Bullfighters Only’s top men to battle elite bulls on stock show’s final night
SAN ANGELO, Texas – The crowd that packs into San Angelo Coliseum is loud and raucous for all 12 performances of the San Angelo Stock Show and Rodeo.
It’s electric, but nothing creates more sparks and power than Bullfighters Only, which takes place Saturday, Feb. 17, in conjunction with the stock show and rodeo’s final night.
“The crowd there is just outstanding,” said Zach Call, the reigning BFO-San Angelo champion from Mullen, Neb. “The whole atmosphere is incredible.”
It is, and it only gets better when the bullfights take place. After all, it’s the most extreme of all sports, with men facing danger at every turn. It’s a true man-vs.-beast showcase, with athletic, agile and aggressive Spanish fighting bulls, which have been bred to have those traits.
“The BFO is really good at bringing top-of-the-line stock contractors, keeping the standard of the BFO as high as it can be,” said Schell Apple, from Fay, Okla. “With these stock contractors, we’re getting the best of the best bulls.”
Rockin’ B & Magnifica, the 2017 BFO Stock Contractor of the Year, will provide the fighting bulls in San Angelo. Brett Hall’s bulls are supercharged, able to move fast and turn quickly. Bullfighters want the animals to stay engaged in the bouts, staying as close as possible while the men escape harm by fractions of an inch. Scores are based on how well the bull remains engaged in the fight and on how well the bullfighters maneuver around and, sometimes, over the animals.
“The key is for me to do the most I can with the bull that I draw,” Call said. “This year I want to stay consistent. Last year I started out strong, then midway through the year, I kind of petered out. In order to battle for the world title, I need to be consistent all year.”
That’s the key to being successful in any athletic endeavor. But there’s a little bit more incentive for the San Angelo bullfighters: The winner earns a qualification to the six-man BFO event that takes place Saturday, Feb. 24, at the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo.
“What makes San Angelo such a cool event is that you’re not only winning San Angelo, but you’re earning a spot in the first of the new Wrangler Bullfights,” Apple said. “It’s amazing that the BFO has brought back the Wrangler Bullfights.
“To be able to qualify for a spot at that event in San Antonio is absolutely awesome. It’s an opportunity I plan to take full advantage of.”