LAS VEGAS – There is a new king of the Bullfighters Only Roughy Cup.
After Weston Rutkowski’s reign in the opening two years of the championship, Tanner Zarnetski of Texarkana, Texas, earned the prestigious trophy Thursday afternoon at the Tropicana Casino and Resort.
“It means a lot to come out on a platform such as this with the best bullfighters in the world to come out on top,” Zarnetski, who won his opening-round bout with an 85-point fight to kick-start the 12 bullfights, then followed with an 81-point bout with WAR Fighting Bulls’ Chute Boss to claim the title.
“After you step out there in a pen like this with a bull like that, then you pretty much lose all your thoughts and let your body take over. It’s mostly reaction. After years of being in circumstances like that, you learn to use your muscle reaction and reading bulls.”
It paid off well. He earned $7,500 for the victory and pushed his season earnings to $15,166. More importantly, he sets himself up well for next week’s BFO Las Vegas Championship, which pays $25,000 to the winner.
“I think this sets me up really good for next week,” he said. “My personal confidence is boosted, so going into the preliminary rounds, I’ve got a good mindset.
“We’re all looking forward to that payout.”
First it was getting through 12 of the rankest fighting bulls in the BFO. Several men were knocked to the ground, left bruised and bloodied. But that’s the nature of freestyle bullfighting. The men have to get as close to danger as possible while staying out of harm’s way, but that was harder Thursday than many realized.
“It was quite a bit of hard work today,” Zarnetski said. “They tried to bring in the best bulls for us to go up against, and it really showed. I think it was a good show for everyone to see.
“Fortunately, I made it to the short round with a great bull, and I was a little more light on my feet. That made a lot of difference.”
1. Tanner Zarnetski, 81 points on WAR Fighting Bulls’ Chute Boss; 2. Dayton Spiel, 76; 3. Cody Emerson, 75.