Lippincott, Rhoads win qualifiers to advance to BFO Las Vegas Championship
LAS VEGAS – Tate Rhoads and Kyle Lippincott knew they needed to do something special during Friday’s Bullfighters Only qualifier if they were to advance to next week’s BFO Las Vegas Championship.
They did. Both men started their fights at the Las Vegas Convention Center with flat-footed jumps. It paid off as Rhoads won Round 1 with an 84-point fight with WAR Fighting Bulls Wicked Ways; Lippincott was 83.5 in his bout with WAR’s War Machine.
Now they will move on to fight at the BFO Las Vegas Championship, which takes place Dec. 7-10 at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. Tickets are on sale now at HardRockHotel.com and AXS.com. It will feature a $50,000 purse and also include two more qualifiers that will advance through competition that takes place at 3:30 p.m. Saturday at the Las Vegas Convention Center.
“A couple of buddies told me to go big or go home,” said Rhoads of Bighorn, Mont. “I just wanted to get that flat-footed jump right out of there, and he ended up smoking me in the knee. I got up and continued the fight. I got a little barrel hop at the end and sold the fight the way I needed to.”
It was a similar type fight for Lippincott, who cleared his jump cleanly, then ran into a little trouble midway through the bout.
“When I flat-footed him, he blew by,” said Lippincott of Wilson, Okla., who had to clear a fence in order to avoid trouble. “I have a tendency of using that fence, and I trap myself for some reason. It ticked me off, and I knew I had to go back harder to make up for it.”
Now he’ll be part of the first round of the tournament-style competition at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.
“Last year I came in the qualifier round as well and made it to the last day before I got beat,” Lippincott said. “To be in the championship to be able to play with everybody else is everything.
“My confidence has not been where it needed to be. Today it helped out, and my confidence is real high heading into the next round.”
It takes high levels of self-worth to be successful in freestyle bullfighting, where men face athletic and aggressive animals that have been bred for this kind of competition.
“It means the world to me to get this win,” Rhoads said. “My aunt and cousin were killed in a tragic car accident a couple weeks ago, and I wanted to come out here and do this for them.
“It’s unreal that I get to do this, and I can’t even put it into words.”
Part of it is just being part of the top freestyle bullfighting organization in the world.
“There’s no other organization out there that’s growing freestyle bullfighting so fast,” he said. “It’s unreal to be out here and to be part of this.”
That includes next weekend’s purse of $50,000, which helps make the BFO Las Vegas Championship the richest bullfight in the sport’s history.
“Bullfighters Only has created a brand that allows guys to be showy and try to make freestyle bullfighting better,” Lippincott said. “Now we’re fighting for a certain title. That is something that’s special in the BFO.”