be in for the ride of their lives. Men put their lives on the line for this coveted championship; that’s what bullfighting is all about.


“It’s a two-hour, action-packed event where you have 15 of the best bullfighters of the world,” said Weston Rutkowski, the reigning BFO world champion. “These televised, stand-alone events make bullfighting so much bigger.”


What makes it a big deal is the man-vs.-beast factor. A big part of Bullfighters Only’s success lies within the heart-stopping action that comes with the extreme danger in freestyle bullfighting. Men will try to stay within inches of the bulls, which are bred to be part of this type of fight. The most successful will keep the animal engaged closely while showcasing true athleticism to stay out of harm’s way.



“It’s so much fun to fight against guys you’ve watched and learned from,” said Beau Schueth of O’Neill, Neb. “Now to compete with them and be on their level is an awesome feeling.”


Bullfighters Only is all about innovation, and that’s been the driving force behind it’s incredible growth. Two years ago, the BFO was showcasing the sport via sessions that were posted on social media. Now it’s in the midst of its second full season of battling toward a world championship.


“In bullfighting, you’re basically the underdog every match you go into,” said Zach Call of Mullen, Neb. “It’s cool that you can stay focused enough that even though you’re going up against something that’s bigger, strong and faster than you, you can come out unscathed.


“The only way to beat the bull is with your head. You don’t outrun them. You have to outsmart them.”

Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased at Boom-A-Rang Diner in Ada or online at  www.bullfightersonly.com.



Weston Rutkowski

Beau Schueth

Bryce Redo

Zach Call

Schell Apple

Cody Greer

Toby Inman

Lance Brittan

Evan Allard

Tate Rhoads

Daryl Thiessen

Zach Arthur

Jon Roberts

Travis Gidley

Jimmy Essary

Champ seeks repeat in ’17

Rutkowski eager to compete at Bullfighters Only event in storied Ada arena 


ADA, Okla. – The freestyle bullfighting history inside the Pontotoc County Agriplex is long, and some of the greatest men in the sport have earned prestigious titles in that building.


Weston Rutkowski hopes to add his name to the list when Bullfighters Only conducts a stand-alone bullfight at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 22. Tickets are on sale now at www.bullfightersonly.com.


The Haskell, Texas, man helped set a new standard in 2016, winning the BFO season championship and becoming the first freestyle bullfighting tour world champion in 17 years. After more than 30 events, Rutkowski staked claim to the most prestigious title in the sport since the 2000 season.


“Weston is always a contender, and you know he’s going to show up in good shape with the right mindset to win,” said Dusty Tuckness, a founding member of Bullfighters Only and one of the top freestyle bullfighters in the game. “He’s self-disciplined, which is the biggest thing I like about him.”


That work ethic is one reason why Rutkowski is the reigning BFO champion and will be part of the mix during the competition inside the Agriplex.


“That’s where everybody went to make a name for themselves, like Andy Burelle, Wacey Munsell, Dusty Tuckness, Cody Webster … all those great guys,” Rutkowski said. “I am super excited about going to Ada, because I never got to go there before. When I first cracked out, Ardmore (Okla.) was where you went to measure your talent.


“Before Ardmore was Ada. That was the one prestigious event that everybody went to. With the BFO bringing the bullfights back home to Ada, it’s one I’m glad to cross off my list.”


The event will feature 15 men at the top of the game, consisting of five three-man bouts, with the top scores from each session will advance to the championship round. The Ada champion will be crowned from those five bullfighters.


As history has shown, the Agriplex will be a showcase for freestyle bullfighting’s best: 1999 Wrangler Bullfight Tour world champion Lance Brittan, Toby Inman, Evan Allard, Beau Schueth, Zach Call, Schell Apple and several others will join Rutkowski in the ring.


“I’ve seen a lot of Lance’s videos, and he was one of the key guys that changed freestyle bullfighting back in the day,” Rutkowski said. “The first time I get to meet Lance will be when I go head-to-head with him. There’s not a better way to go against a legend like Lance.”


With 15 of the most athletic bullfighters in the game, the Ada competition should be a perfect fit for fans in southeast Oklahoma.


“What’s great about this is that it’s just freestyle bullfighting,” he said. “It’s a two-hour, action-packed event where you have 15 of the best bullfighters of the world. These televised stand-alone events make bullfighting so much bigger. You can go in there and make good money.”


Rutkowski should know. The 2016 BFO champion won more money than any other bullfighter in the a season ago with $41,325.


Rutkowski would like to repeat, and doing well inside the Pontotoc County Agriplex would go a long way toward that. He also knows it takes a great level of work to perform at the top of his game.


“If you want to stay on top, you have to stay motivated,” he said. “I recently hosted a BFO Development Camp and we had a guy that was 38 years old. A year ago he was over 350 pounds; he watched a BFO event last January, and it changed his life. He was inspired to get in shape to fight bulls again. He lost 110 pounds and got to fight at the D-Camp.


“That is very motivating to me. You never know who’s watching. They see the work you put in beforehand, and then they get to see you go out and compete. Knowing the talent in the young guys that are coming up is part of it, too. I have to keep working harder because of the talent that is underneath me.”


And they’re all pointing to the target on Rutkowski’s back. He’s the king of the mountain, and they want his spot.


“That’s the great thing about the BFO,” he said. “You’re going to go up against the best guys every time.”

Brittan back in the fight

1999 World Champion joins ranks of Bullfighters Only


DENVER, CO - Lance Brittan is known as one of the greatest freestyle bullfighters to ever play the game.


Now the 42-year-old legend hopes to regain his championship form as he returns to the sport he loves. It’s been about a decade since Brittan last took on a fighting bull in competition, but he’s ready to step into the BFO arena in Ada, Oklahoma on April 22nd.


“What’s so attractive to me is the whole man-vs.-beast mentality that comes with it,” said Brittan, who retired from professional bullfighting three years ago and has focused on running his business, Brittan Construction, in Windsor, Colo. “If something goes wrong, there’s no one to blame but myself. I like showing off, I guess.”


He’s damn good at it, too. Brittan will be the only man on the Bullfighters Only tour that was part of the Wrangler Bullfight Tour, which was part of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association through 2000. He earned the world championship in 1999 when he was just 25 years old.


“I was fortunate to win one of the last world titles they gave in the Wrangler Bullfights,” he said. “Competing against Mike Matt, Greg Rumohr, Loyd Ketcham, Rob Smets and Jerry Norton was amazing. To compete against 14 gold buckles and go in there and win is really special to me.


Because of his expertise in the field, Brittan was one of the instructors at the Bullfighters Only Development Camp held March 11-12 in San Bernardino, Calif. That experience opened a new door for the veteran bullfighter to walk through.


“After instructing that D-Camp in California, I got the bug again,” he said. “I’ve watched a lot of BFO videos, and I think they’re great events. I’d like to see what I could get done there.”


His first opportunity will come during the Bullfighters Only stand-alone bullfight at the Pontotoc County Agriplex in Ada, Oklahoma. The last time he stepped in front of a bull was while he served as a protection bullfighter during the rodeo in Elk City, Okla., in September 2014.


“What I’m looking forward to is showing the old style of what it was like to fight bulls and make rounds,” Brittan said.


The basics of freestyle bullfighting haven’t changed over the decades. The foundation is staying as close to the animal as possible while also trying to remain out of harm’s way. It’s not an easy task, especially given the bulls, which are bred to be part of the fight. The more aggressive the bull is, the better the opportunity for the bullfighter to gain points.


“I’ve thought that Lance retired at the top of his game, that he went out when he was one of the best guys going down the road,” said Chuck Swisher, one of the top-rated bullfighters in the BFO. “It’ll be great to go up against somebody like Lance.


“Lance is one of my heroes, a true legend. His style is a lot different than a lot of us younger bullfighters, but I have no doubt he’ll still be as solid as ever.”


Bullfighters Only has regenerated the buzz about freestyle bullfighting and is now producing events all across the country. While much has changed in the years since he competed in the Wrangler Bullfights, Brittan sees a bright future for the sport thanks to the BFO.


“I think the BFO is great,” he said. “It primarily focuses on the bullfighter and his talents. The entertainment value is priceless. People want to see wrecks, and I guarantee you there will be some wrecks.”


It’s all part of the action-packed shows that are produced by Bullfighters Only, and Brittan is ready to be back in the mix.

Bullfighting returns to Ada

Bullfighters Only brings the sport back to its roots with event in a storied arena


ADA, Okla. – Eighteen years ago, Andy Burelle was a rising star in freestyle bullfighting.


He earned dozens of victories over his storied career of battling fighting bulls. He competed in his first bullfight at the Pontotoc County Agriplex in 1999, also the first time the sport was showcased inside the Ada building.


“I had just went to Rex Dunn’s school that spring, and that bullfight was in the fall of 1999,” said Burelle, who will return to announce the Agriplex on Saturday, April 22, for the first Bullfighters Only event in the storied complex. “It was the first bullfight I ever entered, and I ended up winning it.


“Fourteen years later, that was the last bullfight I entered. I won it and dropped the mic. That was the last time I ever freestyled a bull, and that was the last time the bullfights were in Ada.”


Burelle will pick up that microphone for the BFO event, serving as one of the announcers who will call the action. He provides color commentary while bringing world championship experience to the show. Most importantly, he brings a passion to his craft.


Now that he’s retired, Burelle has been witness to the sport’s resurgence because of Bullfighters Only.


“We used to have the world championships in Ada,” he said of a single event that eventually moved to Ardmore, Okla. “Now that we’ve got Bullfighters Only, we’ve got a year-long battle with standings. It’s not just one event that can crown a world champion; we’ve got world standings, and when we do these title fights and matches, you’ve got to be ranked.


“To be ranked at the BFO means a lot. It means you’re elite.”


Elite is just what bullfighting fans in Ada expect, and it’s why having Bullfighters Only bringing the show back to town is such a big deal.


“When we were in Vegas, we had seven performances where the guys would just go out and try to one-up one another,” Burelle said. “It was the rankest bullfight I’ve ever seen. Bullfighters Only has elevated the sport to a level that I never expected or have ever seen.”


“When I fought bulls, I tried to innovate the sport,” he said. “I brought the backflip, a lot like Travis Pastrana did with motorsports. Now they make my backflips look like nothing. What these guys are doing now makes what I was doing look more like taking a skateboard and jumping a ramp over a soda can.”


Bullfighters Only is also about innovation, and that’s been the driving force behind it’s incredible growth. Two years ago, the BFO was showcasing the sport via sessions that were posted on social media. Now it’s in the midst of its second full season of battling toward a world championship.


“Ada was one of the first big bullfights that I was ever in,” said Toby Inman, a Davis Junction, Ill., bullfighter who will be part of the one-day championship bullfight. “I was thrown to the wolves in Ada.”


Now he’ll be one of the wolves battling against some of the best Spanish fighting bulls around. Much like it was when Dunn, the legendary bullfighter, was providing the bulls in Ada, there will be some excellent bovine athleticism on display.


“Rex’s bulls were man-eaters,” Inman said. “As long as they’ve got four legs and are hot, I’m excited. You want those man-eaters, those that are coming out to rip you up. The same as what we face now with the BFO.”


He will get them, and so will the other top bullfighters that will be part of the bout. It’s a fascinating event. A big part of Bullfighters Only’s success lies within the heart-stopping action that comes with the extreme danger in freestyle bullfighting. Men will try to stay within inches of the bulls, which are bred to be part of this type of fight. The most successful will keep the animal engaged closely while showcasing true athleticism to stay out of harm’s way.


“That arena was always jam-packed, and they couldn’t fit any more people into it,” Inman said. “I suspect it’ll be the same with this, because the BFO definitely brings a great show.”

Tickets go on sale March 29th @ www.bullfightersonly.com.

Training days ahead

BFO camps offer bullfighters more in-depth education about their sport


         Freestyle bullfighters now have a chance to step their game up to the next level. Bullfighters Only is conducting a series of camps over the next few months to help up-and-coming athletes hone their skills as they plan to participate in one of the most action-packed sport in existence.


       “We’re having Development Camps, and the top students from each of those camps will be invited to the BFO Super Camp,” said Aaron Ferguson, founder and CEO of Bullfighters Only.


       The Super Camp will take place May 30-June 3 in Decatur, Texas, and will be presented by Fit-n-Wise. Super Camp will be held in a professional sports setting with all of the same bells and whistles as an NFL training camp. Athletes will have the opportunity to work one on one with high-level coaches, trainers and nutritionists in a state-of-the-art facility.


       “The great thing about the BFO Super Camp is that it won’t cost anything for those bullfighters who are part of it,” Ferguson said. “They will train with the top bullfighters in the world and have a chance to qualify for the BFO event in Decatur on June 2nd.”


       BFO Decatur is a stand-alone event that will feature the top freestyle bullfighters in the game all battling for the $25,000 prize. More information on the event will be released soon.


       The first two BFO Development Camps are coming in a few weeks and are designed for intermediate and advanced freestyle bullfighters. The first is set for March 10-12 in San Bernadino, Calif., with world champion Lance Brittan and Ferguson as instructors. The second will be March 17-19 in Sikeston, Mo., with Ross Hill, Toby Inman and Schell Apple putting students through the paces.


       “The BFO Development Camps will focus on the technical aspects of our sport,” Ferguson said. “Experienced bullfighters will guide students by placing heavy emphasis on physical fitness, nutrition and the mental approach to the game.


       “On the final day of each camp, we will have BFO Discovery Day, where fans and beginners are introduced to the game through a crash course in Bullfighters Only 101. There will be a curriculum and hands-on training with a bull dummy and they may even get to face a live animal.”


       For more information and for up-coming schools, click here.


BFO Bullfights headed to Lewiston

Bullfighters Only will have a 15-man stand-alone event to benefit Roundup


LEWISTON, Idaho – Because Bullfighters Only at the Lewiston Roundup was such a big hit last year, the rodeo’s organizers are taking it a step further in 2017.


“There was an abundance of people who loved it and wanted more of it,” said Kirby Meshishnek, one of the directors of the Lewiston Roundup.


“We’re always looking for ways to better serve the community and to bring in more money that benefits our rodeo.”


Now they’re looking to Bullfighters Only help toward the bottom line while putting on a show that has had people talking for more than five months. The Lewiston Roundup Association donates thousands of dollars to charities in the quad cities region each year.


“It was a hit on social media, and we’ve just had so many people talking about it,” he said. “This is a great opportunity to put on a such a prestigious stand-alone bullfight with an Bullfighters Only. They put on an awesome show.”


They certainly did last year. On opening night, the 12X & Costa fighting bull called “Spitfire” beat up Ross Johnson during their fight, but that wasn’t the only time a bullfighter took a hit.


“There are people that want to see wrecks, and with the Bullfighters Only, there’s plenty of them,” Meshishnek said. “Everybody loves to watch a big wreck. During Roundup, a couple guy’s got hooked. On Saturday, Ross Hill tried to do a selfie with his phone and got plowed by the bull.”


It’s enough incentive for Roundup directors to reach out to the BFO again. The stand-alone event will feature the world’s top 15 freestyle bullfighters battling for $25,000 in prize money. They will compete five three-man brackets, with the five winners advancing to the championship round. The bullfighter that produces the highest-scoring bout in the final round will be crowned the BFO Lewiston champion.


With scores based on a 100-point scale, men can earn up to 50 points per fight based on their ability to exhibit control and style while maneuvering around or over an animal; a bull can earn up to 50 points based on its quickness, aggression and willingness to stay with the bullfighter.


Bullfighters Only is a true man-vs.-beast spectacular. “Spitfire” will once again be part of the draw - one of many revered 12X & Costa fighting bulls that will be on hand in Lewiston.


“To me, it was a no-brainer to bring the BFO back,” Meshishnek said. “It’s a wild, action sport. I believe it’s brought a new excitement to our rodeo and our town.”


Tickets are just $15 and they go on sale Feb. 27th at www.lewistonroundup.com/bfo-event.


Bringing the fight to Claresholm

Chad Besplug Invitational adding to its excitement with Bullfighters Only


CLARESHOLM, Alberta – Freestyle bullfighting exploded back onto the scene in 2016 thanks to the men of Bullfighters Only.


The BFO created a buzz around the sport by showcasing the greatest talent in freestyle bullfighting history, and that detonation has spread into Canada. Three of the top athletes will be exhibiting their talent during the Bullfighters Only event in conjunction with the Chad Besplug Invitational, set for 7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 25, at the Claresholm Agriplex.


“I’m really excited to be able to go head-to-head with some great bulls in Claresholm,” said Weston Rutkowski, the No. 1 bullfighter in the world from Haskell, Texas. “I’ve never fought bulls up there, so it’s going to be another great new experience for me and for the BFO.”


Rutkowski will be joined by Nebraskan Beau Scheuth, the fifth-ranked man in the standings, and Daryl Thiessen of Elm Creek, Manitoba.


“This is really huge for Canada,” Thiessen said. “With Weston, Beau and me, it’s going to be a pretty deep bullfight.”


“That’s what bullfighting is about,” said Thiessen, noting that fellow Canadian Aaron Ferguson founded the BFO and serves as its CEO. “Aaron has found a way to bring freestyle bullfighting to the mainstream. He’s brought in a lot of outside fans, and the interest in the sport is growing.


“It’s 60 seconds with you and one bull,” Thiessen said. “By the end of the fight, one of you is going to know who won. It’s you vs. him. There are no other factors that play a part. You have to leave everything you’ve got in the arena if you want a chance to win.


“To be in front of Canadian fans is going to be amazing. I’m pretty excited for this. I don’t want to get beat on my home turf, so there’s going to be lots of pressure to do well.”

Excitement fills BFO openers

From big scores to bigger wrecks, three Bullfighters Only events had it all


The opening weekend of the 2017 Bullfighters Only season lived up to what everyone expected.


With three events spread across North America, freestyle bullfighting’s best put on a show in Brighton, Fla.; Red Deer, Alberta; and San Angelo, Texas.


“It was the perfect way to kick off our season,” said Aaron Ferguson, founder and CEO of Bullfighters Only. “We crowned our first three champions and had great crowds at all three events.”


Daryl Thiessen of Elm Creek, Manitoba, won in Red Deer, while Toby Inman of Davis Junction, Ill., took the title in Florida. Zach Call – one of three men to fight in both Brighton and San Angelo – claimed the west Texas title.


“When I saw the first bull come out in San Angelo, I knew they were going to be a great set,” said Call of Thedford, Neb. “I knew I was going to have to hold up my end of the deal if I wanted it to end well.”


Call did his part, scoring 87.5 points to win San Angelo. Schell Apple of Fay, Okla., was second, while the No. 1 man in the BFO, Weston Rutkowski, was third. All three had solid bulls, animals that kept the action tight. In fact, Rutkowski’s bull got the better of him, hooking him in the corner and dropping him to the ground.


“Some days are diamonds, then some days you get thrown against the wall, get beat up, get your vest and shirt ripped off you and have to go back to the fight,” he said. “It’s not how long you’re down but how you finish.”


Like most bullfighters, Rutkowski wears a padded vest to protect his torso. The bull got its horn under the vest and ripped it from the bullfighter. Once Rutkowski regained his feet, he went back to the bull and finished the fight by jumping the animal.


“I was going to jump him no matter what,” he said. “It’s a very humbling sport. One minute you can be on top of your game, and the next you can be under your bull.”


Call didn’t have any problems with his animal, though. In fact, the two danced across the San Angelo Coliseum as if they’d rehearsed. Call remained in control during his fight, making several fakes to keep the aggressive Spanish fighting bull at bay.


“As far as events go, that was one of the best I’ve ever been to,” Call said. “The crowd was really into it. While the fight was going on, it felt great. The bull was honest, but he was also extremely hot. He was blowing through all the fakes, so I was able to keep in control.”


While his fight didn’t go as he would have hoped in his return to west Texas, Rutkowski realized just how special it was to compete at the historic stock show and rodeo.


“Zach put on a great fight, and so did Schell (Apple),” Rutkowski said. “I’d rather go to a bullfight with guys like that, ones that are going to be great, especially with great bulls.


“That crowd is a very knowledgeable crowd. They know what a good ride is and a good roping run. I’m not sure if they fully knew what to expect with the freestyle bullfights, but once they watched the first one they knew the danger factor and what all we were going to do.”


Call, Rutkowski and Schell Apple, arrived in San Angelo on Saturday afternoon after flying in from Florida, where they had competed Friday night. That, too, was quite an experience for the bullfighters.


A transportation mishap stalled the initial stock contractor, who was to have a trailer load of Spanish fighting bulls in Brighton. The replacements didn’t make it on time for the bullfight, so Bullfighters Only opted for another option: cross-bred bulls that were already at the rodeo grounds for the Brighton Field Day Festival and PRCA Rodeo.


“We fought big, scary swamp Brahmas that were in the back pens,” Rutkowski said. “There is a big difference between the cross-bloods and the Spanish bulls. With the cross-breeds, we can take the heart out of a bull with three or four fakes. The Spanish bulls are bred to fight, so they won’t quit you.”


The difference could be seen in San Angelo. All three Spanish bulls battled through each 60-second bout, which made for excitement.


“It’s not very often that I can hear a crowd, but I could definitely hear them after I got hooked down,” Rutkowski said. “It shows what a crowd can make a guy do. These people wanted to see a show, and there wasn’t anything that was going to stop us from putting one on.”

Going back to his roots

Rutkowski returns to west Texas for BFO’s first stop in San Angelo


SAN ANGELO, Texas – The sound of Weston Rutkowski’s voice gleams of west Texas.


From that unmistakable drawl to the tone he uses, his regional pride is evident. He grew up in the burg of Haskell, a town of 3,300 people about two hours northeast of San Angelo. It’s home.


He returns to the Plains on Saturday night to headline the Bullfighters Only competition Presented by Ken Schlaudt Custom Homes, held in conjunction with the San Angelo Stock Show and Rodeo.


Rutkowski will be one of three freestyle bullfighters to test their athleticism while going head to head with aggressive and agile spanish fighting bulls.


“This is huge for me,” said Rutkowski, the number one ranked bullfighter in the game today. “Everyone wants to compete at home, so I’m really looking forward to it. Once I started fighting bulls, I never really got to go home and do it there.”


He will now, and he will have the chance to show why he is considered one of the best in the business. West Texas isn’t just home for Rutkowski; it was a training ground in a way. He was a five-sport athlete, competing in football, basketball, baseball, track and golf. Now he utilizes that same athletic ability but in a more dangerous fashion.


“When they talk about football Friday nights, it’s a real thing,” he said. “It’s not just a story line. The town shut down, and everybody would go to the game.”


That’s a drawing card for his opportunity to compete in San Angelo. He knows of the great crowds that fill the coliseum. He understands that folks want to see something exciting, and that’s why the stock show and rodeo is so popular.


“When the rodeo’s in town, people pack in every night,” Rutkowski said. “They have such a prestigious event that people just flock to that arena.”


Now they’ll get to see him in action and see what the buzz is all about. After nearly 20 years on the backburner, Bullfighters Only was the guiding force to bringing freestyle bullfighting back into the limelight. After a successful inaugural run in 2016, the BFO Presented by Ken Schlaudt Custom Homes is one of the first events of the new season.


“I haven’t fought a bull since Vegas in December,” said Rutkowski, who earned more than $40,000 throughout the Bullfighters Only 2016 season. “I’m healthier than I’ve ever been, and I’ve been training hard. I’m ready for battle. I cannot wait to get back into the arena and go head-to-head.”


Now Rutkowski will showcase his talent in front of fans who understand rodeo and will want to see the action of the BFO.


“That is the heart of rodeo country,” he said. “They don’t need to put on a big concert, because they have very knowledgeable rodeo fans. They’ve been there, done that, and they expect a good show.


“The Oklahoma guys have a stronghold on freestyle bullfighting, but I want to do my best to make sure everyone knows Texas still has a ballplayer in the game.”


BFO stars head to Florida

Bullfighters Only begins new season with its first event ever in Florida 


BRIGHTON, Fla. – The Brighton Field Day Festival has a long history of exciting events, with 79 years of extreme entertainment.


The organizers of the Field Day Festival and PRCA Rodeo are adding to that this year with three days of Bullfighters Only Freestyle Bullfighting competition. It takes place Friday through Sunday at Fred Smith Rodeo Arena and will feature nine of the top freestyle bullfighters in the world.


“We have a lot of activities with our festival, and Bullfighters Only is a perfect fit for what we produce,” said Marvin Hines of the Seminole Tribe. “We are pulling out all the stops to make this the best freestyle event Florida has seen to date. It’s going to be great.”


The Brighton event will kick off BFO’s 2017 season and is one of three events planned for this weekend. Bullfighters Only will also host events in Red Deer, Alberta, and San Angelo, Texas, on Saturday.  


WAR Fighting Bulls from Texas will provide the challengers who fighters will face in hopes of claiming a lion’s share of the $10,000 payout. BFO paid upwards of $300,000 in prize money during the inaugural 2016 season.


“I’m looking forward to visiting new towns and taking advantage of new opportunities,” said Toby Inman of Davis Junction, IL. “Obviously getting back to places where we’ve been will be awesome, but this is a new year, and we are adding to our tour.


“The fans are going to love what Bullfighters Only brings to the table.”


Bullfighters Only has been growing freestyle bullfighting for the past two years. After 17 years away from the spotlight, freestyle bullfighting has surged back to the mainstream thanks to the presence of the BFO. The sport continues to grow.


“This will be our first event in Florida,” Weston Rutkowski said. “The Sunshine State is very rodeo-savvy the fans will hold you accountable for your performance in the arena - good or bad.”


A big part of Bullfighters Only’s success lies within the heart-stopping action that comes with the extreme danger in freestyle bullfighting. Men will try to stay within inches of the bulls, which are bred to be part of this type of fight. The most successful will keep the animal engaged closely while showcasing true athleticism to stay out of harm’s way.


At Brighton, Rutkowski will be joined by eight other men considered to be among the best in the business. With scores based on a 100-point scale, men can earn up to 50 points per fight based on their ability to exhibit control and style while maneuvering around or over an animal; a bull can earn up to 50 points based on its quickness, aggression and willingness to stay with the bullfighter.


“It’s going to be a great event, and I’m really looking forward to showing everyone in Florida what sets Bullfighters Only apart from other bullfights.” Inman said.

The rise of Zach Call

Nebraska man is working his way up the Bullfighters Only standings


THEDFORD, Neb. – There is a rugged mentality that is just part with living and working in the Nebraska sandhills. 


It comes from harsh winters and dry summers that can lay a burden on people who reside in the 20,000 square miles of prairie grass over sand dunes. Like the winds that sweep across them, the sandhills have a way of crafting a soul. 


Zach Call is 24 years old and owns the lifestyle. He grew up working on a ranch and now handles day work for various ranches across north-central Nebraska. It allows him the opportunity to work for everything he owns while also providing him with the ability to escape and chase his dreams. 


Call is a bullfighter, and he’s pretty darn good. He has worked his way through the inaugural Bullfighters Only season to be among the best in the game, and he proved his talent even more during the BFO’s Las Vegas Championship this past December. Over seven days of freestyle bullfighting competition, Call earned $11,000 and became a showcase player in one of the greatest extreme sports spectacles in the world. 


“In bullfighting, you’re basically the underdog every match you go into,” he said. “It’s cool that you can stay focused enough that even though you’re going up against something that’s bigger, stronger and faster than you, you can come out unscathed. 


“The only way to beat the bull is with your head. You don’t outrun them. You have to outsmart them.” 

He has done that quite often, utilizing his exceptional athleticism to maneuver past the agile bulls, which are bred to be aggressive and quick. 


The best in the business are making it matter through Bullfighters Only. It’s quite a statement for Call, who only began fighting bulls four years ago. 


“I came back one summer after my sophomore year in college,” he said of his hometown of Mullen, Neb. “They had our hometown bull riding, and I asked my brother if I could fight it. It all took off from there.” 


It’s still taking off, much like a space shuttle leaving Cape Canaveral. 


“We discovered him off a Facebook video when he won the bullfight in Rapid City (S.D.) a couple years ago,” said Aaron Ferguson, founder and CEO of Bullfighters Only. “Once he figured it out, he’s been pretty much unstoppable. He’s really made a name for himself.” 


That he has. Call was a four-sport athlete at Mullen High School, and that athleticism is a big reason he’s found success in the BFO. Throw in a little sandhills work ethic, and Zach Call’s rise to the top is no surprise to those that know him. 


“He’s definitely a very tough guy,” said Beau Scheuth, who has worked and traveled with Call for the past couple of years. “I think his greatest strength is his mental side. He doesn’t let things rattle him. He might get in a tight situation, but he doesn’t let that frustrate him.


“During the short round in Vegas, he had a bull that caught him in the corner, but because he was aware of it, he got out of it. Some other people might have gotten trapped there and beaten up pretty good.”


It goes well beyond being tough, more than continuing the fight after taking a shot or series of shots. It’s a reflection on those days working cattle in the prairie grass in the rolling hills. 


“It’s in the middle of nowhere,” Call said of his home. “There’s not a lot there. It’s nice and quiet. There’s always people needing help, and that’s what I like doing.


“Where I’ve grown up around cattle, just learning the way they move, you can learn a lot from them even when you’re out on the pasture. You pick up on things that some people might not pay attention to.”


Understanding cattle is vital when going face to face with beasts hell bent on running over him. When it’s mixed with fantastic athleticism, the show is amazing. 


“To me, a lot about bullfighting is reading the animal,” he said. “When you get into a sticky spot, that athleticism is what gets you out of it. Footwork is one of the most important things, and that’s what I pay attention to. To step into the right spot at the right time can mean all the difference in the world.” 


He’s stepping in the right direction, and he’s excited about where he’s heading with Bullfighters Only. 


“The popularity of freestyle bullfighting is unreal,” Call said. “I think for a long time, bullfighting was put on the back burner. The BFO has done a good job about making people realize we’re athletes. To see it get to this point is really cool.” 


Zach Call is cool, too, and it’s served him well. 


Call returns to action alongside 5 more of the BFO's finest athletes, February 17-19 at Brighton Field Days in Okeechobee, FL.