Texan wins BFO-Austin crown and extends lead in Pendleton Whisky World Standings
AUSTIN, Texas – Weston Rutkowski was out for vengeance Saturday night during Bulltober Fest presented by Rodeo Austin, and he took it out on a couple of Spanish fighting bulls.
The Texan’s weekend started with some bad luck when his gear bag was stolen on Friday night as he prepared for the event.
Rutkowski had to scramble to find replacement equipment. He returned to his College Station, Texas, home to get as much gear as possible. His parents delivered an old pair of cleats, and he borrowed enough other things to have himself properly armored and ready to compete against some of the baddest Spanish fighting bulls in the game.
“It was a big event, and I needed to put my foot down on the gas pedal, but I was running pretty hot.” said Rutkowski, who pushed his season earnings to more than $42,000 and increased his lead in the Pendleton Whisky World Standings.
He won his first-round bout with an 87-point fight to advance to the championship round. That’s where he showcased his dominance, almost hovering across the Rodeo Austin Fairgrounds dirt with Rockin’ B & Magnifica’s Cabeza Dura for 91.5 points to win the championship.
“My first bull came out, and I went to his right horn right off the bat, and I could tell he was going to be good,” he said. “He came to me the whole bullfight. He was a great bull, but a younger bull, so he didn’t know a lot and took the fakes real hard.
“My short-round bull was a little hotter.”
Cabeza Dura burst out of the chute and went directly for Rutkowski, who made a flat-footed jump over the bull. From then on, the two combatants went head-to-head for a controlled-yet-wild 40 seconds.
“I threw a fake, and as soon as he went past, he swapped ends,” Rutkowski said of the bull immediately turning around and re-engaging the bullfighter. “That’s when I knew I had the best bull of the night.
“That’s what we train for all year. When you are matched with a bull like that, you better take advantage of him.”
It was a big night for freestyle bullfighting. Not only were there high scores all evening long, but a large crowd gathered at the arena for the wild action.
“For a first-year event, it was really good,” Rutkowski said. “The crowd was packed in there, and it was a great atmosphere all around.”
Other than having all his gear stolen, it was a fairly successful trip to Texas’ capital city. His frustration eventually turned into the motivating factor he needed to come out on top of a talented field of the BFO’s best. Even though he will have to invest a few thousand dollars to replace his gear, he has found the silver lining.
“After I looked for that stuff for an hour, I realized it was gone,” he said. “It’s not the gear that makes you; it’s who you are as a bullfighter. You have to take the punches and roll with it.”
That’s a solid assessment, in the bullfighting arena and life in general.
Round 1: 1. Toby Inman, 80.5 points; 2. Alex McWilliams, 79.5; 3. Tanner Zarnetski, 77.
Round 2: 1. Dayton Spiel, 87.5 points; 2. Ray Carlson, 86; 3. Beau Schueth, no score.
Round 3: 1. Justin Josey, 86 points; 2. Zach Call, 83; 3. Kris Furr, 82.
Round 4: 1. Weston Rutkowski, 87 points; 2. Schell Apple, 82; 3. Evan Allard, 80.5.
Championship round: 1. Weston Rutkowski, 91.5 points on Rockin’ B & Magnifica’s Cabeza Dura; 2. Justin Josey, 89.5; 3 Toby Inman, 86; 4. Dayton Spiel, 84.5.
Best trick: Schell Apple with the Superman.