SIKESTON, Mo. – Toby Inman has his sights set on the biggest prize in freestyle bullfighting, the Bullfighters Only world championship.
“I’m nipping at Weston’s heels,” Inman said, referring to the BFO Pendleton Whisky World Standings leader and reigning BFO world champ, Weston Rutkowski. “I think he can feel me breathing down his neck.”
The two talented bullfighters matched their skills Thursday and Friday during BFO-Sikeston in conjunction with the Sikeston Jaycees Bootheel Rodeo, and Inman claimed the championship belt. The Davis Junction, Ill., man won the opening round with an 86.5-point bout, then followed it Friday with a solid 83. His two-fight cumulative score of 169.5 points was enough to edge Rutkowski by half a point.
“I thought Weston stole it from me Friday night,” Inman said, referring to the Texan’s 90-point fight to win the second round. “Thankfully I was able to pull enough out.”
It marked his third victory in less than a month. More importantly, it pushed him into the No. 2 position in the standings. A key, he said, was being able to remain calm even when the bulls he battled in Sikeston got a little too close and got Inman on the ground.
“In bullfighting, you’re going to get run over, but you’ve got to pop right back up and get back in the fight,” he said. “I’m getting better with each fight, and I’m still having fun.”
It’s easy to have fun when he’s winning, but there were other aspects of BFO-Sikeston that made for an overall amazing experience.
“The place was packed,” Inman said. “They were loud and excited, and that’s how you want every crowd. Whether I was getting hooked or Weston was making some nice rounds, they were extra loud.
“Because of the great committee and the fans, it was a great bullfight. Anytime you can have fans excited and want you there, it makes your job as a bullfighter that much more pleasant.”
First round: 1. Toby Inman, 86.5 points; 2. Tanner Zarnetski, 84.5; 3. Schell Apple, 83; 4. Beau Schueth, 80; 5. Toby Inman, 79.
Second round: 1. Toby Inman, 90 points; 2. (tie) Tanner Zarnetski and Beau Schueth, 84; 4. Toby Inman, 83; 5. Schell Apple, 0.
Average: 1. Toby Inman, 169.5 points on two fights; 2. Weston Rutkowski, 169; 3. Tanner Zarnetski, 168.5; 4. Beau Schueth, 164; 5. Schell Apple, 83 points on one fight.