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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

postheadericon Bullfighters Only to be showcased on final night of Gooding Pro Rodeo

GOODING, Idaho – The men of Bullfighters Only take danger to a new level.

It’s one thing to face danger; it’s another thing to attack it and bring it to its knees. That’s what the Bullfighters Only competition will be about Saturday during the final night of the Gooding Pro Rodeo. Five men will compete in the freestyle-bullfighting battle for the title.

Chuck Swisher

Chuck Swisher

“It’s crazy to think this is our actual first year and that we have so many events at these historic rodeos,” said bullfighter Chuck Swisher of Dover, Okla. “For my first year to walk into an arena with such prestigious awards, it’s a true honor for me to fight bulls there.”

The award-winning Gooding Pro Rodeo has a grand history, and Bullfighters Only is just adding to the showcase of the world’s best.

Freestyle bullfighting is not new to rodeo, and the Bullfighters Only has created public demand for the sport. The events feature man vs. beast in a head-to-head battle inside an arena. The bullfighters utilize their tremendous athleticism to try to outwit and outmaneuver the agile bulls.

Now just a little more than a year old, Bullfighters Only is still in its infancy, but it has grown rapidly. The Gooding rodeo is the 21st stop on the BFO’s inaugural tour.

Nate Jestes

Nate Jestes

“In my opinion, Bullfighters Only is the most elite set of guys that have ever been involved in freestyle bullfighting,” said Nate Jestes of Douglas, Wyo. “There hasn’t been a set of 15 guys that are as strong and as talented that are going down the road at this time. It’s not only the elite guys, but the elite bulls, too.

“These are the kinds of bulls that allow us to showcase our abilities and our talents. We’re fighting bulls that are good, fun to fight and are fun to watch. I think that’s what sets Bullfighters Only apart from other freestyle events. It’s the best guys, it’s the best bulls, and it’s the best freestyle competition around.”

Jestes leads the BFO standings with more than $19,000 in earnings, but his lead is slim. In bullfighting, dollars equal championship points, so every penny counts in a big way as the men battle their way toward the inaugural world championship.

Evan Allard

Evan Allard

“I think it’s a good thing we’ve all done to bring the bullfights back to where they belong,” said Allard of Vinita, Okla. “It’s taken off because bullfighting is the greatest extreme sport in the world, and we have the best freestyle bullfighters alive all doing it right now.”

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.

“What’s cool about Bullfighters Only is that the top 15 guys are part of what we call the Pioneer Project,” Jestes said. “It’s 15 of the sport’s best. We’re in it for each other and for the sport of freestyle bullfighting. No matter who wins, we’re happy for each other. It’s pretty amazing.”

That’s a big deal to the bullfighters.

“To me, Bullfighters Only is more like a group of brothers,” Swisher said of the top 15 bullfighters in the game that make up the BFO. “We all went in and are part of this team that helps in bringing the freestyle bullfights back in front of the fans. It’s something we’ve always wanted for so long.

“Even before there was even a thought of the BFO, we always stuck together and stuck our necks out for each other. We push each other to get better, and now we put a name on it.”

The men of Bullfighters Only have shared their passion with others, and now the world will see what true athleticism goes into freestyle bullfighting.

CONTESTANTS
Nate Jestes
Chuck Swisher
Zach Call
Evan Allard
Justin Josey

postheadericon Bulldogger wins on final night

J.D. Struxness his way to a share of the bulldogging title at the Lea County Fair and Rodeo. He was one of three cowboys who earned the Lovington championship on the final night of competition.

J.D. Struxness his way to a share of the bulldogging title at the Lea County Fair and Rodeo. He was one of three cowboys who earned the Lovington championship on the final night of competition.

LOVINGTON, N.M. – J.D. Struxness has had an outstanding week on the rodeo trail.

He put an exclamation point on it Saturday night by earning a share of the steer wrestling title at the Lea County Fair and Rodeo. During the final performance of the 2016 exposition, Struxness wrestled his steer to the ground in 3.6 seconds.

That, combined with his first-round run of 3.9, pushed the Minnesota cowboy to a 7.5-second cumulative time; he owns the bulldogging title with Shayde Tree Etherton, who competed earlier in the week.

“Lovington’s a good rodeo,” said Struxness of Appleton, Minn. “Last year was my first year here. It’s a cool set up and looks like a good rodeo to win. This year I had the steers to do it on, and I’m glad I capitalized on it.”

He did that all week. In all, the cowboy pocketed $10,894 this week and pushed his season earnings to nearly $56,000. That will move him inside the top 10 in the world standings and closer to the leader, Jason Thomas of Benton, Ark. Struxness needs to finish among the top 15 in the world standings to earn his first qualification to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.”

“It’d be great to make it to Vegas this year,” he said. “It would be an excellent start to my career; to be able to move right from college to that would be outstanding.”

R.C. Landingham, shown taking up prior to a ride in Estes Park, Colo., earned the Lea County Fair and Rodeo title on Saturday night with an 86-point ride on Pete Carr's Hometown Girl.

Bareback rider R.C. Landingham, shown taking up prior to a ride in Estes Park, Colo., earned the Lea County Fair and Rodeo title on Saturday night with an 86-point ride on Pete Carr’s Hometown Girl.

He finished the 2015 season 19th in the world standings. He returned to Northwestern Oklahoma State University to finish his collegiate rodeo career. He did that with a bang, earning the championship two months ago at the College National Finals Rodeo. If everything falls into place, he could be just the fourth cowboy in rodeo history to have won a collegiate title and world championship in the same discipline in the same calendar year.

“Just missing (the NFR) last year put a fire in my belly,” he said.

Struxness wasn’t the only man competing on the final night to have that fire in his belly. Both bareback rider R.C. Landingham of Hat Creek, Calif., and bull rider Cody Rostockyj of Lorena, Texas, are well within range of earning their first NFR qualifications, too.

Rostockyj, who finished 29th last year and has been as high as 18th at the end of a season, rode Pete Carr Pro Rodeo’s Leroy Brown for 88.5 points to win the Lovington title and $5,464.

“This is always a big rodeo that everybody wants to win,” the bull rider said. “It’s going to help a lot on the way to the NFR. You don’t want to count your chickens, but it gives you some cushion.”

Landingham has been an NFR bridesmaid each of the past three seasons. In 2013 and ’14, he finished 16th in the world standings, just missing ProRodeo’s grand finale. A year ago, he placed 19th. He has a firm place on fifth place heading into the final month and a half of the regular season.

He padded his earnings Saturday night by winning the bareback riding title in Lovington wi9th an 86-point ride on Carr’s Hometown Girl.

“She’s a little horse, and I’m a bigger guy, so I didn’t fit her as good as other guys would,” Landingham said. “She felt outstanding and was really fun to ride, and the two of us together put up a pretty good score.”

Like Struxness, Landingham has had a phenomenal week. He earned $8,170, with $5,154 in earnings from this southeastern New Mexico community.

He has earned more than $87,000 this season, and that doesn’t include potential earnings from a rodeo in Hermiston, Ore.

“I’m guaranteed (to go to the NFR) now,” he said. “I’m placing at every rodeo I’ve been to this week. Now I’m just going to be picky about what rodeos I go to and what horses I get on and finally go to the NFR.

“It’s a big relief. I always felt like I was going to be there.”

Now he knows for sure, and, like Struxness and Rostockyj, he has the Lea County Fair and Rodeo to thank for playing a role in it.

Lea County Fair and Rodeo
Lovington, N.M.
Aug. 10-13
Bareback riding leaders:
1. R.C. Landingham, 86 points on Pete Carr’s Classic Pro Rodeo’s Hometown Girl, $5,154; 2. Kyle  Brennecke, 85, $3,951; 3. Chad Rutherford, 84, $2,921; 4. Tim O’Connell, 83, $1,890; 5. (tie) Caleb Bennett, Teddy Athan and J.R. Vezain, 82, $916 each; 8. (tie) Troy Vaira and Winn Ratliff, 80, $258 each.

Steer wrestling: First round leaders: 1. Shayde Etherton, 3.7 seconds, $1,791; 2. (tie) Wyatt Jurney and J.D. Struxness, 3.9, $1,441 each; 4. Riley Duvall, 4.0, $1,090; 5. (tie) Monty Eakin and Matt Reeves, 4.1, $740 each; 7. (tie) John Franzen and Shane Frey, 4.2, $273 each. Second round leaders: 1. Josh Clark, 3.2 seconds, $1,791; 2. Josh Peek, 3.5, $1,558; 3. J.D. Struxness, $974; 4. (tie) Shayde Etherton and Dirk Tavenner, 3.8, $974; 6. Dean Gorsuch, 3.9, $623; 7. John Franzen, 4.1, $389; 8. Tanner Brunner, 4.2, $156. Average leaders: 1. (tie) J.D. Struxness and Shayde Etherton, 7.5 seconds on two runs, $2,512 each; 3. Dean Gorsuch, 8.2, $1,986; 4. John Franzen, 8.3, $1,6365; 5. Josh Peek, 8.5, $1,285; 6. Juan Alcazar Jr., 8.7, $935; 7. Josh Clark, 8.8, $584; 8. Matt Reeves, 9.3, $234.

Tie-down roping: First round leaders: 1. Ryle Smith, 8.2 seconds, $2,258; 2. Josh Peek, 8.5, $1,963; 3. Westyn Hughes, 8.8, $1,669; 4. Sterling Smith, 8.9, $1,374; 5. Kooper Saiz, 9.2, $1,080; 6. Shank Edwards, 9.3, $785; 7. Ryan Jarrett, 9.6, $491; 9. (tie) Bryson Sechrist, Marcos Costa and Joseph Parsons, 9.7, $65 each. Second round leaders: 1. Hunter Herrin, 7.6 seconds; 2. Marcos Costa, 8.3; 3. (tie) Shane Hanchey and Connor Hall, 8.7; 5. Reese Riemer, 8.8; 6. Timber Moore 8.9; 7. Sterling Smith, 9.0; 8. Cimarron Boardman, 9.1. Average leaders: 1. Sterling Smith, 17.9 seconds on two runs, $3,387; 2. Marcos Costa, 18.0, $2,945; 3. Westyn Hughes, 18.2, $2,503; 4. Reese Reimer, 18.8, $2,062; 5. Josh Peek, 19.5, $1,620; 6. Russell Trent Schilling, 20.2, $1,178; 7. Timber Moore, 20.1, $736; 8. Connor Hall, 20.7, $249.

Saddle bronc riding leaders: 1. Sam Spreadborough, 86 points on Pete Carr Pro Rodeo’s Cool Runnings, $4,766; 2. Nat Stratton, 85, $3,654; 3. (tie) CoBurn Bradshaw, Dean Wadsworth and Ryder Wright, 84, $1,853 each; 6. Curtis Garton, 82, $794; 7. Jacobs Crawley, 80, $635; 8. (tie) Cole Elshere, Cody DeMoss and Rusty Wright, 79, $159.

Steer roping: First round leaders: 1. (tie) Bryce Davis and J.P. Wickett, 9.5 seconds, $1,799 each; 3. Shay Good, 9.6, $1,290; 4. (tie) Cody Lee and Jess Tierney, 10.1, $781 each; 6. (tie) Steve Wolf and Scott Snedecor, 10.4, $170 each. Second round leaders: 1. Rocky Patterson, 8.7 seconds, $1,969; 2. Scott Snedecor, 9.5, $1,629; 3. J.P. Wickett, 9.6, $1,290; 4. (tie) Jason Evans, Marty Jones and Shay Johnson, 9.8 $634 each; 5. Landon McClaugherty, 9.9; 6. Roger Branch, 10.7. Third round leaders: 1. Garrett Hale, 9.1 seconds, $1,969; 2. Lawson Plemons, 9.5, $1,629; 3. JoJo LeMond, 9.8, $1,290; 4. Chet Herren, 10.2, $950; 5. (tie) J.B. Whatley and Jess Tierney, 10.5, $475 each. Average leaders: 1. J.P. Wickett, 32.7 seconds on two runs, $2,953; 2. Shay Good, 32.8, $2,444; 3. Jess Tierney, 33.4, $1,935; 4. Jason Evans, 33.8, $1,426; 5. Bryce Davis, 34.6, $917; 6. Scott Snedecor, 35.0, $509.

Team roping: First round leaders: 1. Luke Brown/Jake Long, 4.4 seconds, $1,756; 2. Dustin Egusquiza/Clint Summers, 4.5, $1,527; 3. Chase Massengill/Daylan Frost, 4.6, $1,298; 4. Tyler Wade/Dakota Kirchenschlager, 4.7, $1,069; 5. Coleman Proctor/Billie Jack Saebens, 4.8, $840; 6. (tie) Billy Bob Brown/Logan Medlin and Chris Francis/Cade Passig, 4.9, $496; 8. Colby Lovell/Travis Graves, 5.0, $153. Second round leaders: 1. Garrett Rogers/Jake Minor, 4.3 seconds, $1,756; 2. Nathan McWhorter/Dustin Davis, 4.4, $1,527; 3. Kaleb Driggers/Junior Nogueira, 4.5, $1,298; 4. Cody Snow/Dugan Kelly, 4.6, $1,069; 5. (tie) Luke Brown/Jake Long and Kyle Roberts/T.J. Brown, 4.6, $725 each; 5. 7. J.D. Yates/Trey Yates, 4.9, $382; 8. Coleman Proctor/Billie Jack Saebens, 5.1, $153. Average leaders: 1. Luke Brown/Jake Long, 9.1 seconds on two runs, $2,634; 2. Coleman Proctor/Billie Jack Saebens, 9.9, $2,290; 3. Billy Bob Brown/Logan Medlin, 10.1, $1,947; 4. Cody Snow/Dugan Kelly, 11.5, $1,603; 5. Chris Francis/Cade Passig, 17.1, $1,260; 6. Robert Ansley/Brian Sullivan, 18.0, $916; 7. Bobb y Boyd DVM/Bubba Paul, 25.4, $573; 8. Garrett Rogers/Jake Minor, 4.3 seconds on one run, $229.

Barrel racing leaders: 1. Sarah Rose McDonald, 17.36 seconds, $3,898; 2. Kellie Callier, 17.45, $3,119; 3. Hailey Kinsel, 17.50, $2,534; 4. Taylor Homuth, 17.51, $1,949; 5. Emily Miller, 17.61, $1,559; 6. Katelyn Scott, 17.90, $1,170; 7. (tie) Kristin Carlson, Liz Herrin and Stephanie Kirkpatrick, 17.95, $887 each; 10. Barbara Johnson, 17.96, $682; 11. (tie) Sherry Cervi and Falena Hunter, 17.97, $536; 13. Kortney Cleveland, 18.03, $390; 14. Jana Bean, 18.10, $292; 15. Tierra Gray, 18.10, $195.

Bull riding leaders: 1. Cody Rostockyj, 88.5 point on Pete Carr Pro Rodeo’s Leroy Brown, $5,464; 2. (tie) Tim Bingham and Brennon Eldred, 87, $3,643; 4. Jordan Wacey Spears, 86, $2,004; 5. Shane Proctor, 85.5, $1,275; 6. Jacob O’Mara, 83, $911; 7. Cole Melancon, 81, $729; 8. Justin Hendrix, 80.5, $546.

postheadericon Schueth leaps to Sikeston title

Beau Schueth jumps his bull, Hookin' A Ranch's Shed Hunter, to close out his fight Friday during the championship round of the Bullfighters Only event in Sikeston, Mo. (PHILLIP KITTS PHOTO)

Beau Schueth jumps his bull, Hookin’ A Ranch’s Shed Hunter, to close out his fight Friday during the championship round of the Bullfighters Only event in Sikeston, Mo. (PHILLIP KITTS PHOTO)

SIKESTON, Mo. – Bullfighting is more than a leap of faith for Beau Schueth, but he doesn’t mind jumping into the action.

It paid off Friday night to the Bullfighter Only tour victory during the championship round in conjunction with the Sikeston Jaycee Boothill Rodeo. The O’Neill, Neb., man scored 89 points to win the title.

“I’ve been in kind of a slump the last couple events I went to,” she said. “To finally get another win under my belt means a lot, and there’s no better place to do it than Sikeston. It’s an awesome rodeo, and the committee’s great. It’s just a fun time. This is my second year there, and I hope to be able to go back next year.

BFO-BeauSchueth“The crowd seemed really into it. When the crowd’s into it, that makes me want to do something crazier and fight harder for them.”

It also helped that Schueth was matched with an aggressive bull that was on point throughout the fight with Hookin’ A Ranch’s Shed Hunter. With half the score coming from the animal, the Nebraskan knew he had an opportunity to take the title.

“He’s a super-hot little bull,” Schueth said. “He was coming with it right out of the gate and for the first 20 seconds. Then it calmed down and settled into a grove. I got some step-throughs and started breaking him down.

“Those are the ones you want, ones that are hot on your tail the whole time. I got a good up at the end to sell (the fight).”

He earned his spot in the three-man championship round by eliminating Ross Hill in the tournament-style format. He was then matched with the other two winners, Chuck Swisher of Dover, Okla., and Weston Rutkowski of Haskell, Texas.

“I had a good bull named Webster,” Schueth said of the bull he had been matched with for the first round. “Cody Webster raised him and fought him a lot. I knew he’d know the game a little bit. I just went out and made sure my fakes and rounds were solid. He was a lot of fun. I didn’t get my legs up fast enough on my jump, but it worked out; I just rolled out of it and sold (the fight) there.”

With the fight, Schueth sits solidly in the top five of the Bullfighters Only standings. He’d like to cash in a little more before the BFO finale, which will take place Dec. 1-4 in Las Vegas.

“I was planning on being one of the contenders for the BFO world championship, but I’ve fallen down in the standings,” he said. “Winning Sikeston helped bring that goal back. I just want to be in the mix with all the top bullfighters going, and so far, it seems like I’ve been able to do that.

“It’s so much fun to be able to fight against guys you’ve watched and learned from. Now to compete with them and be on their level is an awesome feeling.”

He’s earned that spot one bullfight at a time.

SIKESTON RESULTS
1. Beau Schueth, 89 points
2. Chuck Swisher, 86
3. Weston Rutkowski, 84

postheadericon Brennecke earns a sloppy lead

LOVINGTON, N.M. – Every dollar matters to bareback rider Kyle Brennecke at this stage of the game.

He set up a nice paycheck Friday night at the Lea County Fair and Rodeo with a wet and wild 85-point ride on Pete Carr Pro Rodeo’s Painted River. That pushed him into the No. 1 spot heading into Saturday’s final performance.

“It was really important,” said Brennecke of Stephenville, Texas, the No. 29 cowboy in the bareback riding world standings. “I needed it mentally and just for the rodeo, too. I’m sitting in a spot where I can’t stop going and I need to keep going. Riding good when you draw a good (horse) like that is very important this time of year.”

Kyle Brennecke

Kyle Brennecke

Less than two months remain in the 2016 regular season, and he wants to capitalize at every turn; only the top 15 in the world standings at that point advance to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, the sport’s premier championship.

“This season has been better,” said Brennecke, now in his seventh season in ProRodeo. “I’ve done some things different this year. I’ve worked a little bit harder at it and took it a little more seriously. Here lately (success) has been on and off. I’ve just been trucking a long, and sometimes you’ve just got to run right through that wall they put in front of you.”

Sometimes the wall is opened in the form of a quality partner. The Missouri-born cowboy found it in Painted River, a 7-year-old mare with a championship lineage – sire Korczak has been to the NFR multiple times, and dam River Boat Annie was the 2007 reserve world champion bareback horse.

“My traveling partner, Tim O’Connell, won the short round at San Antonio on her,” Brennecke said. “He said, ‘She’s a really good horse, and she’s going to try no matter what.’ ”

He was right. O’Connell knows a thing or two about bucking horses. He is the No. 1 bareback rider in the game with nearly $128,000 in earnings and has guaranteed his third straight NFR qualification. O’Connell was 83 points on Carr’s Good Time Charlie and sits in third place.

“We click together pretty good, because we’re both pretty upbeat,” Brennecke said. “Sitting where he’s at and me looking up to that, it’s good to ride against somebody like that every day. It just keeps you stepping up instead of stepping back.

“My goal is to make the finals; it always has been. The guy that’s at the top of his level like Tim is definitely a plus for me. You’re only as good as the people you ride against every day. It’s always good to ride against him every day.”

Iron sharpens iron, and Brennecke hopes to continue his pearcing streak through the final six weeks of the season.

Lea County Fair and Rodeo
Lovington, N.M.
Aug. 10-13
Bareback riding leaders:
1. Kyle  Brennecke, 85 points on Pete Carr Pro Rodeo’s Painted River; 2.; Tim O’Connell, 83; 3. (tie) Caleb Bennett and Teddy Athan, 82; 5. (tie) Troy Vaira and Winn Ratliff, 80; 7. (tie) Joel Schlegel and Richmond Champion, 78.

Steer wrestling: First round leaders: 1. Shayde Etherton, 3.7 seconds; 2. Wyatt Jurney, 3.9; 3. (tie) Monty Eakin and Matt Reeves, 4.1; 5. (tie) Dean Gorsuch and Juan Alcazar Jr., 4.3; 7. Cody Cabral, 4.5; 8. (tie) Ross Mosher and Clayton Tuchscherer, 4.7. Second round leaders: 1. Josh Peek, 3.5 seconds; 2. (tie) Shayde Etherton and Dirk Tavenner, 3.8; 4. Dean Gorsuch, 3.9; 5. Wyatt Lindsay, 4.3; 6. (tie) Coltin Hill, Ryan Jarrett and Juan Alcazar Jr., 4.4; 6. (tie) Jace Melvin and Jake Rinehart, 4.5; 8. Gary Gilbert, 4.6. Average leaders: 1. Shayde Etherton, 7.5 seconds on two runs; 2. Dean Gorsuch, 8.2; 3. Josh Peek, 8.5; 4. Juan Alcazar Jr., 8.7; 5. Matt Reeves, 9.3; 6. Ross Mosher, 9.8; 7. (tie) Wyatt Lindsay and Blair Jones, 10.2.

Tie-down roping: First round leaders: 1. Ryle Smith, 8.2 seconds; 2. Westyn Hughes, 8.8; 3. Sterling Smith, 8.9; 4. Kooper Saiz, 9.2; 5. Shank Edwards, 9.3; 6. Ryan Jarrett, 9.6; 7. (tie) Bryson Sechrist and Marcos Costa, 9.7. Second round leaders: 1. Hunter Herrin, 7.6 seconds; 2. Marcos Costa, 8.3; 3. (tie) Shane Hanchey and Connor Hall, 8.7; 5. Reese Riemer, 8.8; 6. Timber Moore 8.9; 7. Sterling Smith, 9.0; 8. Cimarron Boardman, 9.1. Average leaders: 1. Sterling Smith, 17.9 seconds on two runs; 2. Marcos Costa, 18.0; 3. Westyn Hughes, 18.2; 4. Reese Reimer, 18.8; 5. Josh Peek, 19.5; 6. Timber Moore, 20.1; 7. Connor Hall, 20.7; 8. Kooper Saiz, 21.4.

Saddle bronc riding leaders: 1. Sam Spreadborough, 86 points on Pete Carr Pro Rodeo’s Cool Runnings; 2. Nat Stratton, 85; 3. (tie) CoBurn Bradshaw and Dean Wadsworth, 84; 5. Jacobs Crawley, 80; 6. (tie) Cole Elshere and Cody DeMoss, 79; 8. Doug Aldridge and Leon Fountain, 78.

Steer roping: First round leaders: 1. (tie) Bryce Davis and J.P. Wickett, 9.5 seconds; 3. Shay Good, 9.6; 4. (tie) Cody Lee and Jess Tierney, 10.1; 6. Steve Wolf, 10.4. Second round leaders: 1. Rocky Patterson, 8.7 seconds; 2. J.P. Wickett, 9.6; 3. (tie) Jason Evans and Marty Jones, 9.8; 5. Landon McClaugherty, 9.9; 6. Roger Branch, 10.7. Third round leaders: 1. Garrett Hale, 9.1 seconds; 2. JoJo LeMond, 9.8; 3. Chet Herren, 10.2; 4. (tie) J.B. Whatley and Jess Tierney, 10.5; 6. Troy Tillard, 10.6. Average leaders: 1. J.P. Wickett, 32.7 seconds on two runs; 2. Shay Good, 32.8; 3. Jess Tierney, 33.4; 4. Jason Evans, 33.8; 5. Bryce Davis, 34.6; 6. Roger Branch, 37.2.

Team roping: First round leaders: 1. Luke Brown/Jake Long, 4.4 seconds; 2. Chase Massengill/Daylan Frost, 4.6; 3. Tyler Wade/Dakota Kirchenschlager, 4.7; 5. Coleman Proctor/Billie Jack Saebens, 4.8; 6. (tie) Billy Bob Brown/Logan Medlin and Chris Francis/Cade Passig, 4.9; 7. Colby Lovell/Travis Graves, 5.0; 8. Rhen Richard/Cole Davison, 5.2; 7. JoJo LeMond/Kory Koontz, 5.4; 8. Manny Egusquiza Jr./Daniel Braman, 5.5. Second round leaders: 1. Garrett Rogers/Jake Minor, 4.3 seconds; 2. Nathan McWhorter/Dustin Davis, 4.4; 3. Kaleb Driggers/Junior Nogueira, 4.5; 4. Cody Snow/Dugan Kelly, 4.6; 5. Luke Brown/Jake Long, 4.6; 5. 6.D. Yates/Trey Yates, 4.9; 7. Coleman Proctor/Billie Jack Saebens, 5.1, 8. Billy Bob Brown/Logan Medlin, 5.2; 8. (tie) Landon McClaugherty/Joel Galvan Jr. and Casey Gattis/Kirt Jones, 9.3. Average leaders: 1. Luke Brown/Jake Long, 9.1 seconds on two runs; 2. Coleman Proctor/Billie Jack Saebens, 9.9; 3. Billy Bob Brown/Logan Medlin, 10.1; 4. Cody Snow/Dugan Kelly, 11.5; 5. Chris Francis/Cade Passig, 17.1; 6. Robert Ansley/Brian Sullivan, 18.0; 7. Garrett Rogers/Jake Minor, 4.3 seconds on one run; 8. Nathan McWhorter/Dustin Davis, 4.4.

Barrel racing leaders: 1. Sarah Rose McDonald, 17.36 seconds; 2. Hailey Kinsel, 17.50; 3. Taylor Homuth, 17.51; 4. Emily Miller, 17.61; 5. Katelyn Scott, 17.90; 6. Sherry Cervi, 17.97; 7. Kortney Cleveland, 18.03; 8. Jana Bean, 18.10; 9. Tierra Gray, 18.10; 10. Brandee Hawkins, 18.12; 11. Candie Miner, 18.20; 12. Aimee Kay, 18.23; 13. Sabra O’Quinn, 18.33; 14. Samantha Smith, 18.40; 15. (tie) Jenna Duhon and Nalynn Cline, 18.45.

Bull riding leaders: 1. Tim Bingham, on Pete Carr’s Classic Pro Rodeo’s Spotted Fever, and Brennon Eldred, on Salt River Rodeo’s Silence Reigns, 87 points; 3. Jordan Wacey Spears, 86; 4. Shane Proctor, 85.5; 5. Cole Melancon, 81; 6. Justin Hendrix, 80.5; 7. (tie) Rocky McDonald and Dylan Vick, 80.

postheadericon Bradshaw rides into the top spot

CoBurn Bradshaw rides Pete Carr's Cowboy Cowtown for 84 points Thursday night to take the lead at the saddle bronc riding lead at the Lea County Fair and Rodeo. (PEGGY GANDER PHOTO)

CoBurn Bradshaw rides Pete Carr’s Cowboy Cowtown for 84 points Thursday night to take the lead at the saddle bronc riding lead at the Lea County Fair and Rodeo. (PEGGY GANDER PHOTO)

LOVINGTON, N.M. – CoBurn Bradshaw wasn’t exactly born to be a saddle bronc rider, but you can’t tell that by the way he rides.

On Thursday night, he matched moves with Pete Carr Pro Rodeo’s Cowboy Cowtown for 84 points to take the lead at the Lea County Fair and Rodeo. It was a nice change of pace for the cowboy who might finally see some success in this southeastern New Mexico community.

“I’ve been here the last two years and haven’t done any good, so it feels good to be able to have some success here,” said Bradshaw of Beaver, Utah. “I had that horse a few years ago, and he was a little better to ride here than he was in San Angelo (Texas).”

CoBurn Bradshaw

CoBurn Bradshaw

ProRodeo success has come quickly for the 21-year-old cowboy. As a high school star, he finished second at the National High School Finals Rodeo in both 2011 and ’12. A year later, he finished third. As a freshman at Western Texas College in 2014, he earned the national championship.

Last year, he not only earned the Rookie of the Year title but also qualified for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, where he earned just shy of $230,000 over 10 nights in Las Vegas. Bradshaw won the second and fifth rounds, placed in four others and finished with the second highest 10-round cumulative score.

Not bad for a cowboy who didn’t start riding broncs until a few years ago, when he was beginning high school. He married into the famed bronc riding family, the Wrights, which consists of two-time world champion Cody Wright and his younger brothers, Jesse (the 2012 titlist) and Spencer (2014). Another brother, Jake, is a four-time NFR qualifier.

Meanwhile Cody’s oldest son, Rusty, earned his first trip to Las Vegas last year with Bradshaw; in 2015, Rusty Wright finished third in the final world standings, while Bradshaw placed fourth.

“I was good friends with Rusty in high school,” Bradshaw said.

In fact, that’s how Bradshaw met his wife, Rebecca; Rusty asked Bradshaw to take his aunt to prom. They were married in 2013.

Now he travels the rodeo trail chasing gold-buckle dreams with his in-laws. So far this season, he has earned more than $90,000 on the backs of bucking horses.

He’d like to add more from the Lea County Fair and Rodeo.

Lea County Fair and Rodeo
Lovington, N.M.
Aug. 10-13
Bareback riding leaders:
1. Caleb Bennett, 82 points on Pete Carr Pro Rodeo’s Lady Gaga; 2. Troy Vaira, 80; 3. (tie) Jordan Petlon and Caine Riddle, 71; 5. Luke Creasy, 64; 6. John Killian, 62; no other qualified rides.

Steer wrestling: First round leaders: 1. Shayde Etherton, 3.7 seconds; 2. Wyatt Jurney, 3.9; 3. (tie) Monty Eakin and Matt Reeves, 4.1; 5. Dean Gorsuch, 4.3; 6. (tie) Mike Garcia and Rowdy Parrott, 4.8; 8. Aaron Vosler, 5.2. Second round leaders: 1. Shayde Etherton, 3.8 seconds; 2. Dean Gorsuch, 3.9; 3. Wyatt Lindsay, 4.3; 4. (tie) Coltin Hill and Ryan Jarrett, 4.4; 6. (tie) Jace Melvin and Jake Rinehart, 4.5; 8. Gary Gilbert, 4.6. Average leaders: 1. Shayde Etherton, 7.5 seconds on two runs; 2. Dean Gorsuch, 8.2; 3. Matt Reeves, 9.3; 4. Wyatt Lindsay, 10.2; 5. Heath Thomas, 10.3; 6. Billy Bugenig, 11.0; 7. Sam Powers, 11.1; 8. (tie) Coltin Hill and Rowdy Parrott, 11.4.

Tie-down roping: First round leaders: 1. Ryle Smith, 8.2 seconds; 2. Westyn Hughes, 8.8; 3. Sterling Smith, 8.9; 4. Kooper Saiz, 9.2; 5. Shank Edwards, 9.3; 6. Ryan Jarrett, 9.6; 7. (tie) Bryson Sechrist and Marcos Costa, 9.7. Second round leaders: 1. Hunter Herrin, 7.6 seconds; 2. Marcos Costa, 8.3; 3. (tie) Shane Hanchey and Connor Hall, 8.7; 5. Reese Riemer, 8.8; 6. Timber Moore 8.9; 7. Sterling Smith, 9.0; 8. Cimarron Boardman, 9.1. Average leaders: 1. Sterling Smith, 17.9 seconds on two runs; 2. Marcos Costa, 18.0; 3. Westyn Hughes, 18.2; 4. Reese Reimer, 18.8; 5. Timber Moore, 20.1; 6. Connor Hall, 20.7; 7. Kooper Saiz, 21.4; 8. JoJo LeMond, 23.4.

Saddle bronc riding leaders: 1. CoBurn Bradshaw, 84 points on Pete Carr Pro Rodeo’s Cowboy Cowtown; 2. Cole Elshere, 79; 3. Doug Aldridge and Leon Fountain, 78 points; 5. Zeke Thurston, 77; 6. Ryan Mackenzie, 75; 7. Jesse James Kirby, 73; 8. Taos Muncy, 65.

Steer roping: First round leaders: 1. (tie) Bryce Davis and J.P. Wickett, 9.5 seconds; 3. Shay Good, 9.6; 4. (tie) Cody Lee and Jess Tierney, 10.1; 6. Steve Wolf, 10.4. Second round leaders: 1. Rocky Patterson, 8.7 seconds; 2. J.P. Wickett, 9.6; 3. (tie) Jason Evans and Marty Jones, 9.8; 5. Landon McClaugherty, 9.9; 6. Roger Branch, 10.7. Third round leaders: 1. Garrett Hale, 9.1 seconds; 2. Chet Herren, 10.2; 3. (tie) J.B. Whatley and Jess Tierney, 10.5; 5. Troy Tillard, 10.6; 6. Brodie Poppino, 11.1. Average leaders: 1. J.P. Wickett, 32.7 seconds on two runs; 2. Shay Good, 32.8; 3. Jess Tierney, 33.4; 4. Jason Evans, 33.8; 5. Bryce Davis, 34.6; 6. Roger Branch, 37.2.

Team roping: First round leaders: 1. Luke Brown/Jake Long, 4.4 seconds; 2. Tyler Wade/Dakota Kirchenschlager, 4.7; 3. Coleman Proctor/Billie Jack Saebens, 4.8; 4. Billy Bob Brown/Logan Medlin4.9; 5. Colby Lovell/Travis Graves, 5.0; 6. Rhen Richard/Cole Davison, 5.2; 7. JoJo LeMond/Kory Koontz, 5.4; 8. Manny Egusquiza Jr./Daniel Braman, 5.5. Second round leaders: 1. Garrett Rogers/Jake Minor, 4.3 seconds; 2. Nathan McWhorter/Dustin Davis, 4.4; 3. Cody Snow/Dugan Kelly, 4.6; 4. Luke Brown/Jake Long, 4.6; 5. J.D. Yates/Trey Yates, 4.9; 6. Coleman Proctor/Billie Jack Saebens, 5.1, 7. Billy Bob Brown/Logan Medlin, 5.2; 8. (tie) Landon McClaugherty/Joel Galvan Jr. and Casey Gattis/Kirt Jones, 9.3. Average leaders: 1. Luke Brown/Jake Long, 9.1 seconds on two runs; 2. Coleman Proctor/Billie Jack Saebens, 9.9; 3. Billy Bob Brown/Logan Medlin, 10.1; 4. Cody Snow/Dugan Kelly, 11.5; 5. Garrett Rogers/Jake Minor, 4.3 seconds on one run; 6. Nathan McWhorter/Dustin Davis, 4.4; 7. Tyler Wade/Dakota Kirchenschlager, 4.7; 8. J.D. Yates/Trey Yates, 4.9.

Barrel racing leaders: 1. Sarah Rose McDonald, 17.36 seconds; 2. Hailey Kinsel, 17.50; 3. Taylor Homuth, 17.51; 4. Emily Miller, 17.61; 5. Katelyn Scott, 17.90; 6. Sherry Cervi, 17.97; 7. Kortney Cleveland, 18.03; 8. Tierra Gray, 18.10; 9. Brandee Hawkins, 18.12; 10. Candie Miner, 18.20; 11. Aimee Kay, 18.23; 12. Sabra O’Quinn, 18.33; 13. Samantha Smith, 18.40; 14. Jenna Duhon, 18.45; 15. (tie) Shy-Anne Jarrett and Ilyssa Glass, 18.49.

Bull riding leaders: 1. Brennon Eldred, on Salt River Rodeo’s Silence Reigns, and Tim Bingham, on Pete Carr’s Classic Pro Rodeo’s Spotted Fever, 87 points; 3. Jordan Wacey Spears, 86; 4. Shane Proctor, 85.5; 5. Cole Melancon, 81; 6. Justin Hendrix, 80.5; 7. (tie) Rocky McDonald and Dylan Vick, 80.

postheadericon Bullfighters to battle for the title

Bullfighters Only will be featured on opening night of the Caldwell Night Rodeo

 

CALDWELL, Idaho – The life of a bullfighter is sometimes wild, sometimes exciting and all the time consumed by their passion.

It takes a true love affair with the game to look a bull in the eyes and risk everything, escaping danger in the blink of an eye. That’s the reality for the men of Bullfighters Only, who will be part of opening night of the Caldwell Night Rodeo on Aug. 16.

Evan Allard

Evan Allard

Four men will test their athleticism against equally athletic fighting bulls, with the winner claiming the prize at one of the most prestigious rodeos in the country.

“I think it’s a good thing we’ve all done to bring the bullfights back to where they belong,” said Evan Allard, a world champion bullfighter from Vinita, Okla. “It’s taken off because bullfighting is the greatest extreme sport in the world, and we have the best freestyle bullfighters alive all doing it right now.”

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.

Dusty Tuckness

Dusty Tuckness

“We’re trying to grow the sport and bring it back to the main stage,” said Dusty Tuckness, the six-time Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association’s bullfighter of the year from Meeteetse, Wyo. “We’ve got a great group of guys and great support. The fan base is growing.

“There’s just so much excitement to freestyle bullfighting. It’s an event that hasn’t had a true world champion since 2000. Bullfighters Only is bringing that back while also keeping an eye out for the young talent. We want the best of the best. The main stage is where it belongs. The energy and the level of excitement are second to none.”

Freestyle bullfighting is not new to rodeo, and the Bullfighters Only has created public demand for the sport. The events feature man vs. beast in a head-to-head battle inside an arena. The bullfighters utilize their tremendous athleticism to try to outwit and outmaneuver the agile bulls.

Chuck Swisher

Chuck Swisher

Now just a little more than a year old, Bullfighters Only is still in its infancy, but it has grown rapidly. The Caldwell Night Rodeo is the 20th stop on the BFO’s inaugural tour.

“It’s crazy to think this is our actual first year and that we have so many events at these historic rodeos,” said Chuck Swisher of Dover, Okla.

The tour is just part of a grand collaboration of the world’s top bullfighters.

“To me, Bullfighters Only is more like a group of brothers,” Swisher said of the top 15 bullfighters in the game that make up the BFO. “We all went in and are part of this team that helps in bringing the freestyle bullfights back in front of the fans. It’s something we’ve always wanted for so long.

“Even before there was even a thought of the BFO, we always stuck together and stuck our necks out for each other. We push each other to get better, and now we put a name on it.”

While the danger and the battles with athletic bovines are part of their makeup, the bullfighters also have a passion for competition.

Cody Webster

Cody Webster

“I want Bullfighters Only to be part of every major event,” said Cody Webster of Wayne, Okla. “Freestyle bullfighting is what put me on the map, and we have a bunch of young bullfighters who have a lot of talent. I want us to get to where we provide an avenue for those young guys.”

That’s happening already, with some amazing young talent who want to be involved in one of the greatest extreme sports.

“The bulls drive me,” said Allard, who has been fighting bulls for 11 years. “Just knowing that you’re able to go head to head with one of the fiercest creatures alive and know that if everything goes right, you’re able to control him.

“It’s the art itself that drives me.”

That passion is what drives the men of Bullfighters Only.

CALDWELL CONTESTANTS
Cody Webster
Nathan Harp
Evan Allard
Dusty Tuckness

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