What is Freestyle Bullfighting? A Guide To The Extreme Sport

Bullfighting at DOXA

Create a free account to unlock this article!

Get Started

Already a subscriber?  Log In

by Gabriella Jaffee

One man. One bull. One nerve-wracking competition. 

The extreme sport of freestyle bullfighting has made a huge comeback after nearly dying out over the past few years. The creation of the Bullfighters Only (BFO) and later, Shorty Gorham’s American Freestyle Bullfighting (AFB), opened the door for a whole new generation of athletes and contractors to claim this unique spot within the rodeo industry.

Watch the 2019 Mini Bull Riders and American Freestyle Bullfighting, LIVE on FloRodeo, Feb. 8-10. 

So what is freestyle bullfighting? In one word: Badass. 

Combine acrobatics, insane wrecks and a man trying to best a 1,200-plus pound Spanish or Mexican fighting bull that’s out for blood, and you’ve begun to scratch the surface of what is freestyle bullfighting.

Here’s What You Need To Know

Fight Time: Depending on which association you’re fighting in, you’ll have a different amount of minimum time required to fight the bull with additional time to “sell” the performance. You aren’t required to utilize the additional time, but you do need to make the required minimum (which is 40 seconds in the BFO, 30 seconds in the AFB with an additional 20 seconds and 15 seconds to make the sell, respectively), otherwise, you’ll be marked as a no score.

Scoring: Just like in the bull riding, there are 50 possible points to be awarded to the bull and 50 possible points awarded to the bullfighter for a total score of 100 points. A great fight is 88 to 90 points.

Bull Points

Points for the bulls are awarded according to the following factors:

  • Aggression
  • Speed/agility
  • Willingness to stay engaged (hooked up)
  • Difficulty of being fought

Points for the bulls are subtracted if:

  • The bull runs around the arena for more time than he is engaged with the bullfighter.
  • The bull refuses to engage with the bullfighter.
  • The bull is slow.

Bullfighter Points

Bullfighters are awarded points when:

  • They exhibit control over the direction of the bull with fakes, by making rounds and displaying other aggressive maneuvers.
  • They perform creative tricks ranging from jumping to flips.

Bullfighters get points subtracted when:

  • They are hooked (points are deducted for every subsequent hooking).
  • They jump up on the fence.
  • They run from the bull instead of controlling his movement.

So now that you know the basics, let’s get in-depth and talk about the finer details of each bullfight so you can be an expert fan this weekend.

Bullfighting Terms 101

Fake: A maneuver that tricks a bull into thinking the fighter is going one way when he really isn’t.

Knee Fake: A fake done on your knees by slapping the dirt to the right or left of you and hoping the bull takes the fake.

Back Fake: A fake performed with your back to the bull.

Back Reverse Fake: A fake done where you spin and go the other direction from where you had the bull going initially.

Reverse Knee Fake: Performing a knee fake with your back to the bull.

Selfie Fake: Perfected by Ross Hill, the selfie fake utilizes a phone to watch where the bull is coming out and then faking him out.

Hot: A bull that’s extra mean, extra hooky and will earn extra points if you can make rounds with him. Exhibit A: Pablo Escobar

Hooking: When a bull gets a fighter down to the dirt and proceeds to stomp on, trample and hook him.

Cape: A move where a fake is thrown and as the bull runs past, the bullfighter will throw out his arm as an homage to the bullfighters of Spain and Portugal. Extra points if you run your hand down the bull’s back. Fun Fact: Cody Webster is the undisputed King of Caping.

Flips: Front flips and backflips get big points.

Flat Foot Jump: When a bullfighter jumps over a bull from a dead stop. A variation of this would be the Tomahawk Flat Foot Jump, a move Canadian Kristopher Buffalo is well known for.

Sign up to watch the 2019 Mini Bull Riders and American Freestyle Bullfighting, LIVE on FloRodeo Feb. 8-10 by clicking HERE.

2020 Pikes Peak Of Bust Rodeo Canceled

Bareback Rider at 2019 Pikes Peak Or Bust

In a tweet by the PPOBR account, the 2020 Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo event has been canceled.

Create a free account to unlock this article!

Get Started

Already a subscriber?  Log In

National Little Britches Draws Explained

National Little Britches Finals

The National Little Britches Association breaks down how the 2020 draws will work for this year's finals.

Create a free account to unlock this article!

Get Started

Already a subscriber?  Log In

2020 National Little Britches Finals Schedule

Little Britches

Check out the full schedule for the 2020 National Little Britches Finals.

Create a free account to unlock this article!

Get Started

Already a subscriber?  Log In

BREAKING: CFR 47 Postponed

Screen Shot 2020-06-24 at 3.35.53 PM.png

The Canadian Professional Rodeo Association (CPRA), Westerner Park and the Red Deer & District Chamber of Commerce made the difficult yet important decision to postpone this year’s Canadian Finals Rodeo (CFR47) until 2021. 

We Stand With You

Flo-Blackout-1920x1080.jpg

The events of the last week have been tremendously painful to us all.

Create a free account to unlock this article!

Get Started

Already a subscriber?  Log In

BREAKING: PBR Set To Return To TV

pbr pr.jpg

PUEBLO, Colo. - PBR events will resume for television on April 25-26 from the Lazy E Arena in Guthrie, Oklahoma.

Create a free account to unlock this article!

Get Started

Already a subscriber?  Log In

Who Will Leave Round One Of the 2019 NFR As The World Standings Leader?

Hailey Kinsel - 2018 NFR

There's a long 10 days ahead in Vegas, and the race for No. 1 could change in an instant, but we wanted to figure out just how instantly the lead could change in each of the world title races before round one kicks off tonight.

Create a free account to unlock this article!

Get Started

Already a subscriber?  Log In

BREAKING: PRCA Announces Creation Of Jr. Rodeo Association & New Jr. NFR

IFYR BREAKAWAY ROPER

The PRCA announced the creation of their Jr. Rodeo Association in a prorodeo.com press release today that will see the next generation of world champions spotlighted at their own Jr. NFR. Young rodeo athletes aged 8-19 are being offered the chance to compete at Jr. Rodeo Association events, learn from the pro’s at clinics, receive accident insurance, and more under the PRCA’s new youth initiative.

Create a free account to unlock this article!

Get Started

Already a subscriber?  Log In

NEW EVENTS ADDED: All In Barrels & Breakaway, World Series, LIVE With Lucia

2019 World Series No. 8 Champion - Lenox Bryon

Las Vegas, Nevada is taken over every December with cowboy hats, boots, and gold buckles. With many events going on around the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, we’re giving you a chance to get your fill of the team roping, barrel racing, breakaway roping and talk show action going on in Vegas this year!

How Jeremy Buhler Went From World Series Winner To World Champion

Jeremy Buhler - 2016 National Finals Rodeo

In 2009 a pair of fairly-unknown brothers from Canada traveled to the World Series of Team Roping in Las Vegas, Nevada and proceeded to turn the heads of everyone in the team roping world by dominating what was, at the time, the largest-paying No. 13 roping in history. 

Create a free account to unlock this article!

Get Started

Already a subscriber?  Log In