Bullfighters Only to be a big part of Vernal’s Dinosaur Roundup Rodeo
VERNAL, Utah – The crowds that come to the Dinosaur Roundup Rodeo thoroughly enjoy their yearly rodeo experience.
They will get an even bigger thrill this year with the addition of Bullfighters Only competition each night. Performances begin at 7 :30 p.m. Thursday, July 6-Saturday, July 8, at Western Park in Vernal.
“I’m excited to go and be part of that,” said Beau Schueth, who will be one of nine bullfighters in the ring. “It’s a really good rodeo, and I’m looking forward to seeing another part of Utah.”
The Vernal fans have been described as fun-loving and rowdy. That makes for the perfect fit for Bullfighters Only, which has revitalized freestyle bullfighting and brought it back to its rightful place in the mainstream of extreme Western sports.
“With us going to Vernal, I don’t know what to expect, but I know I have a job to do,” said Weston Rutkowski, the reigning world champion and the No. 2 man in the BFO Pendleton Whisky World Standings. “I need to get in there, get to work, control my bull and end it with a bang.”
That’s the focus of the freestyle bullfighters. Not only are they some of the greatest athletes in all sports, but they are matched against some amazing bovine stars.
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.
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 equally athletic bulls.
It’s no wonder why it will be a great mix with the fans in Vernal.
“When the fans are loud, it’s the perfect combination,” Schueth said. “When the crowd is really it to it, it makes you want to put out a better bullfight.
“We are going for good money and against the best guys, so it helps fuel your adrenaline when the crowd gets rowdy.”
The stop in Vernal is the next on a series of rodeo runs that has bullfighters chasing the 2017 Bullfighters Only world championship. Just like traditional rodeo, dollars equal points, and only the top contestants at each stop earn money. The man who earns the most money at the conclusion of the season will earn the crown.
That’s just what Rutkowski did in the BFO’s inaugural season of 2016. He was solid through the campaign, then closed out the year with two key victories in Las Vegas – at the BFO Roughy Cup and at the BFO Las Vegas Championship.
Even though he is the runner-up at this point in the Pendleton Whisky World Standings, Rutkowski has a big target on his back. That’s why performing well at each step along the way is vital for each bullfighter.
“In reality, bullfighting has nothing to do with the other guys,” Rutkowski said. “If you can’t beat your bull, then you’re not going to win a bullfight. That’s what I love about the BFO; I’m going against the greatest bullfighters in the world, and if I slip up, they’re going to beat me.
“One thing that’s cool about this sport is that every bull is a different story. It depends on how you tell the story that matters.”