FORTUNA, Calif – When Toby Inman started his final bullfight Friday night, he made a statement with a backflip over Costa Fighting Bulls’ Little Foot.
The Illinois bullfighter cleared Little Foot but landed on his knees. He picked things up in the championship round, matching moves with the feisty Spanish fighting bull for 90 points to win Bullfighters Only-Fortuna.
“What a good feeling,” he said. “It’s weird not walking around gimpy after a bullfight.”
He won his opening round, scoring 82 points, to join two other bullfighters in the short go-round: Zach Call of Mullen, Neb., and Beau Schueth of O’Neill, Neb.
“I was happy to get in the short-go because I didn’t know if my bullfight was enough to get me there,” said Inman, who bested the other two contenders: Schueth scored 86.5 points to finish as the runner-up, while Zach Call placed third.
Tanner Zarnetski of Texarkana, Texas, earned a bonus for the best trick of the competition, and that had the veteran Inman thinking about what he wanted to do in the final round.
“Tanner pulled off an incredible reverse knee fake, and my brain was telling me to either top that or go for the win,” Inman said. “I wanted both. But I just went for the win and had a good time.
“I had an honest Spanish fighting bull and used it to my benefit.”
Little Foot has gained a reputation for being a solid bull. He helped Evan Allard to the victory in Pendleton, Ore., and guided Cody Webster to the championship in Caldwell, Idaho; both events were during the BFO’s inaugural tour in 2016.
“I made some rounds and some nice step-throughs,” Inman said of his bout. “He clipped me once, but it wasn’t enough to be a deduction. He just kept coming, then I gave him a break and jumped him. About that time, the (40-second) buzzer went.”
At any time after 40 seconds, bullfighters can end the fight, and that’s just what Inman did.
“It was so jam up that I didn’t want to quit, but that little voice in my head said it was good enough,” he said. “I decided to take it.
Round 1: 1. Zach Call, 78 points; 2. Tanner Zarnetski, 72; 3. Garrett Wilkinson, 72.
Round 2: 1. Toby Inman, 82 points; 2. (tie) Dayton Spiel and Ely Sharkey, 74.
Round 3: 1. (tie) Beau Schueth and Alex McWilliams, 80.5 points (Schueth advanced on tie-breaker); 3. Schell Apple, 73.
Championship Round: 1. Toby Inman, 90 points; 2. Beau Schueth, 86.5; 3. Zach Call, 78.