postheadericon Tuckness strikes again

Dusty Tuckness matches moves with Destructor for 90 points to win Friday's Bullfighters Only Cavender’s Cup Presented by Bodyguard Bumpers. It was Tuckness' second straight BFO victory.

Dusty Tuckness matches moves with Destructor for 90 points to win Friday’s Bullfighters Only Cavender’s Cup Presented by Bodyguard Bumpers. It was Tuckness’ second straight BFO victory. (ANDRE SILVA PHOTO)

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.

Dusty Tuckness

Dusty Tuckness

“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 in the championship round 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. It was even more 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 in the standings. 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 BFO’s 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.

postheadericon Looking to double-dip

Schiffner earns redemption on known bull, hopes to score again Saturday

MOOSE JAW, Saskatchewan – Scott Shiffner wanted a little payback with Pound The Alarm, an athletic red and white paint bull that has a great history.

Schiffner got it Friday night with an 86.5-point ride to take the lead after the opening night of the Professional Bull Riders Moose Jaw Powered by Young’s Equipment at Mosaic Place in Moose Jaw.

Scott Schiffner

Scott Schiffner

“That bull’s been to the PBR World Finals,” said Schiffner, 37, of Strathmore, Alberta. “He was raised here, then went down to the (United) States. I got on him before he went down to the states, and he bucked me off back when he was pretty young.

“It’s good that we’re even.”

Yes, it is. The high marking puts him in the No. 1 position heading into the final night of the two-day competition. But like many of the bull riders in the mix, he paid two entry fees and will ride again Saturday.

“If everything goes well, I have a chance to win first and second,” said Schiffner, a two-time Canadian bull riding champion and a PBR Canada champion. “The nice thing about this event is that I have a chance to do that.”

His first appearance on Pound the Alarm came four years ago, when the young bull bucked off the 16-time Canadian Finals Rodeo qualifier. On Friday, though, the Mosaic Place crowd saw the redemption ride for a proud Canadian champion.

“It was an excellent crowd,” he said. “They were energetic and into it. They understand the Western way of life and rodeo, so it’s entertaining for us to be able to perform in front of a crowd like that.”

Schiffner wasn’t the only big winner Friday in Moose Jaw. Jordynn Swanson won the first night of the Bullfighters Only qualifier that was part of the event, scoring 82 points during his freestyle bullfight.

In the match, Swanson utilized his athleticism to maneuver close to and around the equally athletic and agile Spanish fighting bull, which was bred for that type of fight. Like bull riding, scores are on a 100-point scale, with half coming from each the man and the beast.

“I thought my bull was really going to come out there pretty good, and I felt like I was setting him up for a good fake, but some lights went off, and he buggered away,” said Swanson, 24, of Virden, Manitoba. “I would’ve liked to have more heat, but you just have to go at bulls like this and make them hot.”

The ideal bull would stay close to the bullfighter, but when that doesn’t happen, then the man must make things work. That’s just what Swanson did. He will compete on night No. 2, which begins at 7 p.m. Saturday.

“It was the biggest crowd I’ve ever fought in front of in my life,” he said. “It was my first PBR event and my first BFO event. By far, it’s on the top of my list as the coolest and loudest and most fun.”

postheadericon Nowlin dominating circuit standings

DUNCAN, Okla. – Tracy Nowlin needed everything the Chisholm Trail Ram Prairie Circuit Finals Rodeo could offer last October.

Nowlin knew she didn’t have a chance to win the circuit championship, so her only hope at qualifying for the RAM National Circuit Finals Rodeo was to walk away from Stephens County Arena with the average title.

She accomplished that goal, rounding the pattern in a three-run cumulative time of 48.36 seconds; it guided her to Kissimmee, Fla., in April, where she won the first round at the RNCFR.

This year, it seems, Nowlin is hoping to avoid those last-minute heroics. She has a substantial lead in the Prairie Circuit barrel racing standings, having earned $9,500 through May 21. She owns a lead of nearly $4,400 over the reigning circuit champ, Emily Miller of Weatherford, Okla.

If everything goes as she hopes, Nowlin will be the No. 1 cowgirl when she enters the Chisholm Trail Ram Prairie Circuit Finals Rodeo, set for 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 19-Saturday, Oct. 21, at the Stephens County Arena in Duncan.

Of her earnings so far this year, the biggest chunk came in the Oklahoma Panhandle, where Nowlin – of Nowata, Okla. – won the Guymon Pioneer Days Rodeo title. She placed in both rounds to win the average and pocketed $4,820. It’s the biggest circuit rodeo so far this season, but there are plenty of other big events set for the rest of the region season.

“I think I have the circuit finals made, but it would be a dream come true to win the circuit,” said Nowlin, who earned more than $6,300 in Duncan last October.

She finished the campaign with $17,706, and already this year has more than half that with most of the circuit season left. In fact, she had accumulated her $9,500 through just six events. More importantly, she is the biggest money-earner of all competitors in the circuit, made up of rodeos and contestants primarily in Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska.

Behind her tie-down roper Ryan Jarrett of Comanche, Okla., who has earned more than $7,700. He owns a lead of more than $2,200 over the No. 2 man, Bryson Sechrist of Apache, Okla.

Other leaders are all-around cowboy Trell Etbauer of Goodwell, Okla.; bareback rider Anthony Thomas of Palestine, Texas; J.D. Struxness of Appleton, Minn.; header Brett Christensen of Alva, Okla.; heeler Dawson McMaster of Madison, Kan.; saddle bronc rider Joe Lufkin of Sallisaw, Okla.; bull rider Brad Harris of Udall, Kan.; and steer roper Chet Herren of Pawhuska, Okla., who has a lead of just $33 over traveling partner Rocky Patterson of Pratt, Kan., a four-time world champion.

The 2017 circuit champions won’t be crowned until October in Duncan, but it will be a big race over the next four and a half months to see what happens.

postheadericon Rangers ready for college finale

ALVA, Okla. – Ten Rangers are ready to ride for college rodeo’s most coveted title.

Six men and four women from the Northwestern Oklahoma State University have earned the right to compete at the College National Finals Rodeo, set for June 11-17 at the Casper (Wyo.) Events Center.

“Having 10 going to the college finals shows how great the program is in Alva and what a great coach Stockton (Graves) is,” said Edgar Fierro, a heeler from Hennessey, Okla., who qualified with his partner, Kass Bittle of Kremlin, Okla. “It shows Stockton’s ‘Let’s go win’ attitude. That attitude goes through us, and that’s the way it showed this year.”

Edgar Fierro

Edgar Fierro

Bittle and Fierro advanced to the CNFR by winning the Central Plains Region team roping title, a feat shared by steer wrestler Joby Allen of Alva. They will be joined on the men’s team by header Dylan Schulenberg of Coal Valley, Ill.; tie-down roper Mason Bowen of Bullard, Texas; and steer wrestler Cody Devers of Perryton, Texas.

The Rangers women will be represented barrel racers Ashlyn Moeder of Oakley, Kan., and Sara Bynum of Beggs, Okla., along with goat-tiers Tearnee Nelson and Katy Miller, both of Faith, S.D. Miller finished third in the region to qualify outright, and the other three were added to the team since the Northwestern women finished second in the region and earned the right to have a full squad in Casper.

“Having that many make it to the finals means quite a bit for the rodeo program here at Northwestern,” said Bittle, who just wrapped up his freshman year in Alva. “I think it helps build the program for the future. The more times we have big numbers going to the college finals puts out a good reputation for us.”

Kass Bittle

Kass Bittle

But the goal, of course, is to leave Casper with championships. A year ago, steer wrestler J.D. Struxness won the college title, followed closely by the runner-up, teammate Jacob Edler. The Rangers finished second in the men’s team standings.

“The college finals is a big deal, but you can’t overthink it,” Bittle said. “I feel like we’ve got a really good chance. We’ve got a really good women’s team. As for the guys, we’ve got a lot of talent going up there. I’m looking forward to seeing how it plays out.”

While Miller was the only qualifier for the women’s team, the others were among the top 10 in their respective events. Nelson finished fourth in goat tying, while Moeder was fifth and Bynum tied for eighth in barrel racing.

The six men advanced on their own. While Allen, Bittle and Fierro earned regional titles, Devers, Bowen and Schulenberg were runners-up.

“I think the men’s team is going to have a great chance,” Fierro said. “I think the guys are just as hungry for it as I am, and I think we’re going to do pretty good.”

It comes down to putting in the work ahead of time to make sure they arrive in Casper as prepared for the competition as possible.

“I go to the practice pen about 7 (a.m.), roping on some horses,” Fierro said. “I’ll rope on some colts during the day when it’s hot, then I’ll get on good horses and rope some more in the evening.”

That’s the work ethic it takes to be successful at that level, but there’s much more than work that goes into being a top-notch rodeo athlete.

“Stockton works with our mental game so much,” Fierro said. “He teaches us how to win, and he prepares us for the mental side of the rodeo life. I think that’s what makes us successful.”

Bittle agreed.

“Stockton is a heck of a guy who has been around and done so much,” said Bittle, pointing out the coach’s seven NFR qualifications. “I’m a team roper, but the things you learn from him can apply to any event. He’s been in every setup and every situation you can think about.

“The mental game is as much of rodeo as anything else, and I think Stockton helps that with everybody, no matter what event they do.”

Now the Rangers hope it translates into a solid college finals. They will have a week of competition to find out.

postheadericon BFO is ready to rock Decatur

Coming off his victory in Lewiston, Idaho, Dusty Tuckness will compete this Friday at the Bullfighters Only Cavender's Cup presented by Bodyguard Truck Accessories on Friday in Decatur, Texas. (TODD BREWER PHOTO)

Coming off his victory in Lewiston, Idaho, Dusty Tuckness will compete this Friday at the Bullfighters Only Cavender’s Cup presented by Bodyguard Truck Accessories on Friday in Decatur, Texas. (TODD BREWER PHOTO)

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
One qualifier BFO Super Camp

postheadericon Dietz Challenge is a success

O’Connell, Jarboe claim event titles during Navy SEAL Foundation fundraiser

ROSENBERG, Texas – Memorial Day is much more than back yards, barbecues and gatherings with friends. It’s more than kicking off summer, lounging by the pool or enjoying time on the lake.

It was established to honor fallen heroes, those that have given everything in defense of the country. It’s the perfect time for the U.S. Navy SEAL Danny Dietz Memorial Classic, which took place this past weekend at the Fort Bend County Fairgrounds in Rosenberg.

For the second straight year, the event included the U.S. Navy SEAL Danny Dietz Ultimate Challenge, a Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association bareback riding and bull riding; it’s become quite a hit in professional rodeo.

Tim O'Connell

Tim O’Connell

“The Danny Dietz Memorial Classic started out with some humble beginnings to honor the fallen SEALs and bring back the true meaning of Memorial Day,” said Patsy Dietz-Shipley, Dietz’s widow and co-founder of the classic. “This Memorial weekend as I watched and enjoyed the PRCA event, I realized we have accomplished our mission.

“These hard men who ride these bulls and horses have a lot of similarities with our elite warriors … they are patriotic and love our country, they are passionate about the sport they do and they never quit. I can’t wait to see this event grow each year and see how the American people come together during such a special time like Memorial Day.”

The Dietz Ultimate Challenge has become a go-to event for some of the best roughstock cowboys in ProRodeo. World champions and Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualifiers made up the 24-man field in each of the events. In fact, reigning world champion Tim O’Connell of Swingle, Iowa, scored 90 points to win the bareback riding title in Rosenberg.

“That’s a pretty awesome horse,” he said of Pickett Rodeo’s Shady Nights. “I was very lucky to get Shady Nights. I’ve wanted to get on that horse for a long time.

“I like that she blows to the left right (out of the chute). She did exactly what I figured she’d do. It was just perfect timing from the both of us and was a lot of fun. I really opened up and exposed myself, and she was jumping really high, probably at least two feet off the ground. It was a good match-up.”

Roscoe Jarboe

Roscoe Jarboe

Bull rider Roscoe Jarboe, a 2016 NFR qualifier from New Plymouth, Idaho., won the bull riding championship with an 84-point ride on Rafter H Rodeo’s Feel The Noise. Both Jarboe and O’Connell pocketed $3,779 with their victories, but the biggest part of the weekend was being involved with the memorial event.

“It’s very special,” O’Connell said. “I got to take one of the widows out into the arena to start it off. Being at an event like that puts everything into perspective. We can get on bucking horses because these guys have put their lives on the line to keep us free.

“It’s like they say, ‘We are the land of the free because of the brave.’ I can’t thank the men and women of the armed forces enough, what they’ve seen and what they’ve been through so we get to live our lives the way we do. To have an event at the memorial for Danny Dietz is nice, but I think we should have more of them and not just Memorial Day weekend.”

The Dietz Ultimate Challenge paid out more than $25,000 in just one Saturday. O’Connell likes that the event has a great response, but he expects it to continue growing in the years to come.

“This event has grown so much in just its second year with the Resistol American feather campaign,” said Danny Quinlin, chairman of the event. “It amazes me how much the NSW community and the Gold Star families back and enjoy this event. We look forward to the continued growth of both the event and its fundraising mission for the Navy SEAL Foundation.”

Clint Cannon – a five-time NFR qualifier from nearby Waller, Texas, and one of the Dietz Ultimate Challenge organizers – said there is great potential in the specialized bareback riding and bull riding aspect.

“This is a great opportunity to show fans some of the greatest roughstock cowboys and some of the toughest cowboys in rodeo,” Cannon said. “When you have guys like Tim O’Connell, Caleb Bennett, (three-time world champion bull rider) Sage Kimzey all coming for one night, it says something to the people here.

“This is a great event and a great partnership for the U.S. Navy SEAL Danny Dietz Memorial and the PRCA. For me and my brother, Kirby, it’s just an honor to be part of such a special event in southeast Texas.”

postheadericon COLUMN: Time to support rodeo

A Montreal animal rights group is targeting a Quebec rodeo near the city of more than 4 million people.

Taking advantage of its urban setting, the Montreal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals launched a media and legal movement to condemn rodeo earlier this year. This past week, a law professor at the University of Montreal filed for an injunction on NomadFest Urban Rodeo, planned for the community in August.

A petition has been created to show support for rodeo, and I urge you to sign it. Animal rights activists will continue to try to bring rodeo down. Most activists don’t understand the love and care that go into the animals used. They don’t comprehend the love these animals have to do their jobs.

Most importantly, they don’t care to understand. They won’t care to be around a bucking horse that is excited to load in the trailer because it knows it will have a chance to buck. They will never see the look in a barrel horse’s eye as it prepares to run the pattern. They don’t understand that an athletic animal wants to be an athlete or that most horses like having a job to do.

The Quebec rodeo is a great opportunity for urban-dwellers to touch base with their Western roots, no matter how deep they run.

Rodeo is more than a sport; it’s a celebration of our Western lifestyle. Please take the time to sign the petition.

postheadericon OPINION: The need for a new lead

A change at the top is coming.

Karl Stressman is leaving the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, retiring at the end of the year as commissioner of the sport’s premier sanctioning body.

Ted Harbin TwisTed Rodeo

Ted Harbin
TwisTed Rodeo

It will conclude his nine years with the PRCA after serving as director of event marketing for Wrangler Jeans and Shirts.

“I sat down in the commissioner’s chair for the first time in September 2008, and I made a promise to myself that I would give my very best efforts each and every day to improve the sport of rodeo,” Stressman said in a PRCA news release. “I made myself another promise that I would stay at the PRCA as long as I enjoyed the job. Well it’s time to say goodbye.”

There has been speculation of Stressman’s departure for a few months, and it seems there was a significant number of board members who had agreed to his ouster. Friday’s retirement announcement now opens the door for the next person to take over the leadership role.

As of Friday, Stressman has placed the PRCA in a solid financial situation, several million dollars in the black. The PRCA has increased its bankroll nearly 10 times of what it was when he began the job in 2008.

Karl Stressman

Karl Stressman

But there is still work to be done, and Stressman’s replacement needs to be the person to handle the heavy lifting that comes with the job. There are tasks that must be implemented to bring together a varied and large membership.

The PRCA board will have the final say, but a workmanlike approach to the tasks at hand will go a long way in defining the association’s next leader and the future of the top organization in the sport. There is a need for a businessman or businesswoman who can handle the finer details of running the day-to-day operation.

As we move forward in such a historically associated sport, we’ll need someone who is tech-savvy and can push the PRCA forward in that regard. The new leader must have a keen understanding of the sport and its legacy.

In a sport that is defined by the passion of its members – contestants, stock contractors, contract personnel and committees – rodeo needs its next leader to not only understand the love affair but is willing to be dedicated to preserving it.

postheadericon Putting best foot forward

The Town of Estes Park has invested in new ground for Granny May Arena, which should make for better footing for Rooftop Rodeo in July.

The Town of Estes Park has invested in new ground for Granny May Arena, which should make for better footing for Rooftop Rodeo in July.

Town of Estes Park invests into improving footing at Granny May Arena

ESTES PARK, Colo. – As the years and weather have worked their troubling magic over the dirt inside Granny May Arena, the ground inside the spectacular complex began to erode.

This spring, the Town of Estes Park invested $125,000 to improve the ground footing and make the arena an even better showcase for the community and events that utilize the facility.

“We have a completely new footing,” said Rob Hinkle, Community Services director for the Town of Estes Park. “It took about 10 days to complete, and we used roughly 70 dump trucks of footing.”

That’s good news for all who use the arena, including Rooftop Rodeo, set for 7 p.m. Wednesday, July 5-Monday, July 10.

“This was an impressive decision by the Town of Estes Park, and we’re excited to be able to take advantage of the new footing,” said Ben Vigil, president of Estes Park Western Heritage Inc., a group of volunteers that works with the town of Estes Park to produce the annual rodeo.

“Footing is vital everything we do with Rooftop Rodeo. We take pride in treating the contestants with the greatest hospitality of any rodeo in the country, and this is just another way we can give them something special.”

In addition, he said, the rodeo committee’s chutes crew is also making improvements to the area behind the chutes.

Prior to the repairs done by Kiser Arena Specialists, there were problems with drainage. The former footing had eroded enough that users were close to the base.

“It compacts well, and I think everybody is going to be happy with it,” said Hinkle, pointing out that there are about a dozen shows a year in the arena, including the annual rodeo.

Rooftop Rodeo had nearly 800 entries last year, and virtually all of those contestants come in from all over North America. From top prize money to great hospitality, there are multiple reasons so many make their way to Estes Park every July.

“Not only will the footing be better for the competition, but this also is a safety issue,” said Mark Purdy, chairman of Estes Park Western Heritage Inc. “We want to take care of the athletes, both human and animal. Having better footing allows us to do that.

“I think having excellent footing is another incentive for these contestants to make Rooftop Rodeo part of their summer schedule.”

For Hinkle, the decision to invest in the footing came down to making the arena better for everybody.

“We were getting some comments from some shows that they didn’t particularly like the footing, so we really needed to put the effort in and spend the money to do it correctly,” he said. “We’ve got a depth of about 10 inches and have fixed the drainage.

“I think it will be good not only for the rodeo but also for the other shows we’re doing.”

postheadericon Tuckness scores 94.5 to win

Dusty Tuckness slips past 12X and Costa Fighting Bulls' Spitfire en route to a 94.5-point bullfight on Saturday night during the Bullfighters Only Flexfit Invitational presented by the Lewiston Roundup Association. (TODD BREWER PHOTO)

Dusty Tuckness slips past 12X and Costa Fighting Bulls’ Spitfire en route to a 94.5-point bullfight on Saturday night during the Bullfighters Only Flexfit Invitational presented by the Lewiston Roundup Association. (TODD BREWER PHOTO)

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 Roundup 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 unfightable 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 Invitational 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.”