Despite weighing over 1,800 pounds, Built Ford Tough Series bulls are faster and quicker than you can even imagine.
In a blink of an eye a bull can make a beeline dive at a defenseless rider, milliseconds after a ride is over.
However, riders are never alone in the arena. They have a group of fearless men waiting in the wings who are ready to pounce into immediate danger at the drop of a dime.
These brave men are the Matador Jerky Bullfighters.
Jesse Byrne, Frank Newsom, Shorty Gorham and Cody Webster are some of the toughest and most rugged athletes you will find on the dirt at BFTS events each weekend. Instead of climbing aboard the strongest bulls in the world, these men have no problem throwing their bodies in front of World Champion bulls – all in hopes of protecting the bravest riders the PBR has to offer.
Ryan Dirteater has suffered his fair share of battle scars competing on the BFTS, however, the Hulbert, Okla., native knows things could have been much worse if not for the PBR’s expert bullfighters.
“Bullfighters are cowboy lifesavers,” Dirteater said. “Without them I wouldn’t be riding bulls.”
The bullfighters jump to life immediately when the chutes open. Normally Byrne and Newsom will start against the chutes with Gorham beginning near the wall. The three fighters continuously stay in a triangle formation around the bull during the ride so that they can strike in a seconds notice.
After a rider is bucked off, or successfully conquers a bull, the trio goes to work even further by stepping into the sightlines of a bull. They are able to keep the animal’s attention while a rider safely gets out of harm’s way after hitting the dirt.
However, this is easier said than done. Sometimes this means the bullfighters even have to get in the way of a bull’s dangerous horns or hooves by any means necessary.
“I owe those guys so much,” Dirteater said. “With all of the injuries, you got to get away to take care of yourself. You can’t stay out there and make circles around them. The bullfighters are there to protect you when you hit the ground. I think they should be the ones getting the millions of dollars.”
So have our experienced bullfighters met the brute force of a bull head on? Oh, you bet. Have they suffered countless injuries? Of course.
But are they afraid?