Bullfighters Only tour will be featured during legendary Dodge City rodeo
DODGE CITY, Kan. – The face of danger can change in an instant.
Freestyle bullfighters live that reality on a daily basis. They stand toe to toe with agile and aggressive bulls, then use their own incredible athleticism to escape danger. The excitement and intrigue is all part of the Bullfighters Only tour stop at Dodge City Roundup Rodeo.
The freestyle bullfight will take place Tuesday, Aug. 2, in conjunction with Roundup’s Xtreme Bulls. It is the 18th stop on the BFO’s inaugural tour and will feature four of the elite bullfighters in the game: Dusty Tuckness, Nate Jestes, Zach Flatt and Weston Rutkowski.
“We’re fighting bulls that are good and fun to fight and let us show our abilities as well,” said Jestes of Douglas, Wyo. “I think that’s what sets Bullfighters Only apart from other freestyle events.”
Freestyle bullfighting is not new to Roundup. For years, the rodeo was part of the Wrangler Bullfight Tour, which disbanded in 2001. But Bullfighters Only has created public demand for the sport. The bullfighters utilize their tremendous athleticism to try to outwit and outmaneuver equally athletic bulls, which are bred specifically for this type of fight.
“This is an event that hasn’t had a true world champion since 2000,” said Tuckness, the reigning six-time Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association Bullfighter of the Year from Meeteetse, Wyo. “Bullfighters Only is going to bring that back.
“We’re bringing the best against the best. The main stage is where it belongs. People say it’s exciting. It’s at a level that is second to none.”
Tuckness and Jestes have been to Dodge City before. Both men served as protection bullfighters during the Xtreme Bulls event last year. They will do that again, then they will try to claim their own Roundup championship.
“I’ve been freestyling for the last five years,” Jestes said. “In the last five years, we’ve wanted to be on a stage like this.
“We’re back at our roots. Our roots started in the PRCA; our names have been built here. To essentially come back to our roots where we started, then to carry it on and make it better, is awesome.”
Roundup Rodeo’s roots were planted 40 years ago, and it has been recognized as one of the best. Having been developed a little more than a year ago, Bullfighters Only is already moving into a similar category. By conducting events at some of the most prestigious rodeos in the country, the demand is being filled.
“It’s definitely been a great whirlwind,” Jestes said. “It’s taken off way quicker than any of us expected. It’s so exciting that it’s almost overwhelming. We’ve wanted to be at places like this and have the sport where it’s at. To be involved in it and have some ownership in it is just amazing.
“In less than one year, we have gotten our sport and our type of bullfighting known worldwide. That’s just incredible.”
With scores based on a 100-point scale, men can earn up to 50 points per fight based on their ability to exhibit control and style while maneuvering around or over an animal; a bull can earn up to 50 points based on its quickness, aggression and willingness to stay with the bullfighter.
It makes for a great evening of entertainment for fans who love something a little extreme.
“This is an exciting time to see freestyle bullfighting,” said Rutkowski of Haskell, Texas. “We, as Bullfighters Only, have brought back the extreme aspect of what us bullfighters do day in and day out.”