FORT WORTH, Texas ― The footprint for this week’s Dr Pepper Iron Cowboy V is twice as wide as the arena is long for most Built Ford Tough Series events.
This not only makes for a long week of setup, but it can also make for a long night of bullfighting.
At a typical event with three bullfighters – Frank Newsom, Shorty Gorham and Jesse Byrne – the guys rotate two men in the action near the front of the chutes and one “extra guy” back along the fence line, who comes in once the gate opens to provide assistance.
With twice as much real estate at either end of the arena floor, Gorham said he, Newsom and Byrne will change up their positioning this week.
“(The third bullfighter) has to be standing more out in the arena, and you try to keep the same distance as we usually do,” Gorham said. “That being said, you’re standing in the middle of the arena, so you have to be careful to not move around out there because the bulls will pick you out, out there a little easier and come to you and cause a re-ride.”
The third man has to be more still than he usually is.
That means, according to Gorham, the two bullfighters up front have to “read the play a little bit better” and they have to keep moving during the ride at a distance, but effective at getting to the bull if a wreck occurs.
“The bulls will travel just a tick more,” Gorham added.
He and Byrne both agreed they have to be prepared to “do more running.”
“Normal events a guy doesn’t make it more than 10, 15 feet off the bucking chutes,” Byrne said. “Covering a lot more ground going back and forth between the two arenas, but there’s a lot of commercial breaks in there too, to catch your breath, so no big deal.”
After each out they’ll also have a little more work helping James DeBord and Mike White, who will be at either end on horseback, get the bulls focused on the out gate to keep them from freely running around the oversized arena floor.
All three will have to stay rested before and after the Iron Cowboy in order to work again on Sunday afternoon during THE AMERICAN.
In past years, they had a slight issue with sand being mixed in with the dirt.
“It really wears your calves out pretty quick and you want to start cramping,” Gorham said.
Gorham expects there to be less sand mixed in with the dirt this year because of THE AMERICAN.
In the past, it was to help fill in the stadium floor because there’s so much more dirt needed to cover AT&T Stadium. Not to mention, in Arlington and Texas, in general, they need to haul in good soil from a greater distance, especially that quantity.
Gorham thinks there will be a bit more clay in the ground to keep it firm because of the timed events.
Byrne described the stadium atmosphere as feeling as though he’s working outside, and added, “It’s truly one of a kind.”
“I’m looking forward to it,” Gorham said. “It’s a fun event, big money, huge crowds and this year it’s going to be something special.”
Follow Keith Ryan Cartwright on Twitter @PBR_KRC.
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