Top names in the UBF will fight for Southern Classic title in tiny Bowersville
BOWERSVILLE, Ga. – At first glance, there doesn’t seem to be much to this tiny hamlet of less than 500 people in northeastern Georgia.
Over the last couple of years, though, it has become the mecca for freestyle bullfighting in the United States. On Saturday night, the best men in the game will prove that during the Ultimate Bullfighters Southern Classic, set for 7 p.m. at 228 W. Main St, on the north edge of town.
“We built this arena to have events like this,” said Luke Kaufman, the UBF’s event producer. “We hung nine miles of guardrail fence to make a facility that caters to the needs of these animals. Because they’re fighting bulls, they can easily tear through normal fences, so that’s why these pens are built the way they are.
“Other than in Spain, this is the nicest bull compound in the world. The guardrail pens lead up to a working facility on top of the hill. We had the first event back in May, and we’ve just converted a practice pen into a full-blown venue.”
The top 12 bullfighters in the game will be part of Saturday’s competition. There will be four three-man bullfights, with the highest scores in each bout advancing to the Franklin County Livestock championship round.
“I’m excited to get back to it,” said Justin Josey, the No. 3-ranked bullfighter in the UBF who has missed the last few events while tending to other promotional opportunities. “I’m ready to see the boys, hang out, be at an event and just start experiencing it again. This opens the door for me, and I’m happy with the opportunities that are in front of me.”
Josey has been one of the top freestyle bullfighters in the sport for several years. He’s proven that on various levels but has been a premier talent in the UBF. Had he been able to perform at several events that he was forced to miss, there’s a good chance he would be seeded higher in a game where dollars earned equal points.
Louisianan Sage Seay leads the standings with $14,200, followed by Nebraskan Beau Schueth, who is locked in at $10,000. Josey is just $2,650 behind Scheuth, so Josey could make a big move during Saturday night’s challenge, which features a purse of $20,000.
“More than anything right now, I just want to fight some bulls,” Josey said. “I fought a bull in Arkansas a few days ago, and it went OK. I just want to get back to the competition.
“I’m pretty happy with my bullfighting about 80 percent to 85 percent of the time. You can’t get down on yourself, because it’s bullfighting. It’s you against the beast, so you do the best you can. I’m just getting it all figured out. It’s fun fighting bulls.”
That’s for the men who do it for a living, but it’s not for the faint of heart. The men who play the game overcome any fears and trepidation, and they challenge themselves and their athleticism against equally athletic and incredibly agile bulls that are bred for this type of competition. With the Southern Classic being an invitational, the UBF sought out the top men in the game to chase a prestigious title.
“I know it’s going to be a sellout crowd and high energy, and it’s going to be a blast,” Josey said. “We’re going to get all fresh (unfought) bulls from Chad Ellison. I think we’ll be able to do what we know how to do and have a lot of fun doing it.”