SAN ANTONIO – As he prepared for battle, Toby Inman knew he would need a huge score to best the field.
With the top five bullfighters in the world breathing down his neck, Inman did just that.
On Saturday afternoon, he delivered a 90-point bullfight to claim the inaugural San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo Wrangler Bullfight championship and the $12,500.
“I’m floored,” said Inman, 34, who came out of retirement two seasons ago and finished as runner-up for the world title in 2017. “I just went to fight a bull and didn’t think about any of the prizes. It’s pretty incredible.”
Inman began the bout with an explosive running backflip.
“It was more of a backflop, because I landed on my stomach and not my feet,” he said with a laugh. “I’m not calling it a running backflip until I actually land it.”
Still, it was an impressive start to the fight. He established control with the red bull, and set up a solid cape – stretching a hand over the animal’s back as if draping a cape over the animal. It’s not something that’s in his forte, but he was happy to pull it off.
“I don’t think I’ve ever done a full cape pose, where you stand out there and make it prominent,” Inman said. “But I did today. I was able to do a few things I hadn’t really done before. I knew I needed to go big.”
Kris Furr, the No. 3 man in the 2017 standings, finished with an 89, good enough for second place. Third place went to the two-time reigning BFO world champion, Weston Rutkowski. The home-state favorite capped off his fight by sticking a perfect barrel roll and earned 88 points for the effort.
“It’s a really good feeling when I put myself out there and I set my bar high,” Inman said. “I was where I needed to be and was definitely trying to be 90.”
With 18,000 fans packed into San Antonio’s AT&T Center, it was an opportunity for Bullfighters Only to point a bright spotlight on freestyle bullfighting’s best.
“If you can picture a three-layer stadium where every seat in the house was full, it was an ‘Aha,’ gladiator moment,” Inman said. “When the show was over, I created a little bit of a fire hazard because there were so many people wanting to take photos. It was amazing, but we really do this for the fans.”
1. Toby Inman, 90 points, $12,500; 2. Kris Furr, 89, $6,250; 3. Weston Rutkowski, 88, $3,000; 4. Justin Josey, 83, $1,500; 5. Dayton Spiel, 82, $1,000; 6. Tanner Zarnetski, 70, $750.