RENO, Nev. – A quick, little black bull tried to get the best of Weston Rutkowski, but the Haskell, Texas, bullfighter didn’t let it happen.
In fact, it turned out to be a winning combination for Rutkowski, who scored 88 points to win Wednesday night the Bullfighters Only event that took place in conjunction with the Reno Rodeo.
“I’ve dreamed about coming to these rodeos since I was a kid,” said Rutkowski, 27, of Haskell, Texas. “To come and compete is great, but to come here and win is something that I could only dream about. The fact that the BFO got to come here and be in the Reno Rodeo means a lot to us as bullfighters.”
Rutkowski’s distanced himself from his fellow bullfighters with a strong performance against an equally strong bull. In fact, all three bulls in Wednesday’s championship round were brothers to the great fighting bull Spaniard, which has been recognized as the best in freestyle bullfighting.
“I had a great bull, and that helped a lot,” said Rutkowski, who posted an 85-point score to win Sunday’s first round. “These bulls were all brothers, so they were a lot alike.”
Rutkowski’s bull worked a little better for his style, and the score proved it. Nate Jestes of Douglas, Wyo., who won the second round, finished second with 85 points; Round 3 winner Chuck Swisher of Dover, Okla., was 82 for third.
“The main difference between Nate’s fight and my fight was that his bull didn’t give him a chance to get his distance,” Rutkowski said. “When Nate was throwing his fake, his bull wouldn’t go all the way through. Maybe it was a little bit smarter. It’s hard to get your distance, and it’s hard to do with this bloodline.”
That wasn’t the case with his bull.
“I knew these bulls were going to fight because of their bloodlines, but I wasn’t sure because they had never been out in a freestyle match,” he said. “You can’t play too much into it; you just need to read the animals and make your moves accordingly. That’s what freestyle bullfighting is about.
In all, Rutkowski pocketed more than $3,000 in Reno and moved into the top five of the Bullfighters Only standings. Jestes is still the No. 1 man in the BFO.
“It means everything for us as Bullfighters Only to be part of the Reno Rodeo,” Rutkowski said. “For me to come to this event the first year of a BFO event, then win it, is great. It’s just so exciting, and it’s the first stepping stone.
“In a few days, we’ll all be fighting at our first big-time, stand-alone Bullfighters Only event, the Cavender’s Cup. These are exciting times to be a freestyle bullfighter.”
It’s just beginning.