Reigning world champion outlasts the field to win Bullfighters Only event
ADA, Okla. – Weston Rutkowski arrived in Ada a few days ago knowing he was in for one heck of a fight.
Bullfighters Only-Ada marked the return of big-time freestyle bullfighting to the Pontotoc County Agriplex for the first time in five years, and the Haskell, Texas, man showed just why he is the No. 1 man in the game.
“It was a good day at the office,” said Rutkowski, who pocketed $10,000 by winning BFO-Ada in front of a packed crowd. “This is my passion, my career. This is my love, and I am excited anytime I can do this.”
Fifteen men began Saturday night’s showdown all matched with aggressive and athletic Spanish fighting bulls. It was the perfect mix of action, excitement and danger, and it played out well for all involved. It just played out a little better for Rutkowski, the first man in 17 years to win a world championship through a freestyle bullfighting tour.
“Ada was awesome,” he said. “There was a line all the way out to the road of people trying to get in. It was everything I expected it to be.”
The field included many of the top men in Bullfighters Only, some rising stars and a bullfighting legend in 1999 Wrangler Bullfight Tour world champion Lance Brittan, who returned to the game he loves after several years away.
“I watched one bullfight all night before I went, and I got to see Lance Brittan do what Lance Brittan does best,” Rutkowski said. “The crowd was very involved, very engaged. They were excited to have bullfighting back in Ada, and they knew what they were watching and what they’ve missed for so many years.”
The Bullfighters Only Ada Invitational will air at on RFD-TV at 7:30 p.m. Central this Wednesday, April 26.
“My first bull was not one of the bulls that are particularly fun to fight,” said Rutkowski, who scored 86.5 points to win his section and advance to the championship round. “He was a little older and smarter, and I got a lot of rounds out of him to keep him hooked up with me.”
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.
That means it’s imperative that the bull remain as close as possible and stay aggressive through the 60-second bout.
“My short-round bull was one I fought back in San Angelo (Texas).” he said.
That bout took place in February and didn’t end the way he wanted. The bull hooked him to the ground, then tossed the bullfighter in the air.
“I was pretty pumped up to get the rematch with him,” said Rutkowski, who matched moves with Mess Up the Ranch from Rockin’ B & Magnifica Fighting Bulls for 88 points to win the title. “I’m just glad it worked out.”
It also moved him back to the top of the BFO world standings, but the season is still in its infancy. There are several more events left on the schedule.
“I do this because I love it, but it is nice to be able to do well in front of such a great crowd,” he said. “Everything I had heard about Ada turned out to be true. It was amazing.”
Round 1: Ely Sharkey, 88 points; 2. Lance Brittan, 84.5; 3. Noah Krepps, 84.
Round 2: Zach Call, 88 points; 2. Zach Arthur, 87.5; 3. Tate Rhoads, 85.5.
Round 3: Evan Allard, 85 points; 2. Toby Inman, 83.5; 3. Jon Roberts, 83.
Round 4: Weston Rutkowski, 86.5 points; 2. Bryce Redo, 84.5; 3. Travis Gidley, no score.
Round 5: Schell Apple, 85.5 points; 2. (tie) Jimmy Essary and Beau Schueth, 84.5.
Final Round: 1. Weston Rutkowski, 88 points; 2. Schell Apple, 87; 3. Evan Allard, 86.5; 4. Zach Call, 86; 5. Ely Sharkey, 84.5.