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Bull Fighter’s Job to Protect Bull Riders

Bull fighters and judges pose for the camera during a BBQ at Los Fresnos Rodeo arena. Photo: Tony Vindell/LFN

by Tony Vindell/LFN

The next time rodeo fans attend an event to watch a cowboy riding a bull weighing a 1,000 or more pounds, pay close attention to those folks running toward the animals as the rider is on the ground.

Some of them even tap the bull on the back as the charging animal swings its horns a little too close to call.

These are the bull fighters of rodeo rings who go from one rodeo to another working for a living.

Their jobs are to protect the bull riders and it’s a dangerous way to make a living.

At the recent Los Fresnos Rodeo, two teams of bull fighters could be seen in the arena and, although each team is sponsored by two different beer companies, each of the men on the ground was doing his job as a professional.

A judge said a bull fighter has to move deceptively.

“You have to move out of the (bull’s) way,” Allen Nelson, a former bull fighter who now judges those inside the ring, said. “You have to use the bull’s strength against it to protect the rider.

The Arkansas resident, whose father is from McAllen and his mother from Austin, said about 170 professionals bull fighters are in the country today.

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