Archive for August, 2016

postheadericon Webster likes rooftop view

Cody Webster has been to seven events so far this Bullfighters Only season and has moved to No. 1 in the standings. He will be one of three men battling for the title on Friday night in Ellensburg, Wash. (TODD BREWER PHOTO)

Cody Webster has been to seven events so far this Bullfighters Only season and has moved to No. 1 in the standings. He will be one of three men battling for the title on Friday night in Ellensburg, Wash. (TODD BREWER PHOTO)

Bullfighters Only’s top-ranked man ready to battle beasts at Ellensburg Rodeo

 

ELLENSBURG, Wash. – Cody Webster understands his position as king of the hill may be for a limited time, but he’s enjoying the view so far.

“It’s pretty neat, because we’re not talking about two or three or even four guys,” said Webster, the No. 1 man in the Bullfighters Only standings with $20,737 in season earnings. “We’re talking about 15 guys that could potentially be No. 1. That’s how good the group is and how talented everyone is.”

Cody Webster

Cody Webster

They’ve shown it over the course of this inaugural Bullfighters Only season. It has been an amazing race for the first BFO world championship, and Webster is the third man to hold the top spot in 2016.

“Last week made my seventh event, and I’ve won over $20,000,” said Webster of Wayne, Okla. “That speaks volumes for what the BFO has done this year. It would be different if a guy could go to every event.

“It’s a pretty good feeling, but nothing’s safe. We’ve got another one Friday.”

Dusty Tuckness

Dusty Tuckness

Webster will be one of three men involved in Friday’s Bullfighter’s Only event held in conjunction with the Ellensburg Rodeo, a Labor Day weekend tradition for more than 90 years. He will be joined by Nate Jestes of Douglas, Wyo., and Dusty Tuckness of Meeteetse, Wyo. Jestes has led the BFO standings for much of the season, and Tuckness has posted the highest-marked fight – a 91.5 in Cody, Wyo.

“It’s a great race,” Webster said, pointing out that Weston Rutkowski of Haskell, Texas, has also held the top spot and sits No. 3 in the standings with just a few events remaining in the regular season. “It’s set up well for everybody. Weston is more of a freestyle guy than me; he doesn’t have near as many protection jobs, so he’s been able to go to more events.

Nate Jestes

Nate Jestes

“That says something, too. It’s a good feeling and a good race. That’s what we want. Anybody can win this thing, like Schell Apple showing up and winning Bremerton (Wash.) and Zach Call winning Kennewick (Wash.). Those young guys are just as talented as the top guys.”

Bullfighters Only has created public demand for the sport. The bullfighters utilize their tremendous athleticism to try to outwit and outmaneuver equally athletic bulls, which are bred specifically for this type of fight.

“I’m thrilled for the BFO,” Webster said. “I’m blessed that I have so many protection jobs. At the same time, I was one of those young guys coming up who couldn’t get that many protection jobs. There was a time when I was starting when I had to do good at the freestyle bullfights or go flip burgers.

“The freestyle bullfights saved me. If I can be part of something for these young guys so they can come up and make a good living full time off freestyle bullfighting, then that’s great. It’s what we want.”

Jestes, Tuckness and Webster will first serve as protection bullfighters during the rodeo, then they will be part of the Bullfighters Only competition. 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.

“Not only will we show up and protect the cowboys, but we also get to step up for the freestyle fight,” Webster said.

Being part of the Ellensburg Rodeo also is a big step for Bullfighters Only as it continues to grow freestyle bullfighting through some of the most prestigious rodeos in the country.

“It’s huge,” he said. “It’s freestyle bullfighting. It’s extreme, it’s very much contact and it’s very wild. It’s also very dangerous.

“It’s very exciting to be able to add the bullfights to a great rodeo. The committee seems very stoked and happy, and we’re all pumped about it.”

CONTESTANTS
Nate Jestes
Cody Webster
Dusty Tuckness

postheadericon Carr stock brings the best to town

Real Deal is just one of many of the best Pete Carr Pro Rodeo animals that have shined during the Waller County Fair and Rodeo. (JAMES PHIFER PHOTO)

Real Deal is just one of many of the best Pete Carr Pro Rodeo animals that have shined during the Waller County Fair and Rodeo. (JAMES PHIFER PHOTO)

HEMPSTEAD, Texas – The dream is always the same, and it’s always draped in gold.

For rodeo cowboys, every step of their lives and their livelihoods is guided by that dream, of winning the world championship. The vision involves riding great steads or handling untamable bulls.

The brilliant visions of gold buckles include important stops along the way, and that’s what will drive the very best in ProRodeo to the Waller County Fair and Rodeo, set for 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 29-Saturday, Oct. 1, at the Waller County Fairgrounds in Hempstead.

A big part of the draw for contestants is the bucking horses and bulls provided by Pete Carr Pro Rodeo, which has been recognized as one of the top livestock firms in ProRodeo for several years.

“What we love about Pete Carr is that he has the kind of stock that attracts world champions and regular NFR qualifiers,” said Clint Sciba, the fair board’s president and co-chairman of the rodeo committee. “There’s a reason that Pete has been nominated for stock contractor of the year. He should’ve won it already.

“He’s been the best stock contractor in rodeo for a long time.”

It’s not just Carr’s incredible bucking stock; one of the key aspects of Pete Carr Pro Rodeo lies in its production. The Carr crew works diligently with the Waller County Fair Board and rodeo announcer Andy Stewart to make sure each performance is considered world-class.

“Pete and his crew are remarkable to work with,” said Paul Shollar, co-chairman of the rodeo committee. “I believe the overall entertainment of our rodeo is unmatched in southeast Texas, maybe in the country, for that matter. From start to finish, you will get your money’s worth at one of the top rodeos in the country right here in Hempstead, Texas.”

In fact, world champs and NFR qualifiers have become staples of each of the three performances of the rodeo.

“The reason Pete’s rodeos are so tough is because he has so many great horses,” said Richmond Champion, a 2014 NFR qualifier from The Woodlands, Texas. “Any rodeo you go to, you know you have a chance to win on anything he’s got. That makes it exciting for us.

He’s had his fair share of success on Carr animals. From a victory in Cheyenne, Wyo., to a go-round at that season’s NFR. Now he’d like to carry that over to a rodeo that’s very close to his home and his heart.

“Pete has our interests in line,” Champion said of Carr. “He wants us to have good horses to get on. He’s put in a lot of time to get good horses together, and he has a lot. He has horses that are consistent. He’s one of the guys that have the top animals and hauls them all over the country to give us a chance to win.”

It all adds up to a winning combination at the Waller County Fair and Rodeo.

postheadericon Doescher shooting for double dip

DUNCAN, Okla. – Early August is always a hot time for rodeo in the Prairie Circuit.

Over the last four weeks, 11 rodeos have taken place inside the boundaries of the circuit, which encompasses Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska. It’s a great opportunity for cowboys and cowgirls to cash in and push their way toward qualifications to the Chisholm Trail Ram Prairie Circuit Finals Rodeo, set for 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 20-Saturday, Oct. 22, at the Stephens County Arena in Duncan.

Cody Doescher

Cody Doescher

Cody Doescher of Oklahoma City is at the top of the list, primarily because he pocketed big circuit dollars at the largest event in the region, Dodge City (Kan.) Roundup Rodeo.

“It’s unbelievable,” said Doescher, who earned $6,457 in Dodge City to claim the all-around championship. “It’s a privilege, a blessing. It’s for sure a blessing, because I filled in for the team roping and didn’t even enter it.”

When Cale Markham needed a replacement heeler, Doescher took that role and ran with it. While he and Markham qualified for the championship round together, Doescher also earned a spot in the finale in steer wrestling.

“I was actually worried about making it back (to the short round) in bulldogging, and I actually ended up winning more money in bulldogging than I did team roping,” he said.

He sits third in the regional all-around standings with $15,045, is fourth on the steer wrestling money list ($9,063) and is eighth in heeling ($5,982). In the all-around, he trails brothers Trell ($17,056) and Shade Etbauer ($15,766).

All three are hoping to be part of the mix in Duncan in multiple events. Whoever has the most opportunities to win money inside the Stephens County Arena will have the best shot at walking away with the Prairie Circuit’s all-around title.

Doescher also earned more than $5,000 at the Guymon (Okla.) Pioneer Days Rodeo in early May. While he squeezed a check worth $1,191 the first week in May at the Wild Bill Kickok Rodeo in Abilene, Kan., he has found most of his success at the bigger events inside the region.

“I really needed to capitalize here,” Doescher said in Dodge City. “I was a little behind and needed to win some more for sure. This is a good one to do it at. I’m shooting for the all-around in the circuit and making the circuit finals in both events.”

He’s got the tools – and a month left in the circuit’s regular season – to do it.

postheadericon Call collects Kennewick win

KENNEWICK, Wash. – Zach Call didn’t start the year among the top 15 men on the Bullfighters Only tour.

He’s almost there, though, with strong performances during the BFO’s inaugural season. He made a solid move Friday night by posting an 80-point fight to win the championship in Kennewick in association with the Benton County Fair and Rodeo. He now sits tied for 16th in the standings heading into the final month of the season.

BFO-Logo“It got my foot further in the door with the BFO,” said Call of Thedford, Neb., a community of about 200 people in the north-central section of the state. “This was my fourth event.

“I think Bullfighters Only is great to help grow the sport and get it out there where it belongs.”

It is, and Call is just one of the reasons why. Not too bad for a man who has only been fighting bulls for three years.

“I used to ride, and that didn’t work out too well, so I made the switch,” he said. “I love the adrenaline rush of it, and I still get to be close to bull riding. I’ve loved it since I was a little kid.”

As a newcomer, he is still working his way up. Having the opportunity to showcase his talent at an established and prestigious rodeo like the one in Kennewick is a big move in his young career.

“It’s cool to be part of that rodeo,” Call said. “The atmosphere was outstanding.”

If he keeps performing like he did Friday night, Call will have more opportunities to be part of events that have that type of credentials.

“I just want to be able to go to the events and get a few more wins under my belt,” he said. “Hopefully that will help me move up the standings.”

RESULTS
1. Zach Call, 80 points
2. Toby Inman, 77
3. Justin Josey, 75

postheadericon Apple peels off Bremerton title

BREMERTON, Wash. – Not much separates the top men from the rest of the field in the Bullfighters Only.

Schell Apple proved that Friday night during the Bullfighters Only competition held in conjunction with the Kitsap County Fair & Stampede, posting an 81-point fight to win the title.

BFO-SchellApple“It’s pretty cool to get that win,” said the 20-year-old Oklahoman, who will celebrate his 21st birthday on Wednesday. “I was going up against Ross (Hill) and Cody (Webster), who are both in the top five in the standings. If either of them would’ve won the event, they would’ve moved to first.”

Instead, Apple moved up from 10th to at least seventh in the standings. Depending on how the weekend finishes, he could be among the top six.

All three men were matched with aggressive bulls that made their presence felt. Both Hill and Webster were hooked and knocked to the ground; their scores revealed as much. Webster finished second with a 77.5-point fight, and Hill placed third with a 71.

“I got bumped around and knocked off my feet, but I never fell,” said Apple of Fay, Okla. “None of us got away clean. All the bulls were real hot and right in your pocket.”

With half the score coming from the bull, it’s vital for the bullfighters to be matched with quality animals. They got that with Darrell Diefenbach’s 12x Fighting Bulls.

“It wasn’t the luck of the draw in those fights,” Apple said. “All those bulls were good.”

It worked out for the young bullfighter as he continues through Bullfighter’s Only’s inaugural season.

“It shows the kind of talent we have top to bottom in the BFO,” he said. “Even guys that are way back in the standings can come out and beat the top guys. I don’t care if you’re first or 15th; you have a chance to win on any given night.”

RESULTS
1. Schell Apple, 81 points
2. Cody Webster, 77.5
3. Ross Hill, 71

postheadericon A birthday bash in Bremerton

Schell Apple will celebrate his 21st birthday next week, and he has hopes of having the Bullfighters Only tour title from Bremerton, Wash., in his hands when the day arrives. (TODD BREWER PHOTO)

Schell Apple will celebrate his 21st birthday next week, and he has hopes of having the Bullfighters Only tour title from Bremerton, Wash., in his hands when the day arrives. (TODD BREWER PHOTO)

Young bullfighter to celebrate his 21st during BFO stop at Kitsap County Fair, Stampede

 

BREMERTON, Wash. – For many young people, a 21st birthday is cause for celebration and for an outrageous party.

Schell Apple isn’t like most people his age. He plans to celebrate a few days early by standing toe-to-toe with a fighting bull during the Bullfighters Only tour stop Friday held in conjunction with the Kitsap County Fair & Stampede in Bremerton.

BFO-SchellAppleIt’s the perfect way to ring in such an anniversary for the young man from Fay, Okla., who attends Oklahoma State University in Stillwater.

“I’ve been fighting bulls since I was about 14,” Apple said. “I actually think the bullfight in Bremerton will be exactly seven years to the day that I first started, which was actually a few days before my 14th birthday.”

While he’s still young, the Oklahoman is a veteran in the game and has been recognized as one of the top 15 bullfighters in the game. He will be matched with a couple of other veteran bullfighters – Cody Webster of Wayne, Okla., and Ross Hill of Muscle Shoals, Ala. – during the three-man freestyle bullfight in Bremerton.

Cody Webster

Cody Webster

“I think it’s really cool to be able to travel to prestigious rodeos like that and to be able to perform in front of crowds like that and showcase the abilities God has given me,” Apple said.

That’s what true athletic competition is like in any arena, especially in the case of Bullfighters Only. In fact, the men themselves were the guiding force behind the creation of Bullfighters Only. It was developed a little more than a year ago, and it has seen rapid growth. That’s been a good thing for the BFO and the bullfighters.

“It has taken off ridiculously fast,” he said of the BFO. “I didn’t know a company could get this much momentum so fast. I think it’s awesome.

Ross Hill

Ross Hill

“Basically we had a website to sell products. Someone had an idea to put on a bullfight, so we booked a venue in Las Vegas. That tone event in Vegas is what lined up the other 30 events of this tour.”

Now it its inaugural season, Bullfighters Only will crown its first world champion later this year. Bremerton is just one of the many stops along the way to deciding which man will earn that title.

“I have not been in the lead all summer,” said Hill, the No. 4 man in the BFO standings. “I’d like to jump myself up there. My mission is to ease into that first-place spot and put a little heat on them.”

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.

Hill won this past weekend in Gooding, Idaho, so he hopes to parlay that a solid run to close out the season. Webster won last week in Caldwell, Idaho, to add to his victory run; he is third in the standings.

“I’ve never been to Bremerton,” Webster said. “It’s definitely one of the top rodeos in the sport. We’ll just go out there and do what we do everywhere else, and that’s put on a show for everyone to enjoy.”

When it’s a battle of man vs. beast, the bull has the upper hand. That’s why the bullfighters volley with their own athleticism and maneuvers that keep them close to the action and just out of harm’s way.

Combined, the danger, the excitement and the speed of a 40- to 60-second fight is an incredible display that fans have enjoyed all season.

“I think we as Bullfighters Only have put freestyle bullfighting on a whole new level and on a whole other platform,” Apple said. “Back when they had the Wrangler Bullfights 16 years ago, it was pretty awesome. I think we’ve brought it up to a whole new speed. It’s almost an acrobatic sport now.

“It’s fun what we’re doing and how we’re all feeding off one another. Now we’re doing flips over bulls. We’ve stepped it up to a whole new level, and it’s just going to keep going up.”

CONTESTANTS
Schell Apple
Cody Webster
Ross Hill

postheadericon Inman returns to bullfighting

KENNEWICK, Wash. – It’s been five years since Toby Inman looked into the eyes of a bull.

He returns to competition this Friday for the Bullfighters Only tour event that will take place in conjunction with the Benton County Fair and Rodeo in Kennewick.

“I don’t know if it’s been retirement (from bullfighting) or if it’s just been a break,” said Inman, 33, of Davis Junction, Ill. “I left because of the economy and for other personal reasons. When you’re trying to juggle your own business and fighting bulls, too, it’s just pretty difficult.”

Toby Inman

Toby Inman

Inman owns Toby’s Tree Service in his hometown, so juggling that with a life in rodeo oftentimes proved difficult. That’s why he’s been away from the game so many years. But he knows the game well.

That’s why he’s in the field in Kennewick.

“It’s been mind-blowing,” Inman said of the experience. “I got the call last week. It wasn’t really planned. I’m still wrapping my head around it.”

He will serve as a replacement for Chuck Swisher, who suffered a season-ending knee injury a week and a half ago. He’s more than capable.

In 2011 when he opted for the break from bullfighting, Inman was considered one of the best in the game. Now he will test his skills in a three-man, winner-take-all bullfight inside Horse Heaven Arena – he will be joined by Zach Call and Justin Josey, the latter of whom is 12th in the BFO standings.

The return to freestyle bullfighting is in conjunction with the sport’s rise in awareness, thanks to Bullfighters Only, which has helped propel the sport into the mainstream. Each bout lasts between 40 and 60 seconds.

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 a test of talent, mental awareness and the ability to read what a bull is about to do. Is Inman concerned about his stamina?

“I cut trees for a living, so I’m in more shape than most people,” he said. “I figure I’ve got to know-how to keep the bull close to me so I don’t have to exert too much energy. That’s the plan, anyway.”

Inman has shied away from the game he loves for many reasons, the biggest of which is handling his tree business at home. He has clients and employees that need his attention. Still he’s excited to see what he can do in Kennewick.

“When you have the personality of a racecar driver or a fighter or people that jump out of airplanes, it’s a mentality of ‘Why not?’ ” he said.

That mentality served Inman well in the past. There’s no reason it shouldn’t benefit him this weekend in Kennewick.

CONTESTANTS
Zach Call
Toby Inman
Justin Josey

postheadericon Swisher out for 4-6 months

Chuck Swisher competes earlier this year at the Bullfighters Only's Cavender's Cup in Cedar Park, Texas. Swisher suffered a knee injury during his bullfight in Sikeston, Mo. He will miss at least four months. (TODD BREWER PHOTO)

Chuck Swisher competes earlier this year at the Bullfighters Only’s Cavender’s Cup in Cedar Park, Texas. Swisher suffered a knee injury while working as a protection bullfighter in Sikeston, Mo. He will miss at least four months. (TODD BREWER PHOTO)

Oklahoma bullfighter suffers torn ACL, will miss remainder of 2016 season

 

Chuck Swisher has been fortunate much of his career to shy away from serious injuries.

That stopped during the Sikeston (Mo.) Jaycee Boothill Rodeo, when Swisher suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament while serving as a protection bullfighter. In that role, his primary job is to protect fallen bull riders and all others inside the arena.

Swisher’s right knee buckled, but it didn’t slow him down. In fact, the Dover, Okla., man didn’t realize the depth of his injury until the rodeo had ended two nights later.

Chuck Swisher

Chuck Swisher

“The next day, my right knee never really hurt, but I could tell it felt weak,” he said. “I got it taped up real good, then I went out and fought bulls. Three or four bulls in, I planted my right leg, and my knee buckled again.”

That night he had an inkling of news ahead. A few days later, an MRI in Oklahoma City revealed the tear. Swisher has scheduled ACL replacement surgery for Aug. 30 in Dallas by noted rodeo surgeon Dr. Tandy Freeman.

That means he will miss four to six months of not only the Bullfighters Only season but also miss rodeos in which he was hired as a protection bullfighter.

“By stepping into the arena, I know what I’m getting myself into,” Swisher said. “Injuries are part of the game. Being upset won’t solve anything.

“If I have anything wrong with my lower half of my body, I’m going to get it taken care of. My knees and my ankles … that’s my team.”

Swisher is just 26 years old, so he has a long future in front of him as one of the top bullfighters in the game. That’s another reason to make sure the repair is complete.

“I could go the rest of my career with a bum knee and one not working 100 percent,” he said. “Our job’s too serious to not be 100 percent, so it’s off to surgery.”

That doesn’t mean humor can’t be part of the remedy.

“Hopefully by the time I have surgery, Usain Bolt can tell me to have just part of his ACL,” he said jokingly.

Though he’s suffered a few broken bones – including bones in his cervical vertebrae – and been knocked out, the ACL injury is the first to knock him out of the arena for a lengthy time.

“I’ve been fighting bulls for 10 years, and I’ve only had a few broken bones,” Swisher said. “I’m bummed I’m out, but I’m thankful that I’ve had the opportunity to do what I’ve done. I’m excited to go into this break with 100 percent joy.”

 

postheadericon Hill has a barrel of fun

Ross Hill shows the crowd that he has placed his cowboy hat on the head of his bull, AK-47, during Saturday's Bullfighters Only tour event in Gooding, Idaho. Hill won the event with an 89.5-point fight in the final round. (W.T. BRUCE PHOTO)

Ross Hill shows the crowd that he has placed his cowboy hat on the head of his bull, AK-47, during Saturday’s Bullfighters Only tour event in Gooding, Idaho. Hill won the event with an 89.5-point fight in the final round. (W.T. BRUCE PHOTO)

Veteran goes ‘old school’ en route to his Bullfighters Only tour victory in Gooding

GOODING, Idaho – Ross Hill is a veteran bullfighter who has a few tricks up his sleeve.

He earned his spot in Saturday night’s championship round of the Bullfighters Only tour event in association with the Gooding Pro Rodeo, then pulled out some old-school items from his toolbox to pull off an 89.5-point fight to win the championship and $3,000.

“We had a long-round fight to start with, and the top two scores from that advanced to the short round,” said Hill, who bested rising star Cade Burns in the final round to take the title. “The head-to-head format has been awesome.”

Ross Hill

Ross Hill

It was there, though, that Hill shined while matching moves 12x Fighting Bulls and Costa’s AK-47.

“Weston (Rutkowski) had him in Reno and won on him,” said Hill of Muscle Shoals, Ala. “I was really excited to have him. He’s got a big ol’ set of horns. I had seen Weston really shine on him and figured it was my opportunity to do the same.”

The quick little black bull was true to his name, spitting out rapid shots that the Alabama bullfighter countered. When the time came, the 33-year-old Hill pulled the animal toward the barrel and its inhabitant, barrelman Justin Rumford.

“I like to get some showmanship out of the barrel,” Hill said. “I watched the four guys go before I went, and I was on the fence next to the crowd, and they were loud the whole time. The loudest they got was when the bulls hit the barrel.

“I heard a long time ago that if you win the crowd, you win the gold. I wanted to bring that barrel into the fight. Of course, I drew the best bull, so that was the biggest thing.”

That, oftentimes, is the difference in the Bullfighters Only events, which serve as a world-class showcase of the sport’s top talent. Hill has 10 years of bullfighting under his belt, and it shows.

“To be the best bullfighter, you have to fight the best bulls,” he said. “With the BFO, the progression of our group is so high that it really comes down to who draws the best bull. We’re all pretty even in our fights, so it comes down to the bull.”

With half the score coming from the animal, having a talented athlete on the other side of the equation is vital. All the men in Gooding experienced that with 12x Fighting Bulls. In a field that included BFO No. 1 Nate Jestes and three other top bullfighters in Evan Allard, Justin Josey and Zach Call, only Hill and Burns made the short round.

“I really like that format where we can have one on one,” Hill said. “Had it not been that way, I would’ve finished second.”

That’s because Burns put on a solid performance in his inaugural Bullfighters Only competition. He won the opening round with an 88-point fight.

“I’m just excited to get my foot in the door,” Burns said. “It seems like the BFO is really taking off, and I just felt lucky to be part of it.

“It couldn’t have been any better. I’ve been working out all summer, and (Bullfighters Only CEO) Aaron Ferguson said I would probably be able to get into one this year. The way the cards fell, I got that chance. To get to step in the ring and get to compete with those guys was an honor. To be the first one and to be the new kid on the block was just a blessing to me.”

He fared fairly well for not having been part of a freestyle bullfight in several years.

“I wasn’t nervous and I wasn’t worked up,” he said. “I was just excited to have the opportunity to go out there and show my stuff.”

When the ink dried, though, Hill took the top prize. He wasn’t able to put it into any type of season perspective, but there’s a reason for that.

“I don’t rank my bullfights,” he said. “You conquer your bulls, and you don’t look any further than that. Don’t pride yourself on what was yesterday, because there’s another one next weekend. The 0only reason you want to look back is to keep it fresh for the future. None of your premier rodeo guys look at last weekend.”

With the victory, Hill pushed closer toward the top three in the BFO standings. He sits fourth with just eight events remaining in the regular season, but he’s only $1,300 behind the leader, Jestes.

“We’re just now getting cranked up for my season,” Hill said. “I’ve got three events coming up one right after another one, and I plan on winning three of them. My goal is to stick three W’s up on this Northwest run.”

RESULTS
First round:
Cade Burns, 88 points
Ross Hill, 87
Justin Josey, 85
Evan Allard, 84
Nate Jestes, 79
Zach Call, 77

Championship round:
Ross Hill, 89.5 points
Cade Burns, 86

postheadericon Webster wins on a wild night

Cody Webster jumps his bull, Little Foot, during Tuesday's Bullfighters Only tour event in conjunction with the Caldwell Night Rodeo. Webster won the event with an 89.5-point fight. (KIRT STIENKE PHOTO)

Cody Webster jumps his bull, Little Foot, during Tuesday’s Bullfighters Only tour event in conjunction with the Caldwell Night Rodeo. Webster won the event with an 89.5-point fight. (KIRT STIENKE PHOTO)

Packed crowd at Caldwell Night Rodeo enjoys Bullfighters Only competition

 

CALDWELL, Idaho – Having served as a protection bullfighter for a few years, Cody Webster knows all about the raucous crowd at the Caldwell Night Rodeo.

On Tuesday during the opening night of the five-night rodeo, Webster showed that crowd his tremendous athleticism during the Bullfighters Only tour competition that concluded the performance. He posted an 89.5-point fight on 12X Fighting Bulls’ Little Foot to claim the title.

“It was awesome, and it was in front of a sold-out crowd,” said Webster of Wayne, Okla. “Caldwell, Idaho, is one of the premier rodeos in our sport. It was just a Tuesday night, and it was completely sold out. It was amazing.

“I work this rodeo every year, but to bring the BFO in and add a new flair to it, the crowd loved it. I think they will be talking about it for a long time.”

Cody Webster

Cody Webster

The four-man bullfight was just what the crowd needed. In addition to four of the top men in the world, it also featured the fighting bulls from former bullfighter Darrell Diefenbach. From the opening moment, the stage was set.

“It was a pretty awesome night,” Webster said. “We had a really strong crowd, and the first bull out was a little red bull that will probably be a 24-point bull based on the 25-point scale the bull is judged on. That bull just set the tone, hooked Evan (Allard) and drug him around a little bit.”

Allard, of Vinita, Okla., wasn’t the only one who struggled a little with his aggressive bull. Nathan Harp of Tuttle, Okla., also got knocked down a bit. Allard finished with 73 points, and Harp was 81. Dusty Tuckness of Meeteetse, Wyo., wrapped up a solid fight with an 86-point score.

But the night belonged to Webster.

“One of my good buddies, Nate Jestes, who leads our standings, had that little black bull at Reno, and I think he ended up winning the night,” Webster said. “He’s just a really good fighting bull. He runs the whole time and doesn’t really get away from you.

“I had a really good, sweet fight. I broke him down pretty hard (with a fake) to get some separation and lined up a good jump to sell it.”

It’s vital to have strong bulls in a fight. The better the bull, the better the score can be. But that also opens the door for potential danger. Both Allard and Harp went down, and their scores reflected that.

“Nathan had kind of a bad go,” Webster said. “The bull got him caught and knocked down. When you get knocked down and take a shot, it usually takes a little out of you.

“This was definitely the strongest set of four bulls we’ve had all year long. It was one of those cool nights everyone will remember. The tone was set early on and stayed that way the whole night.”

He pocketed $1,500 for winning Caldwell and kept himself in contention for Bullfighters Only’s inaugural world championship.

“It gives me another little bump to move up in the standings,” he said. “Most of all, just going out every week to do the best we can makes a difference for us.”

CALDWELL RESULTS
1. Cody Webster, 89.5 points
2. Dusty Tuckness, 86
3. Nathan Harp, 81
4. Evan Allard, 73

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