Two more bullfighters qualify for next week’s BFO Las Vegas Championship
LAS VEGAS – An unprecedented calm came over Daryl Thiessen on Saturday afternoon as he entered the bullfight arena.
“Today before I nodded my head, that’s the calmest I’ve ever been before a bullfight,” said Thiessen of Elm Creek, Manitoba. “That’s the first bullfight I’ve done in a long time where I can tell you everything that happened in it; it’s usually a blur for me, but I can remember all the details.”
He should. He matched moves with WAR Fighting Bulls’ Captain Hook for 80 points to win the first of two Bullfighters Only qualifiers. He was joined by Travis Gidley of Grandview, Texas, who scored 86.5 points while matching moves with WAR’s Punisher to win the second qualifier.
“I busted him down really good to start with, and he kind of ran off,” Gidley said. “I got his attention again, and then I just stayed with him.
“I felt really good about my bullfight. It just all clicked there.”
Now both Thiessen and Gidley hope it clicks next week when they will be matched with the best freestyle bullfighters in the business during the BFO Las Vegas Championship, the richest freestyle bullfight in the sport’s history.
“Making it to next week means so much to me,” Thiessen said. “Just being a Canadian in this deal, I want to show these kids that they can come compete with anyone in the world. I want nothing more than to finish the job this year.”
Both men were in Las Vegas last December during the inaugural BFO event. Neither had the success they had hoped for 12 months ago, but they put in the work necessary to come out on top this weekend.
“I wasn’t prepared last year, so this year I came back both mentally and physically prepared for it,” Gidley said. “It’s a great feeling to advance. I don’t really have a game plan for my fights; I just want to beat my bull. I just go with the flow and deal with what I’ve got in front of me. Yes, these are the best bullfighters in the world, but I’m competing against my bull.”
That approach is the best tactic when an athlete is in the middle with a ferocious, aggressive animal that is bred for this type of fight. It takes a man who has a ton of self-confidence to come within an inch or two of flying hooves and pointed horns.
“Everything just feels so good right now,” Thiessen said. “It just feels right this time. Before when I was here, my mind was blown. I was a guy from a small town in Canada, and I let the bright lights of Las Vegas get to me. It was overwhelming.
“This year I’ve stayed focused on what I need to do and have continued to work out every day.”
Now it’s time to transition it into the final four days at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.
“My confidence was pretty good, but winning today helps my confidence going into next week,” Gidley said. “It felt really awesome to make those step-throughs and get around that bull. I came in prepared and put on a good bullfight.”