postheadericon Bullfights to be part of Claremore event

Ray Carlson will be one of the five men who will be part of the freestyle bullfighting during Claremore's Extreme Roughstock, set for Saturday, Nov. 4, at the Claremore Expo Center. (PHOTO COURTESY OF TEXAS GREASEPAINT TOUR)

Ray Carlson will be one of the five men who will be part of the freestyle bullfighting during Claremore’s Extreme Roughstock, set for Saturday, Nov. 4, at the Claremore Expo Center. (PHOTO COURTESY OF TEXAS GREASEPAINT TOUR)

CLAREMORE, Okla. – It takes a special person to stand toe to toe with a raging bull.

Five men who possess that personality will be part of Claremore’s Extreme Roughstock presented by the Kubota Center of Oklahoma, set for 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov 4, at the Claremore Expo Center.

In addition to the action of bull riding and saddle bronc riding, this event that supports the Child Advocates of Northeast Oklahoma will also feature freestyle bullfighting through the Texas Greasepaint Tour.

“This is going to feature Mexican fighting bulls and five guys all going head to head,” said Danny Mathews, president of the tour.

Though not new to rodeo, freestyle bullfighting is going through a resurgence. It’s a classic example of man vs. beast, similar to the days of the gladiators. It’s high energy and dangerous, as the athletes try to maneuver around the agile bulls while staying just out of harm’s way.

“Traditionally we’ve see bulls that weigh 700 to 800 pounds, but the ones we will have in Claremore are going to be 1,300 to 1,400 pounds,” said Jerry Don Galloway, the association’s vice president and one of the original men on the Wrangler Bullfight Tour in the early 1980s. “These bulls are bigger, faster and hotter, and this has gotten bullfighting to where it’s like a danger zone.”

The five combatants are all Oklahomans, and they will battle for the title at the inaugural Claremore’s Extreme Roughstock: Ray Carlson, Tanner Brantley, Colton Moler, Dylan Idleman and J.F. Roch.

Each will battle their bulls for the mandatory 40 seconds. A horn will sound at that point, and the bullfighter will then have another 20 seconds to put the finishing touches on his bout. Scores are based on a 100-point scale, with half being for the bullfighter and half for the animal.

“The original bullfighting tour was started in 1981, because the highlight of every rodeo was the last bull out every night would turn out to be a fighting bull,” Galloway said. “We just cut the sheets and went straight to the showcase by having these bullfights.

“It’s 60 seconds of run for your life.”

The action will be extreme, but that’s what drives the bullfighters. They know in order to win events like this, they must get as close to danger as possible. One misstep could prove costly. Wrecks are likely to happen, but that’s the draw for fans who want to see quality bullfights.

“This will be my first trip to Claremore,” Galloway said. “I think it’s going to be a really fun event.”

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