Top bullfighters in the game are preparing for the Utah Championship
OGDEN, Utah – There is one thing in common about the men who will be part of the Bullfighters Only Utah Championship, set for 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 12, at the Weber County Fairgrounds in Ogden.
They all want to win this freestyle bullfight.
“We always pack the heat at those events and get the best guys possible,” said Aaron Mercer, a two-time BFO world champion from Calgary. “We damn sure have a good lineup.”
That’s true, with four of the 12 men in the mix that are in the top 10 in the BFO Tour Standings. Mercer, who sits third in the world, leads the pack, but the event will also feature Alex McWilliams, who is fresh off his win at California Rodeo Salinas; he moved up to fourth in the standings.
They will be matched with some athletic animals from Troy Bradshaw’s Penthouse Fighting Bulls, which were specifically bred for this type of fight. Based on a 100-point scale, the bulls will be judged up to 50 points each for their agility, aggressiveness and ability to stay involved in the fight, while the men will also be judged on the same scale for their athleticism, ability maneuver around, and sometimes over, the bulls.
“I’m not sure what bulls Troy is bringing, but I’m hoping they’re fresh and new,” Mercer said. “That way we can really show off against those bulls. It’s going to be a good event.”
Mercer has seen the BFO’s mountain top and knows there is some stiff competition when he arrives at any event on the slate. He wants to continue to build as the season progresses and be in top form when he arrives the BFO World Championship in December at Resorts World in Las Vegas.
“I’ve been working my way up,” said Mercer, who won BFO gold in 2019 and 2020. “I came back a little late this year. I’m feeling good, training again and getting back into the gym. I’ve been letting the body heal a little bit and getting ready to fight at my top level.”
He’ll likely need it. All athletes excel when they’re feeling their best, and freestyle bullfighting is as physical of an event as there is in sports. The goal for each man who plays this particular game is to be at the top when the season comes to a close in four months.
In Ogden, there will be four bouts featuring three men. The top scores in each bout advance to the championship round. The four men in the finale will face off against some of Penthouse’s top bulls, and the bullfighter with the top score will be crowned the champion.
“It’s been pretty interesting this year,” Mercer said. “The level of competitors we’ve had this year is the best I’ve seen in a long time. I’m sitting in the top five right now, but Ogden could give me a big jump on getting closer to leading the world in the Bullfighters Only standings.
“My goal is to go in there and win that and put me right up there toward the top.”