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Bringing the Heat to Vegas

Stock contractors excited to be part of BFO’s Las Vegas Championship

Spitfire of 12x and Costa Fighting Bulls will be one of the great animal athletes in the mix at the Bullfighters Only Las Vegas Championship. (KIRT STEINKE PHOTO)

Spitfire of 12x and Costa Fighting Bulls will be one of the great animal athletes in the mix at the Bullfighters Only Las Vegas Championship. (KIRT STEINKE PHOTO)

LAS VEGAS – Darrell Diefenbach may have hung up his cleats but when he saw an opportunity to be involved in Bullfighters Only, he jumped at it.

Deifenbach has been face to face with some of the nastiest bucking bulls in rodeo, but now he’s in the fighting bull business. He and his partners – Maunel Costa and Trever Hamsher – have some of the best. Only the best will be in Las Vegas.

They will be one of the premier stock contractors during the Bullfighters Only’s Las Vegas Championships, set for Dec. 1-3 and 7-10.

“Bullfighters Only speaks for itself,” said Diefenbach, an Australian turned American, now living in Hermiston, Ore. “It’s taken off by leaps and bounds. I love extreme sports, and I have seen the way extreme sports have taken off.

“I think the timing of the BFO is perfect. There’s nothing more extreme than a 1,200-pound bull in the mix. That’s what makes bullfighting attractive. You never know who’s going to win, the bull or the guy.”

It’s either a heck of a wreck or a whale of a score, and that is a driving force behind both extreme sports fans and rodeo fans alike. It’s what’s attractive about having Bullfighters Only as part of the Las Vegas landscape in early December.

“What’s not to like about this?” said Chase Love, owner of WAR Fighting Bulls. “You’ve got a group of guys that are bringing the hottest bulls we can bring against the best bullfighters that have ever walked.”

In a man-vs.-beast competition, the bulls have a lot of say in what happens inside the pen. 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.

“With the bulls we’ll have in Las Vegas, if a guy can get around them, they’ll be 90 points,” Love said. “If they can’t, it’s going to hurt.”

The festivities kick off at 2 p.m. Dec. 1st 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. Tickets are on sale now at HardRockHotel.com and AXS.com.

While the seven days of bullfighting will feature outstanding bovine athletes, there are some that are the cream of the crop.

“The hottest bull we have might be Zombie Express,” Love said. “He’s real short and muscled; he’s just the opposite of scary looking, but he’s a bad dude. We also have a blue ball called Wolverine, Simply Wicked and Chute Boss, and they’re all premier bulls.”

Diefenbach also has a solid top-flight team of bulls, from Spitfire to Naked and Afraid to 21 Jump Street.

“They’re all very good bulls,” Diefenbach said. “Spitfire is a dangerous bull, very mean, and Naked and Afraid is definitely building a big reputation. We also have Little Foot, a little black bull of Manuel’s. He’s everything a fighting bull should be, and we have a bunch of Little Foot brothers.”

It not only makes for phenomenal competition, but the Las Vegas Championship will be a true showcase befitting the city.

“I think everything exciting and extreme should be in Vegas,” said Diefenbach, who was selected to fight bulls at the National Finals Rodeo 12 times in his career. “The town has the hype, the atmosphere. People love Vegas. There are so many events going on, and I think Las Vegas and Bullfighters Only are a match made in heaven.”

Both Diefenbach and Love got into the fighting bull business because of Bullfighters Only. It is allowing both men and their associates to expand on their businesses.

“I buy and sell bucking bulls and haul bulls all over,” Love said. “When we saw what the BFO had, we jumped head first into it, and it just exploded. It’s pretty dang cool.

“I made 10 to 15 calls a day and was getting nowhere. I got ahold of Manuel Costa, and he helped me do all the dirty work. He sent me a text about midnight on a Saturday night, and by Sunday night we were on the road to California. We ended up with 30 bulls from that trip.”

Costa was also instrumental for Diefenbach, which is why the retired bullfighter extended the partnership to the bull man.

“There’s really nobody up here in the Northwest with fighting bulls, so I thought it would be a great opportunity to get on the contract side of the business,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of outs on our bulls up here. We’ve traveled as far as Wyoming and Nevada, and we have a lot of events.”

Now he’ll add Vegas to his list.

“We’re ready for freestyle bullfighting to return; everybody’s ready for it,” Diefenbach said. “Nobody wants to see a wreck, but if there is one, nobody wants to miss it.”

While he focused more on cowboy protection, Diefenbach has high admiration for men who tangle with fighting bulls.

“These bullfighters are 10 times the athlete that I ever was,” he said. “That’s what makes BFO so great. We have the greatest bullfighters exclusive to Bullfighters Only.

“We have, bar none, the best fighting bulls going too. That’s a great mix.”

Courtesy of twisTEDrodeo.com