Bullfighters Only will be featured on opening night of the Caldwell Night Rodeo
CALDWELL, Idaho – The life of a bullfighter is sometimes wild, sometimes exciting and all the time consumed by their passion.
It takes a true love affair with the game to look a bull in the eyes and risk everything, escaping danger in the blink of an eye. That’s the reality for the men of Bullfighters Only, who will be part of opening night of the Caldwell Night Rodeo on Aug. 16.
Four men will test their athleticism against equally athletic fighting bulls, with the winner claiming the prize at one of the most prestigious rodeos in the country.
“I think it’s a good thing we’ve all done to bring the bullfights back to where they belong,” said Evan Allard, a world champion bullfighter from Vinita, Okla. “It’s taken off because bullfighting is the greatest extreme sport in the world, and we have the best freestyle bullfighters alive all doing it right now.”
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.
“We’re trying to grow the sport and bring it back to the main stage,” said Dusty Tuckness, the six-time Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association’s bullfighter of the year from Meeteetse, Wyo. “We’ve got a great group of guys and great support. The fan base is growing.
“There’s just so much excitement to freestyle bullfighting. It’s an event that hasn’t had a true world champion since 2000. Bullfighters Only is bringing that back while also keeping an eye out for the young talent. We want the best of the best. The main stage is where it belongs. The energy and the level of excitement are second to none.”
Freestyle bullfighting is not new to rodeo, and the Bullfighters Only has created public demand for the sport. The events feature man vs. beast in a head-to-head battle inside an arena. The bullfighters utilize their tremendous athleticism to try to outwit and outmaneuver the agile bulls.
Now just a little more than a year old, Bullfighters Only is still in its infancy, but it has grown rapidly. The Caldwell Night Rodeo is the 20th stop on the BFO’s inaugural tour.
“It’s crazy to think this is our actual first year and that we have so many events at these historic rodeos,” said Chuck Swisher of Dover, Okla.
The tour is just part of a grand collaboration of the world’s top bullfighters.
“To me, Bullfighters Only is more like a group of brothers,” Swisher said of the top 15 bullfighters in the game that make up the BFO. “We all went in and are part of this team that helps in bringing the freestyle bullfights back in front of the fans. It’s something we’ve always wanted for so long.
“Even before there was even a thought of the BFO, we always stuck together and stuck our necks out for each other. We push each other to get better, and now we put a name on it.”
While the danger and the battles with athletic bovines are part of their makeup, the bullfighters also have a passion for competition.
“I want Bullfighters Only to be part of every major event,” said Cody Webster of Wayne, Okla. “Freestyle bullfighting is what put me on the map, and we have a bunch of young bullfighters who have a lot of talent. I want us to get to where we provide an avenue for those young guys.”
That’s happening already, with some amazing young talent who want to be involved in one of the greatest extreme sports.
“The bulls drive me,” said Allard, who has been fighting bulls for 11 years. “Just knowing that you’re able to go head to head with one of the fiercest creatures alive and know that if everything goes right, you’re able to control him.
“It’s the art itself that drives me.”
That passion is what drives the men of Bullfighters Only.