Rodeo fans in southwest Iowa got a taste of freestyle bullfighting a year ago and they’re about to get even more.

Bullfighters Only, an elite team of bullfighters, will showcase nine members during a five-night battle in Sidney, at Iowa’s Championship Rodeo, Tuesday, August 2 through Saturday, August 6.

“The committee told me last year that it was the greatest thing they had there,” in years, said Evan Allard, Vinita, OK. Allard will be one of the combatants, and will serve as one of the protection bullfighters during the rodeo. “They were definitely glad to have it back.”

Sidney marks the 19th stop on the Bullfighters Only inaugural tour. Bullfighters utilize their tremendous athleticism to try to outwit and outmaneuver equally athletic bulls, which are bred specifically for this type of fight.

“I think it’s a good thing we’ve all done to bring the bullfights back to where they belong,” Allard said. “It’s taken off because bullfighting is the greatest extreme sport in the world, and we have the best freestyle bullfighters alive all doing it right now.”

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 an animal. A bull can earn up to 50 points based on its quickness, aggression and willingness to stay with the bullfighter.

“It’s crazy to think this is our actual first year and that we have so many events at these historic rodeos,” said Chuck Swisher, Dover, OK. “For my first year to walk into an arena with such prestigious awards, it’s a true honor for me to fight bulls there.”

Iowa’s Championship Rodeo has a storied history. Dating back more than 90 years, Sidney’s rodeo has been a staple for many of the greatest cowboys and cowgirls in the sport. The event was inducted into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame last August.

“It’ll be cool stepping out in front of those people that have made Sidney such a great event,” Swisher said. “It’s a true blessing.”

“The bulls drive me,” said Allard, who has been fighting bulls for 11 years. “Just knowing that you’re able to go head to head with one of the fiercest creatures alive and know that if everything goes right, you’re able to control him.”

It’s a display of man vs beast, and Bullfighters Only has created a public demand for the sport.

“To me, Bullfighters Only is more like a group of brothers,” Swisher said of the top 15 bullfighters in the game who make up the BFO. “We all went in and are part of this team that helps in bringing the freestyle bullfights back in front of the fans. It’s something we’ve always wanted for so long.

“Even before there was even a thought of the BFO, we always stuck together and stuck our necks out for each other. We push each other to get better, and now we put a name on it.”

That name is well recognized in rodeo, and it’s why Bullfighters Only is part of the most prestigious events in the sport. Sidney fans can look forward to watching the best in the business for five exciting nights.Sidney

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