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Champ Seeks Repeat in ’17

Rutkowski eager to compete at Bullfighters Only event in storied Ada arena

Weston Rutkowski holds the Las Vegas Championship belt he earned this past December. It was a key victory en route to his Bullfighters Only world championship. (TODD BREWER PHOTO)

ADA, Okla. – The freestyle bullfighting history inside the Pontotoc County Agriplex is long, and some of the greatest men in the sport have earned prestigious titles in that building.

Weston Rutkowski hopes to add his name to the list when Bullfighters Only conducts a stand-alone bullfight at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 22. Tickets are on sale now at www.bullfightersonly.com.

The Haskell, Texas, man helped set a new standard in 2016, winning the BFO season championship and becoming the first freestyle bullfighting tour world champion in 17 years. After more than 30 events, Rutkowski staked claim to the most prestigious title in the sport since the 2000 season.

“Weston is always a contender, and you know he’s going to show up in good shape with the right mindset to win,” said Dusty Tuckness, a founding member of Bullfighters Only and one of the top freestyle bullfighters in the game. “He’s self-disciplined, which is the biggest thing I like about him.”

That work ethic is one reason why Rutkowski is the reigning BFO champion and will be part of the mix during the competition inside the Agriplex.

“That’s where everybody went to make a name for themselves, like Andy Burelle, Wacey Munsell, Dusty Tuckness, Cody Webster … all those great guys,” Rutkowski said. “I am super excited about going to Ada, because I never got to go there before. When I first cracked out, Ardmore (Okla.) was where you went to measure your talent.

“Before Ardmore was Ada. That was the one prestigious event that everybody went to. With the BFO bringing the bullfights back home to Ada, it’s one I’m glad to cross off my list.”

The event will feature 15 men at the top of the game, consisting of five three-man bouts, with the top scores from each session will advance to the championship round. The Ada champion will be crowned from those five bullfighters.

As history has shown, the Agriplex will be a showcase for freestyle bullfighting’s best: 1999 Wrangler Bullfight Tour world champion Lance Brittan, Toby Inman, Evan Allard, Beau Schueth, Zach Call, Schell Apple and several others will join Rutkowski in the ring.

“I’ve seen a lot of Lance’s videos, and he was one of the key guys that changed freestyle bullfighting back in the day,” Rutkowski said. “The first time I get to meet Lance will be when I go head-to-head with him. There’s not a better way to go against a legend like Lance.”

With 15 of the most athletic bullfighters in the game, the Ada competition should be a perfect fit for fans in southeast Oklahoma.

“What’s great about this is that it’s just freestyle bullfighting,” he said. “It’s a two-hour, action-packed event where you have 15 of the best bullfighters of the world. These televised stand-alone events make bullfighting so much bigger. You can go in there and make good money.”

Rutkowski should know. The 2016 BFO champion won more money than any other bullfighter in the a season ago with $41,325.

Rutkowski would like to repeat, and doing well inside the Pontotoc County Agriplex would go a long way toward that. He also knows it takes a great level of work to perform at the top of his game.

“If you want to stay on top, you have to stay motivated,” he said. “I recently hosted a BFO Development Camp and we had a guy that was 38 years old. A year ago he was over 350 pounds; he watched a BFO event last January, and it changed his life. He was inspired to get in shape to fight bulls again. He lost 110 pounds and got to fight at the D-Camp.

“That is very motivating to me. You never know who’s watching. They see the work you put in beforehand, and then they get to see you go out and compete. Knowing the talent in the young guys that are coming up is part of it, too. I have to keep working harder because of the talent that is underneath me.”

And they’re all pointing to the target on Rutkowski’s back. He’s the king of the mountain, and they want his spot.

“That’s the great thing about the BFO,” he said. “You’re going to go up against the best guys every time.”

Courtesy of twisTEDrodeo.com