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BFO’s Best Ready for Vegas

The top bullfighters in the sport will be part of seven days of world-class action

Schell Apple makes a round with a fighting bull during a Bullfighters Only session earlier this year. Apple is one of the 12 bullfighters that will be part of the Roughy Cup, set for Thursday, Dec. 1, at the Las Vegas Convention Center. Those same 12 will receive a bye into the Las Vegas Championship, set for Dec. 7-10 at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. (TODD BREWER PHOTO)

Schell Apple makes a round with a fighting bull during a Bullfighters Only session earlier this year. Apple is one of the 12 bullfighters that will be part of the Roughy Cup, set for Thursday, Dec. 1, at the Las Vegas Convention Center. Those same 12 will receive a bye into the Las Vegas Championship, set for Dec. 7-10 at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. (TODD BREWER PHOTO)

LAS VEGAS – Last December, the inaugural Bullfighters Only competition in Las Vegas was a skyrocketing success. Now the world’s best bullfighters are upping the ante Vegas style with seven days of world-class action.

Bullfighters Only recently announced the 12-man BFO Roughy Cup roster, all of whom will receive an automatic bye to the BFO Las Vegas Championship at Hard Rock Hotel and Casino. Weston Rutkowski, Ross Hill, Chuck Swisher, Nathan Harp, Schell Apple, Cody Greer, Beau Schueth, Toby Inman, Zach Call, Cody Emerson, Tanner Zarnetski, Wayne Ratley comprise the all-star cast of athletes.

“When we had crowds packed in at 9 in the morning, it showed us that we had something special last year,” said Weston Rutkowski, the third-ranked man in the Bullfighters Only standings from Haskell, Texas. “Now that this is our second year in Vegas, the hype and anticipation is even bigger.”

The competition kicks off at 2 p.m. Dec. 1-3 at the Las Vegas Convention Center with the BFO Roughy Cup, a 12-man invitational bullfight. Then on Dec. 2-3, up-and-coming bullfighters will battle to qualify for the BFO Las Vegas Championship, which takes place Dec. 7-10 at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. The 12 qualifier contestants will be announced later this week.

“This is another huge milestone for Bullfighters Only and freestyle bullfighting,” said Chuck Swisher, the 10th-ranked bullfighter in the world standings from Dover, Okla. “It’s is going to be the richest freestyle bullfight ever. This is huge.”

The opening weekend at the Convention Center is free as a part of Las Vegas Events’ Cowboy Christmas. The final four days of action will be in a new climate-controlled tent on the west side of the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. Tickets are on sale now at AXS.com.

“This is our chance to really put a stamp on who we are as the BFO,” said Ross Hill, the No. 4 man in the standings from. “This is our opportunity to show what Bullfighters Only is all about. We are putting freestyle bullfighting on a higher platform again.”

roughy-cup-graphic

It takes a strong work ethic mixed with amazing talent and true grit to tangle with bulls that possess such speed, power and agility. The bullfighters utilize their tremendous athleticism to “dance” across the arena floor with a partner that is bred to be in attack mode. When the bull is “hot” and on target, the danger is greater, but so are the opportunities to showcase some magnificent skills

“It’s not just the top guys that are doing things in the BFO,” Hill said. “The fun thing is whether it’s the top five or the bottom five, anybody can come out and win this on any day. It’s about having to do bigger tricks. It’s fun knowing that every person on that roster can beat you any given day.”

In the year since that inaugural Roughy Cup, Bullfighters Only has experienced rapid growth and is in the midst of its first full season of more than 30 events from coast to coast. It’s been a year-long battle that will culminate in the crowning the first freestyle bullfighting world champion in nearly two decades.

Dollars equal points, and all that is gathered in Las Vegas will go toward that championship –another major reason that Vegas is a big stop on the BFO tour.

“The money is huge for us, but people really want to see freestyle bullfighting,” said Swisher, who has been working diligently to return to competition after suffering a torn ACL this past summer. “It’s one of the most underrated sports, and since Bullfighters Only brought freestyle bullfighting back, people realize that.

“The bulls are going to be the best going down the road,” Swisher said. “You’re going to have the 90-point bullfights, you’ll have the near misses and also the hookings. It’s a game of inches.”

Those inches are the difference between agony and ecstasy, but they’re exactly what the best bullfighters in the world crave.

ROUGHY CUP CONTESTANTS
Weston Rutknowski
Ross Hill
Chuck Swisher
Nathan Harp
Schell Apple
Cody Greer
Beau Schueth
Toby Inman
Zach Call
Cody Emerson
Tanner Zarnetski
Wayne Ratley

Courtesy of twisTEDrodeo.com